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The Logic Problems Page

William T. Pelletier


Hot on the Trail of ... Logic Problems!


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What are Logic Problems?
  3. Examples of Logic Problems
  4. How to Solve or Construct Logic Problems
  5. Where can I find Logic Problems?
  6. Which LP Magazine Should I Buy?
  7. Logic Problems for Children


1. Introduction

Welcome to the LOGIC PROBLEMS PAGE. If you are a Logic Problem (LP) enthusiast as I am, then you know that LPs are one of the most educational, enjoyable, and inexpensive entertainments available. If you are new to this kind of puzzle, then I hope that this page will make you an addict.

My grandmother first introduced me to Logic Problems when I was in junior high by letting me do the ones which appeared occasionally in her crossword puzzle magazines. Responsibilities of school, work, and family subsequently diverted my interests, and I forgot how much fun they were. A visit with a sister, who had scads of logic problem magazines lying around, re-ignited my interest after a lapse of some 30+ years. I have become so keen on doing LPs that my stacks of religious, political, scientific, and computer magazines are backing up more than usual, as I work logic puzzles for relaxation and before going to sleep instead of reading as I have done for years.

I hope to use this page to introduce others to some of the enjoyment logic problems can provide. LPs are very cheap entertainment when viewed at an hourly rate; logic problem magazines average about 50 LPs for about $3, and this probably provides the average solver with at least 30 hours of ecstasy. A dime an hour for such exquisite pleasure is one of the few real bargains left. Moreover, if you have the blessing of living in Michigan, then you do not even have to pay tax on your purchase of LP magazines.


2. What are Logic Problems?

These are problems with clues like
"Mr. Green lives between the model train enthusiast and the grocer, 2 doors from the blue house."
From an assortment of such clues one must deduce such things as the color and order of the houses on the street, the owners' names, their occupations, and their hobbies. The solver ordinarily uses charts to record and organize deductions as he proceeds to isolate the solution by logical elimination of possiblilties. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, that great champion of deductive analysis,
  "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever
remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
-- Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four
   

The difficulty level of the puzzles can vary greatly. Some are many layers deep and require extensive analysis and careful thinking to unravel; others can be relatively easy to solve. Anyone from a child to a mathematician can find a logic problem which will challenge and delight him. It is excellent training and practice in careful, precise thinking.


3. Examples of Logic Problems

Here are some examples of LPs which I have prepared for your enjoyment. I hope they serve as good examples to introduce you to the pleasures of LPs and to entice you to pursue solving LPs on a regular basis. I have more puzzles in preparation, and I plan to post a new Logic Problem of the Month regularly as time allows.

I have used a rating system of from 1 to 5 stars to indicate difficulty level, with 1 star being the easiest. Links to the answers are contained on all the puzzle pages; some puzzles also have links to complete detailed solutions.

Logic Problem of the Month
Date Title Rating Contributor
Jan 1997 Bachelor Binge * William Pelletier
Feb 1997 Notable Neighbors *** William Pelletier
Mar 1997 Exam Logjam **** William Pelletier
Apr 1997 Opening Day ** L. Puzzle
May 1997 Chess Tournament ***** William Pelletier
Sep 1997 Back-to-School ** L. Puzzle
Oct 1997 Football Fans ** William Pelletier
Nov 1997 Wonder Wings *** William Pelletier
Dec 1997 Christmas Challenge *** William Pelletier
Apr 1998 Murder, He Wrote Teri Nutton


If you would like to construct and contribute a logic problem to the Logic Problems Page for consideration as a Logic Problem of the Month, then e-mail your problem to me. Whether your submission qualifies as a Logic Problem of the Month is a completely subjective decision which depends upon how interesting, unusual, and intriguing I think your puzzle is. It does not depend upon its difficulty level, because I want to provide LPs at a variety of star-levels. Since it is easier for me to make up hard puzzles than easy ones, a 2* or 3* submission may be posted here sooner than a 4* puzzle. The month your submission is posted depends on my backlog and whether your puzzle is especially appropriate for a particular time of year.

Note: These logic problems are "senior-friendly" in that those who are "visually-challenged" may increase the font size of their browser in order to enlarge, not only the problem text, but also the charts for easier solving. Anyone who likes big charts for solving can change the browser font size before printing.
(Exception: Apr 1998 LP for which I prepared a *.gif file for the chart for a change.)


4. How to Solve or Construct Logic Problems

  I have prepared 2 different detailed solutions to Bachelor Binge, the Jan 1997 Logic Problem of the Month listed above. These solution examples explain the fundamental ideas involved in solving LPs, and prepare you for solving them on your own. See
Bachelor Binge Solutions
for 2 step-by-step illustrated solutions.

After mastering the solution concepts illustrated by the Bachelor Binge Solutions, both new and experienced solvers may also find that my

Tips for Solving Logic Problems
provides useful ideas to incorporate into one's own solving process.

Constructing good logic problems is much more difficult than solving them, and correspondingly even more fun and rewarding. Experience solving LPs is the best preparation for learning how to construct them. Both new and experienced logic puzzle constructors may find my

How to Construct Logic Problems
to be helpful. If you try your hand at constructing LPs, send me your best ones to share with others on this page.


5. Where can I find Logic Problems?

Logic problems can be found in monthly puzzle magazines, puzzle books, and on the Internet.

Variety puzzle magazines and some crossword puzzle magazines contain LPs. However, LPs have become so popular in recent years that there are now multiple magazines devoted to publishing logic problems, and this is the best and least expensive source for serious solvers. If you are interested in LPs, look for Logic Puzzle magazines at newsstands, drug stores, and grocery stores, or wherever puzzle magazines are sold. The table below lists the 8 existing magazines which specialize in LPs, along with publication and subscription information.

Word Fill-in, Variety Puzzle, and Crossword Puzzle mags and their variations are readily available, but LP mags are not. This scarcity seems to be due to the high demand for LPs, and magazine buyers for stores have not yet caught up with the demand. LP mags generally appear the first week of the 2nd month prior to the issue date. So for example, an April issue will appear the first week of February. The exceptions are World Class LPs which appears the 2nd week of the 2nd month prior and Dell LPs which appears the 15th of the 2nd month prior. LP magazines sell out quickly, so interested solvers need to buy quickly or have their own subscription.

Two of the LP magazine publishers, Dell and Penny Press, also publish books of LPs. Dell Book of Logic Problems #N where N = 1, 2, ..., 6 are volumes of 75 puzzles for $10.99. These are new unpublished puzzles grouped into 4 categories: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Challenger. Penny Press also publishes a growing series of volumes (20 so far) titled Puzzler's Choice Logic Problems which are drawn from those previously published in their puzzle magazines. Each volume contains over 100 puzzles for $6.95.


Logic Problem Magazines
Magazine Publisher Began Frequency Price Sub Price
Dell Logic Puzzles
(DLP)
Dell Magazines Early 80's Bimonthly:
Feb, ..., Dec
$2.99 $17.94
Best of Logic Puzzles
(BLP)
Dell Magazines 1988 Biannually:
Sum, Win
$3.25 NA
Original Logic Problems
(OrgLP)
Penny Press 1987 Bimon + 3
Feb, ..., Dec
$2.50
3.95
$31.97
Math Puzzles & Logic Problems
(MPLP)
Dell Magazines 1988 Feb, May, Jun,
Aug, Nov
$3.50 $18.95
England's Finest Logic Problems
(EFLP)
Penny Press 1991 Bimonthly:
Jan, ..., Nov
$2.50 $11.47
World Class Logic Problems
(WCLP)
Penny Press 1994 Quarterly:
Win, ..., Fall
$1.99 $9.77
Official's Logic Problems
(OffLP)
Official Publications 1995Bimonthly:
Feb, ..., Dec
$2.50 $12.60
NY Herald Tribune Logic Problems
(HTLP)
NY Herald Tribune 1996Quarterly:
Win, ..., Fall
$4.95 $17.50
Dell Favorite Logic Problems
(FLP)
Dell Magazines 1997Biannually:
Win, Sum
$4.50 NA

