We’re a little out of steam right now. Some big posts are planned, but it’s difficult to gather our strength to write them. In the meantime, we’ll keep things going with a few light and easy posts.
A while back we posted some (still unanswered) puzzles by Tony Gardiner, as well as the excellent article by Tony from which they came. Exploring Gardiner’s writing a little further, we stumbled upon a hilarious problem, from long ago.
John Bonnycastle was a mathematics teacher and textbook writer in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. (No, we hadn’t heard of him either.) His Scholar’s Guide to Arithmetic was first published in 1780 and went through many editions; the eighteenth, 1851 edition can be downloaded here, and other editions are readily available (behind academic paywalls). Bonnycastle’s Arithmetic is of course fascinating to browse, and it seems serviceable, if standardly wordy for the time and not particularly notable. One problem, however, which Gardiner used in slightly modified form, we just had to share: