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We have Martin Gardner to thank for his efforts in explaining about the author everyone knows as the author of what they think is a Children's book.Known as Lewis Carroll,the author's real name was Charles Lutwidge Dobson was a competent mathematician and taught mathematics at Christ Church,Oxford.
He had a strong sense of mathematical beauty and entertained many in expressing this fondness in mathematical games,puzzles,logic, paradoxes,magic tricks,riddles,and every variety of word play,especially word games puns,anagrams,anagrams,and acrostic verse;all published under the name of Lewis Carroll.Two of his best known books,"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" are filled ,though somewhat hidden,with puzzles,paradoxes,word play,etc.Words,numbers,games entertained Carroll and those around him throughout his life.
Gardner's book brings all this out to us and shows why he was such an important figure in the world of Mathematical Recreations and as well as other forms of entertainment and games.
One of Carroll's favorite pursuits was what is called Doublets.Most people who like word games of various types will be familiar with these.The object is to take a word such as COLD and by changing one letter at a time,making different words ,ending up with the word WARM.The real challenge is to do this in the least number of steps.Thus we have COLD,CORD,CARD,WARM.--4 steps.This can lead to all kinds of interesting posers.Carroll,actually a skeptic of Darwin's theory,"evolved" MAN from APE in six steps:
Another interesting poser is to change IRON into LEAD:
Another of Carroll's interest was Mazes and we are given a very interesting Maze Carroll created in his early twenties.Another of his puzzles ,called river-crossing puzzles is given.This type of puzzle has been presented by many other puzzlers over the years.
Even if you've never been interested in numbers as such you will be fascinated with ;
A Magic Number
85714 twice that number,
428571 trice that number
571428 four times that number,
714285 five times that number,
857142 six times that number
Begin at the "1" in each line and it will be the same order of figures as the magic number up to six times that number,while seven times the magic number results in a row of 9's.
If you have any interest or fascination with numbers,words games of various types;you'll be amazed at what interesting things came from the man who wrote a book generally assumed to be a Children's book.