Subscription Address Information
Dell Logic Puzzles
P.O. Box 5165
Harlan, IA 51593-0665
1-800-925-1701
Penny Marketing
6 Prowitt St
Norwalk, CT 06855-9987
Official's Logic Problems
P.O. Box 937
Fort Washington, PA 19034
New York Herald Tribune Logic Problems
P.O. Box 940
Fort Washington, PA 19034


Logic Problem Site Links

There are not many web sites that I know of that deal with logic puzzles of the type discussed here. The following are the few of which I am aware. E-mail me the addresses of other good LP sites and I will add links to them below.
  1. Aussie Meyer's What HO! Another Logic Challenge! page contains a monthly LP based on British humorist P. G. Wodehouse's characters, of whom the most well-known is probably Jeeves, the quintessential gentleman's personal gentleman (valet). Both LP fans and Wodehouse fans will enjoy these clever puzzles, most of which are about 3-star level. Each month a gag prize related to the current month's puzzle is awarded to a name drawn at random from those submitting a correct solution. Puzzles and answers from previous months are available at What HO! A Logic Challenge Archive!
  2. Jill Clifford's Logic Puzzle Page posts a monthly LP of varying degrees of difficulty from easy to medium. Puzzles from previous months are accessible, starting with Dec '95.
  3. Humorous Implications is part of the web site of the Association of Logic Programming. This page has links to LPs which have appeared in the ALP journal.
  4. BDD: Daily Puzzle is the Bantam Doubleday Dell Daily Puzzle page. This page promises a daily crossword, anagram, or logic puzzle. Crossword puzzles , however, are heavily dominant on this page. Logic puzzle fans should e-mail webmaster@bdd.com and request logic puzzles to be posted.
  5. Puzzlemakers Limited is a British team which compiles for the British logic puzzle magazine Logical Challenge. Sample problems, magazine subscriptions, and logic puzzle sets for sale are available at this site.
  6. Sherlock is a logic puzzle game for the computer developed by Everett Kaser (Dos and Windows versions). The objective is to determine the correct locations of 36 different images in a 6 x 6 array using computer-generated graphical clues which describe adjacency relationships of different images. Those who enjoy logic puzzles will most likely also enjoy this computerized version. The puzzles are all of the same type, but thousands of different ones are available, so one can play for years without repeating a puzzle. A related new (Oct 97) Kaser Windows game is Dinner with Moriarity in which one must deduce information about people seated around a table from similar adjacency clues. Go to the Everett Kaser Software site to download shareware versions of Sherlock or Dinner with Moriarity. I highly recommend these games.
  7. X-Sums 98 is an arithmetical logic game for the computer developed by Thomas Westbom. X-Sums 98 is an excellent Windows implementation of the popular Cross Sums puzzles which appear in many puzzle magazines.
    See my detailed Review of X-Sums 98 for more information, including my unreserved recommendation.
    Go to X-Sums 98 to download a demo version of this program or to order the full program.
    Go to Sample Puzzle to see a sample Cross Sums puzzle generated by X-Sums 98.


6. Which LP magazine should I buy?

The answer to this question depends upon the complexity degree of the LPs which one wants to solve and upon individual taste concerning a number of factors which differ among the magazines. The most rewarding logic puzzle to solve is one which is quite challenging to the solver and yet still doable by the solver. LPs which are too easy or too hard are no fun. An interesting and challenging puzzle for one person may be straightforward and boring for another. Thus LPs at many different levels are needed to satisfy the hunger of all LP afficionados. The table below is an attempt to objectively rate and compare significant features of all the LP mags. These features include:
  1. Number of puzzles per issue.
  2. Hard-to-solve puzzles.
  3. Solve charts and/or diagrams accompanying each puzzle.
  4. Detailed solutions for all the puzzles at the end of each mag.
  5. Table of Contents.
  6. Letters to the Editor page.
  7. Introductory "How to Solve LPs" section.
  8. Puzzles rated by difficulty.
  9. Puzzle authors -- named vs unnamed.
  10. Type of binding, glue or staple, used for the magazine.
Following the table I have commented on the significance of the various features. Following these comments are detailed reviews of the LP mags currently on the market.

Comparison of Logic Problem Magazine Features
Magazine #Pzls Hard
Puzls
Solve
Chart
Sol'ns Table of
Contents
Letters
Page
How To
Intro
Puzls
Rated
Author
Named
Binding
DLP 53 x x x+   x x+ x x Glue
BLP 53 x x x+       x   Glue
OrgLP 45/84 x+ x_ x x   x     Stapl/Glu
MPLP 15 x x x+ x_       x Glue
EFLP 49   x+ x+ x   x     Staple
WCLP 48 x x_ x x   x     Staple
OffLP 56 x+ x_ x+ x x x+ x   Glue
HTLP 75 x x x x_     x   Glue
FLP 80 x x_ x+     x++ x x Glue

Key to Features Table:
x=> Magazine has this feature.
x+=> Magazine does an especially good job with this feature.
x_=> Magazine could significantly improve this feature.

Comments on Features

All the magazines include solve charts and/or other diagrams with most puzzles for the solver to use to record and organize deductions. There are two common types of solve charts, "criss-cross grids" and "fill-in tables." Examples of both types of solve charts appear with the Bachelor Binge Jan 97 LP of the Month given above. The other LPs of the Month also contain one or more solve charts. For some puzzles, magazine editors include both types of solve charts, for others only one. Editors select the type they think most useful for a particular puzzle, but sometimes one also has to construct one's own additional grid, table, or diagram. Occasionally with the more difficult LPs, one may have to construct multiple auxiliary grids and tables in order to solve the problem. A supply of graph paper is helpful for quickly constructing auxiliary charts.

Ideally, both types of solve charts, crisscross grids and fill-in tables, should be provided for most puzzles. And the cells of the chart should be big enough to be conveniently usable. EFLP satisfies all these criteria; large and roomy charts of both types are provided. Dell, except for FLP, also usually provides both types of charts of sufficient size. However, the solve charts for OrgLP and WCLP, particularly the fill-in tables, are too small and cramped when they provide both types. Those for OffLP are large and roomy, but only one type is provided for each puzzle. HTLP charts are of adequate size, but usually only one type is given.

All the magazines include complete, detailed solutions to all of an issue's puzzles at the end of each mag. This includes the answer to the puzzle as well as how to derive the answer from the given clues. Most of the magazines also include a "How to Solve LPs" section, as indicated in the above table, for people who are new to this type of puzzle.

Some of the magazines, as indicated in the above table, include a Table of Contents. This is useful for recording one's progress unless one happens to be a solver that works straight through a magazine. I personally jump around according to my taste and available time at the moment.

DLP and OffLP include a Letters to the Editor page. This gives solvers an opportunity to respond and to point out an occasional error. This page is usually interesting and sometimes even helpful.

Generally puzzles in LP mags appear in increasing order of difficulty, from easiest to hardest. Such puzzle rating judgements are very subjective, and solvers will find that they frequently disagree with puzzle mag editors concerning difficulty levels. DLP, BLP, FLP, and OffLP provide additional helpful information by rating their puzzles from 1 to 5 in increasing difficulty level; HTLP rates its puzzles from 1 to 4 in increasing difficulty level. This is a help if one is looking for a particular level of puzzle to do at a certain time. With the other mags, the only hints concerning difficulty level are where in the mag the puzzle appears and the length of the solution relative to the other puzzle solutions; these hints are sometimes misleading.

DLP, FLP, and MPLP identify the authors of individual puzzles. Just as one has favorite book authors, so one may have favorite puzzle constructors. It is good to give credit to the constructor, and it helps solvers who look for puzzles by their favorite authors.

