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Oxford U Press continues to produce entries in their "Recreations in

Mathematics" series. I got #s 1 & 2 last year I just got vol 4. I've

never seen vol 3.

To review, #1 was "Mathematical byways ..." by Hugh ApSimon. I thought

it was BORING, but it did discuss one thing I've never seen: *how* you

set up a problem so it is both interesting and solvable. He runs

through starting with some idea for a puzzle (something like the

"you put an X foot ladder up against a wall and it just touches a

box that is Y feet on a side, what's inside the box?") and gives the

"composer's problem" related to that topic: how to get the problem set

up. Interesting, sort of, but overall pretty boring stuff (especially

since they are for the most part old, stuffy, dull problems).

#2: Ins and Outs of Peg Solitaire. Really quite definitive reference

to the jump-the-pegs-and-leave-one-in-the-middle puzzle. I can't remember

where, but I've actually seen most of that material before. Maybe

Mathematics magazine, or JRM. But in any event, this is a great book

if you're at all interested in this kind of problem.

#3: Rubik's Cubic Compendium, by Rubik, et al. I've *never* seen this

anywhere. I'd love to get/have/see a copy. If any of you have a lead

to this guy, please let me know.

#4 Sliding Piece Puzzles (Hordern). I just picked this up at the

Harvard Coop today. Not much theory on either the design or solution

of this kind of puzzle. Just page after page of example puzzles. This

is more of a catalog than a math book. One cute touch: there is a pocket

inside the back cover with push-out paper "shapes" I guess that there

are enough miscellaneous shapes on the card (about 2"x4") so that you

can piece together a large number of the puzzles described in the

book. My first impressions are that this book will be a definite

"Ho Hum".

/Bernie\