Problematics | Birthday celebrations with kings and queens - Hindustan Times

Problematics | Birthday celebrations with kings and queens

Aug 28, 2023 12:15 PM IST

Which Kings and Queens face left, which face right? Which Jacks are seen in profile? One year since Problematics began, puzzles on the court cards and Wordle

There are 52 weeks to a year, plus one extra day (or two, if it’s a leap year). That makes it easy to work out what day of the week today’s date or tomorrow’s date fell on last year. For example, since August 29 is a Tuesday this year, it must have been a Monday last year, because there was no February 29 in between. Indeed, August 29, 2022, was the Monday when Problematics was launched.

Welcome to Problematics!(Shutterstock) PREMIUM
Welcome to Problematics!(Shutterstock)

The anniversary calls for a puzzle that celebrates the past 52 consecutive weeks of puzzling. What else is 52 apart from being the number of weeks in a year? It’s also the number of cards in a standard deck, of course. So, here’s a card puzzle for Week 53, somewhat easy perhaps, but fun nevertheless.

#Puzzle 53.1

First, a word about the 12 court cards (K, Q and J of each suit). Have you noticed that each King, Queen and Jack faces a particular direction? Eight of them face left and four face right. Here, left or right means as seen from the point of view of the person looking at the card. Additionally, one King and two Jacks are seen in profile while the other nine faces are relatively front-on.

#Puzzle 53.1
#Puzzle 53.1

Four cards are laid face down in a row. You are told they are A, K, Q and J. As you know, A-K-Q-J is in descending order of rank, but that’s not how they are actually placed on the table. In fact:

* No two cards of consecutive rank are placed side by side.

* No two cards belong to the same suit.

* The blacks and the reds alternate.

* Among the three court cards, only one depicts a face seen in profile.

* The King and the Queen face the same direction.

* The Heart is not to the right of the Spade.

* The Club isn’t next to the Diamond.

What are the four cards?

#Puzzle 53.2

#Puzzle 53.2
#Puzzle 53.2

As every Wordle player knows, a yellow cell means that the entered letter also appears in the hidden word, but in a different position. Grey means the letter is not in the hidden word at all. Green means the right letter in the right place, but there’s no green in the above example.

What can the hidden word be? The solution is not unique.

Mailbox: Last week’s solvers

#Puzzle 52.1

Hi Kabir,

The stars/director, their fans, and the movies they watched are as follows:

#Puzzle 52.1
#Puzzle 52.1

(Indeed, as noted by Prof Anshul Kumar and some other readers, Curium could have watched either of those two movies. Any solution that assigns Curium to either Barbie or Oppenheimer, therefore, counts as correct, provided the solver does not make a mistake elsewhere.)

#Puzzle 52.2

The largest multiple of 11 that consists of 9 different digits is 987652413.

— Shishir Gupta, Indore

Solved both puzzles: Prof Anshul Kumar (Delhi), Shishir Gupta (Indore), Harshit Arora (IIT Delhi), Md Aqueel Iqbal (Hansraj College, Delhi), Dr Nakul Makkar (Noida), Dhruv Singla (Hodal), Charvi Brajpuriya (Faridabad), Sunita & Naresh Dhillon (Gurgaon), Akshay Bakhai (Mumbai), Ajay Ashok (Mumbai), SR Aggarwal (Delhi), Sumit Malhotra (Delhi)

Solved #Puzzle 52.1: Group Captain RK Shrivastava (retd; Delhi), Ananya Arvind (DPS Vasant Kunj, Delhi), Madhuri Patwardhan (Thane), Raunaq Nayar (Delhi), Chinmay Garg (Delhi), Geetansha Gera (Faridabad), Nikki Yadav, Dhruv Kundrai, Akshaya Paul, Shriya Seshia, Suksha Anchan

Solved #Puzzle 52.2: Anil Khanna (Ghaziabad), Soumil Mukhopadhyay (Mumbai), Sankaran KB (Chennai), Amardeep Singh (Meerut), Jawahar Lal Aggarwal (Vasundhara, Ghaziabad), Amar Lal Miglani (Mohali), YK Munjal (Delhi), Suryansh Jain (Delhi), Sajjan Singh (Govindpuri, Delhi), Sandeep Bhateja (Hoshiarpur), Vinod Mahajan (Delhi), Joshan, Sunil Gupta

Problematics will be back next week. Please send in your replies by Friday noon to

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