LP mags are published with two types of bindings, staple and glue. Staple bound mags are easier to work with than glue bound ones. Stapled mags open flatter for easier work near the middle, and they fold back flat more easily for work on a single page. Staple bindings are also easier to repair, and they seem to last longer under heavy use.


Reviews of Logic Problem Magazines

The following reviews are intended to objectively identify both the strengths and weaknesses of a magazine for the benefit of both the consumer and the publisher. My hope is that the reviews will help the consumer choose the magazine that is best suited to him and that the publishers/editors will work to correct the identified weaknesses or deficiencies.

Reviews of Logic Problem Magazines
Magazine Review
Dell Logic Puzzles
(DLP)

Best of Logic Puzzles
(BLP)

DLP problems range from very easy to hard, with their difficulty level identified with from 1 to 5 stars. There are usually about 6, 8, 19, 16, & 4 LPs at the successive 1* to 5* difficulty levels for a total of 53 LPs per issue. The 5-star problems are not as hard as the very hardest of those in OrgLP or OffLP. The 1-star and 2-star problems are good for children. The problems are traditional LPs except for one domino layout problem and one alphabet block letter arrangement problem in each issue.

Both kinds of solve charts are usually provided with sufficient room; they are larger than OrgLP's and WCLP's charts but smaller than EFLP. Dell solutions are well-written and easy to follow. DLP identifies the problem constructors and has a good Letters page. It lacks a Table of Contents. DLP is a good general-purpose LP mag.

Recommendations:
Add a Table of Contents and a few "challenger" (harder than 5-star) puzzles to each issue. Change to a staple binding.

Dell Champion The Best of Logic Puzzles (BLP), formerly known as Dell Champion Logic Yearbook, is published twice a year (dated Winter and Summer) as special issues of Dell Variety Puzzle Spectacular, which is itself published six times per year. BLP is very similar to DLP with its puzzles drawn from the Dell LP archives. BLP republishes the best 15% of the logic puzzles that have appeared previously in Dell magazines.

Math Puzzles & Logic Problems (MPLP) Each MPLP generally contains 15 traditional LPs plus a large number and variety of numerical puzzles. These latter are of course in a sense logic puzzles, but they are not of the type usually meant by that term. The numerical puzzles are however a lot of fun; I particularly recommend "Cross Sums." The LPs are not rated, except for a few in each issue which are identified as "challenger" puzzles. If one does not like arithmetic puzzles, or if one primarily wants only traditional LPs, then this is not the mag to get. Otherwise, it is a good mag with the same strengths as listed for the other Dell mags reviewed immediately above.
Original
Logic Problems

(OrgLP)













EDITOR'S
CHOICE
for 1996





The Logic Cup
The OrgLP subscription used to be 6 yearly issues for $18.47; three regular issues of 45 puzzles (Feb, Jun, Oct) alternated with 3 double issues of 84 puzzles (Apr, Aug, Dec). In the summer of 1997 this changed; a subscription is now $31.97 for 9 issues. It now consists of the 3 single and 3 double issues as previously plus 2 collector's issues plus 1 yearbook of previously published puzzles. The double issues use a glue binding due to their size, but the regular issues use the more convenient staple binding.

This editor believes it is a big mistake to add 3 extra issues to the subscription and to increase the subscription price by almost 75%! It would be much preferable for a subscription to continue to be 6 issues at a much more reasonable price of $18.47 and to sell the collector's issues and yearbooks separately to those who want them. This kind of marketing decision will hurt OrgLP subscription orders, and will certainly make the mag less attractive to solvers. This kind of decision makes it unlikely that OrgLP will be able to retain the Logic Cup in Jan 1998.

OrgLP contains some interesting special feature puzzles. One is a 5-puzzle "Whodunit" in which a mystery is solved as a result of solving the 5 puzzles. The solution of each of the first 4 is required to solve the succeeding puzzles. The "Duet" puzzle consists of 2 LPs which are inter-connected; they have to be solved together simultaneously (not successively), because clues from each refer to the other. This puzzle is usually one of the first I turn to in OrgLP mags.

