Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Were you able to solve it? Lewis Carroll's works for those who struggle with insomnia.

Were you able to solve it? Lewis Carroll’s works for those who struggle with insomnia.

Earlier today, I posted these brain teasers created by Lewis Carroll. In addition to being a popular author of works such as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Carroll was known for creating many puzzles.

1. The Chelsea Pensioners

If 70% have experienced vision loss, 75% have experienced hearing loss, 80% have experienced arm loss, and 85% have experienced leg loss, what is the minimum percentage of people who have lost all four body parts?

Solution 10

Here is how Carroll solved it: “By adding the wounds together, the total is 310 among 100 men, with 3 assigned to each man and 4 assigned to 10 men. Therefore, the minimum percentage is 10.” I did not solve it in the same way, but everyone has their own approach.

2. Apples appear

Dreaming of apples on a wall,

Frequently having dreams, my dear,
my notifications in text,

I imagined that if I totaled my notifications in written form,

What is the total number that would be visible?

Solution Ten

This was a bit tricky. In many cases = 10.

3. Russian sons

A Russian father had three sons, one of whom became a lawyer named Rab, the second became a soldier named Ymra, and the third became a sailor. What was the third son’s name?

Solution Yvan

My personal preference is as follows: “bar” backwards spells out “rab,” which is where lawyers typically work. Similarly, “army” backwards becomes “ymra,” the workplace for soldiers. The reversed form of “Yvan” denotes the location where sailors are employed.

4. Word ways

a) Find a bird with the letters ‘gp’ as its nucleus.

Find a fruit in which the letters ’emo’ appear in the middle.

Solution a) magpie, b) lemon

5. Doublets

The doublet, also known as a “word ladder”, was invented by Carroll and has become a popular puzzle. The objective is to start with two given words and find a sequence of words that only differ in one letter, to go from the first word to the second. For example, to go from HEAD to TAIL, you could follow the sequence: HEAD, HEAL, TEAL, TELL, TALL, TAIL.

a) Prove RAVEN to be MISER (3 links)

Swap the letters in OAT to get RYE.

Rephrase: Transform APE into MAN (5)

d) Put BEANS on SHELF (7)


a) RAVEN riven risen riser MISER

b) OAT rat rot roe RYE

c) APE are ere err ear mar MAN

“Possible words formed with the letters BEANS: beans, beams, seams, shams, shame, shale, shall, and shell. These words can also be rearranged to spell the word ‘shelf’.”

I hope you had fun solving the puzzles! I will return in two weeks.

Today’s puzzles are selected from Lewis Carroll’s “Guide for Insomniacs,” a collection of random Carroll trivia put together by avid admirer Gyles Brandreth.

The book is available for purchase at the Guardian bookstore or through other online retailers.

I have been posting a puzzle every other Monday since 2015. I am constantly seeking out interesting puzzles to share. If you have a suggestion, please send me an email.

Source: theguardian.com