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