OrgLP contains a few pzls in each issue which are real brain-busters. They are significantly harder than the hardest of those in the Dell mags, WCLP, & EFLP. The double issues contain extra-hard LPs to challenge even the most expert of solvers. These are usually 5 LPs "From the Professor's Files" which require determination, persistence, and concentrated thinking to solve. These usually require many hours and multiple sessions to successfully unravel.

OrgLP solutions are very condensed and not as easy to read as those of Dell & Official.

Note:
The Apr 97 issue (on sale Feb 4) is probably one which all LP aficionados will want to procure. It is the 10th Anniversary Issue of Original Logic Problems with a special section showcasing the best puzzles from the past 10 years. One puzzle is selected from each year (1987-1996), except for 1991's selection which is a 5-part "Whodunit", for a total of 14 "best of decade" favorite logic problems. There are also 4 more "Tough puzzles from the Professor."

Recommendations:
Add a Letters to the Editor page. Make the cells of the solve charts, especially the fill-in tables, larger. Add a "1 to 5" rating system for the problems. List each puzzle's author in the Table of Contents and with the puzzle. Return to a subscription of 6 issues for a reasonable price.

1996 EDITOR'S CHOICE:
Original Logic Problems from Penny Press wins the Editor's Choice award for 1996. Despite areas where it is surpassed by other LP mags, on balance it is the best of the currently available mags in the opinion of this editor. The areas in which it is strong are more significant than those in which it is weak. The variety of puzzles and the width of the difficulty level spectrum are major strengths relative to other LP mags. Everyone should be able to find the type of logic problem they most enjoy solving in this mag.

This "Editor's Choice" designation is a yearly award made in January of each year based on the previous year's magazines. As the LP mags continue to evolve and respond to users' suggestions and recommendations such as those on this page, this award may be won by other magazines in future years.

England's Finest
Logic Problems
(EFLP)
EFLP is a good magazine for beginning solvers and for those who do not want hard LPs, as it is the easiest of the magazines. EFLP publishes primarily straight-forward puzzles and does not contain any puzzles to challenge expert solvers. This magazine is intended for an audience that does not want the very complex LPs. It meets this goal nicely and does not need to change the kind or level of problems it includes. This is the best magazine for novice solvers.

The appearance of the problems is probably the best of all the LP mags. The type size is easy to read, and large solve charts of both types are provided for each puzzle.

These puzzles are from England with British spelling, style, humor, and vocabulary (which sometimes requires explanation). I think, however, that the name of the magazine should be changed, because the claim that these logic problems are the finest of England is somewhat insulting to England.

Recommendations:
Add a Letters to the Editor page. Add a "1 to 3" rating system for the problems. List each puzzle's author in the Table of Contents and with the puzzle.

World Class
Logic Problems
(WCLP)
WCLP is similar to OrgLP in format and type of puzzle. The problems range from easy to hard. The hardest ones of WCLP, however, do not match the hardest of OrgLP or of OffLP. This is a badly mis-named magazine. The puzzles are good, but they are nowhere near "world-class."

The January issue of WCLP used to be the annual Penny Press World Class Logic Yearbook consisting of 150+ of the best of previously published puzzles from the Penny Press files. The other 5 WCLP issues of the year were regular issues with 48 new puzzles. Only a few at the end of the yearbook are challengers. In the summer of 1997 this changed. The yearbook was transferred to the OrgLP subscription, and WCLP changed to a quarterly dated Jan, April, July, & October. The annual subscription price was lowered from $14.47 to $9.77.

I applaud the WCLP change just as much as I deplore the OrgLP change. There is a glut of mediocre LPs on the market. I am glad to see WCLP reducing the number of puzzles it publishes. I encourage the WCLP editors to be much more discriminating concerning puzzle quality and urge them to work toward "world class" stature.

