April 15, 2024

Today’s puzzles are all written by Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and appear in a delightful variety of his non-Alice doodles, Lewis Carroll’s Guide for Insomniacs, compiled by LC superfan Gyles Brandreth. They may be old people, but they are good!

1. The Chelsea Pensioners

If 70 percent lost an eye, 75 percent an ear, 80 percent an arm, 85 percent a leg: what percentage, at leastshould have lost all four.

2. Apples appear

Dream of apples on a wall,
And dream often, dear,
I dreamed it, if I counted everything
– How many will appear?

3. Russian boys

A Russian had three sons. The first was named Rab and became a lawyer. The second was named Ymra and became a soldier. The third son became a sailor. What was his name?

4. Word manners

a) Find a bird with the latter ‘gp’ as its nucleus.

b) Find a fruit with the letters ’emo’ as its core.

5. Doubles

Also known as a “word ladder”, the doublet is a now famous puzzle invented by Carroll. You are given two words, and you have to get from one to the other in a sequence of words that only differ in one letter. So to get from HEAD to TAIL you can proceed HEAD, HEAL, TEAL, TELL, TALL, TAIL

a) Prove RAVEN as MISER (3 links)

b) Change OAT to RYE (3)

c) Develop MAN from APE (5)

d) Place BEANS on RACK (7)

I’ll be back with the solutions at 5pm UK.

PLEASE NO SPOILERS. Instead, indulge us with your favorite characters, riddles and lines from the Carrollian oeuvre.

Lewis Carroll – the pen name of Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – was a famous insomniac and once wrote a book, Pillow problemsconsisting of puzzles he liked to think about while trying to sleep.

In 1979, Gyles Brandreth collected some of Carroll’s puzzles, rhymes and musings into the book, Lewis Caroll’s Guide for Insomniacs, which has just been reissued by boutique publisher Notting Hill Editions, with a new introduction. It’s a beautifully packaged potpourri, and I recommend it!

You can buy the book at the Guardian bookshopor at other online sellers.

I’ve been doing a puzzle here on alternate Mondays since 2015. I’m always on the lookout for great puzzles. If you want to suggest one, email me.

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