Regular issues usually contain 2 or 3 "Math Feature" LPs which require some arithmetic and numerical manipulation to solve. They also contain a "Trilogy." This consists of 3 puzzles on a common theme, which must be solved sequentially. The solution of the 1st and 2nd must be used to solve the 2nd and 3rd respectively. Another interesting regular feature puzzle is the "Variety Logic Framework" which is a combination crossword fill-in and logic puzzle.

WCLP solutions are condensed and not as easy to read as those of Dell & Official.

Recommendations:
Add a Letters to the Editor page. Make the cells of the solve charts, especially the fill-in tables, larger. Add a "1 to 5" rating system for the problems. List each puzzle's author in the Table of Contents and with the puzzle. From the name of the magazine, one would expect all the problems to be hard and challenging ("world-class"), but they are not. Therefore, the difficulty level of the puzzles should be increased with many more 5+-star problems replacing the current ones.

Official's
Logic Problems
(OffLP)
OffLP is the Best Buy in terms of the number of puzzles for the price. The puzzles are rated from 1 to 5 "light bulbs." There are usually about 8, 8, 18, 16, & 6 LPs at the successive 1-bulb to 5-bulb difficulty levels for a total of 56 LPs per issue. The 1-bulb and 2-bulb problems are readily doable by new solvers, but even experienced solvers may find challenges among the 3-, 4-, & 5-bulb problems. Beginning with the Oct 96 issue, OffLP increased the difficulty level of the 3-5-bulb puzzles and expanded from 48 to 56 puzzles per issue. OffLP definitely contains the hardest puzzles on average of all the LP mags.

OffLP, like EFLP, uses a larger type size for the problems and solve charts so the puzzles are easier to read and solve. However, only 1 type of solve chart is printed per puzzle, even when both types may be helpful in solving a puzzle.

OffLP also added a letters page called "Logically Speaking" beginning with the Oct 96 issue.

This LP mag came very close to being designated the Editor's Choice. Implementation of the following recommendations could lift it into 1st place.

Recommendations:
Print "criss-cross grid" and "fill-in table" solve charts with most puzzles instead of only giving the solver one type to use. Provide LPs of greater variety. List each puzzle's author in the Table of Contents and with the puzzle. Change to a staple binding.

New York
Herald Tribune
Logic Problems
(HTLP)
HTLP is one of the newest of the LP magazines having just begun in 1996, and it does not seem to be as widely known and available as the Dell and Penny Press magazines. It is published quarterly by the season. I have only seen the Spring 97 issue (vol #3), so this review is based solely on that single issue.

The 75 logic puzzles are rated from 1 to 4 "stars" meaning "Easy (22 LPs), Medium (37 LPs), Hard (12 LPs), and Challenger (4 LPs)" respectively. As can be seen from the number of LPs at each difficulty level (80% easy or medium; 20% hard or challenging), this magazine is probably not the one of choice for the expert solver interested in challenging puzzles. This magazine is a good choice for the beginning LP solver because it provides plenty of relatively easy puzzles to learn by, along with some hard puzzles for growth. But I doubt this mag can maintain the interest of experienced solvers with this distribution of puzzles.

The solve charts are generally of adequate size, but most of the time only 1 type is provided. For the 3* and 4* puzzles especially, it would be helpful if both types were provided. There is a lot of unnecessary cartoonish artwork which does nothing but take up space which would be better used for printing extra solve charts or for solver notes. The Table of Contents is completely inadequate as it only lists puzzle categories and not the individual puzzles. The ToC should include both. The magazine cover is much heavier than those of the other LP mags. Personal preference determines whether this is an advantage or disadvantage.

HTLP also contains "numerical logic problems" known as Word Division and Cross Additions (better known as Cross Sums). Unhappily, the format of the Cross Additions makes them a pain to work. Instead of including the vertical and horizontal sums on the puzzle grid as other magazines do, HTLP lists them separately as Across and Down clues. This greatly complicates the mechanics of solving the puzzle without adding anything to the essence of the puzzle. This is because one has to repeatedly switch back and forth between the grid and clues; this forces one to re-find one's place each time instead of completely focusing on the puzzle grid.

Recommendations:
HTLP is too heavily weighted toward puzzles rated as easy and medium (80%) with too few puzzles rated as hard or challenging (20%). A much better balance would be 20% Easy, 30% Medium, 30% Hard, 20% Challenging. Provide LPs of greater variety within the difficulty levels. Expand the Table of Contents to list each puzzle by difficulty rating. List each puzzle's author in the Table of Contents and with the puzzle. Add a Letters to the Editor page. Print "criss-cross grid" and "fill-in table" solve charts with most hard puzzles instead of usually only giving the solver one type. Use the Dell Cross Sum format for the Cross Addition puzzles.

Favorite
Logic Problems
(FLP)
Dell's FLP is the newest of the LP magazines; Winter 1997 is the first issue and is the basis for this review. There is a supposed to be a Winter and Summer issue each year, but the publishing of future issues depends on reader response to this one.

FLP has the best "how-to" introduction of any of the LP magazines. "Solving Logic Problems, Step by Step" is a 4 page introductory article which works through 3 different sample problems in detail.

FLP's 80 logic puzzles are rated from 1 to 5 "light bulbs" meaning "Beginner (14 LPs), Easy (19 LPs), Medium (22 LPs), Hard (17 LPs), and Very Hard (8 LPs)" respectively. This magazine has a better balance of LPs than HTLP with 70% easy or medium and 30% hard, but expert solvers would prefer at least 50% hard LPs.

The solve charts are generally of adequate size, but only 1 type is usually given. No solve chart is provided for 13 of the LPs: 1 of the 3-bulb LPs, 9 of the 4-bulb LPs, and 2 of the 5-bulb LPs. This is a serious deficiency. Why not print at least one chart instead of forcing the solver draw up his own chart?

Recommendations:
Provide LPs of greater variety within the difficulty levels. Add a Table of Contents which lists each puzzle (and author) by difficulty rating. Add a Letters to the Editor page. Print "criss-cross grid" and "fill-in table" solve charts with most hard puzzles instead of usually only giving the solver one type. Print at least one solve chart with every puzzle.


7. Logic Problems for Children

The easier puzzles at the beginning of LP mags are well within the capabilities of children. Even 5-year-olds enjoy doing simple LPs with the help of a parent. It's a good parent-child activity for spending time together as the child learns logical thinking and enjoys the work of completing the charts.

There is also a tool with which to infect toddlers with a hankering after Logic Puzzles. My wife found a Little Golden Book among our children's books which is a Logic Puzzle book for toddlers. It's called Hi Ho! Three in a Row by Louise Woodcock with pictures by illustrator Eloise Wilkin (copyright 1954), and it is full of little rhymes and pictures which require a peewee-size bit of logical deduction by the toddler. For example, a typical rhyme (alongside a relevant picture) is

Hi Ho!
Three boys in a row,
Dan and Billy and Joe.
Billy has a boat
And Joe wears a coat.
Which of the boys is Dan? Do you know?

Super Sleuth by Jackie Vivelo is a casebook from a children's summer detective agency. It is essentially a children's Logic Puzzle Book. It consists of 12 solve-it-yourself mysteries which are simple logic problems with charts provided to aid in solving the mysteries. The children's detective agency's solution is provided for those who can't solve the puzzles.

Children enjoy having their own "Logic Puzzle Book" and demonstrating their own deductive prowess, especially after having seen parents enjoy working logic puzzles. It's a creative way for tiny kids to have fun thinking, which is one of the greatest pleasures God gives us in this life.

For older children, the 1-star and 2-star LPs in DLP, or the early ones in OrgLP and EFLP are appropriate.


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This Logic Problems Website (http://www.oocities.com/Heartland/Plains/4484/logic.htm) originated February 1, 1997.
Logic Problems Site last updated Aug 14, 1998.
There have been viewers of this page since October 6, 1997.

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Copyright 1997 William T. Pelletier. All rights reserved.


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