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1,000 Playthinks: Puzzles, Paradoxes, Illusions & Games Paperback – October 1, 2001


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What If? by Randall Munroe
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, find hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761118268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761118268
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 11.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Moscovich believes that "now that most of the physical frontiers have been crossed the mental ones beckon us." He has created these visual challenges, riddles, and puzzles to help push thinking into these new frontiers. Some of them are completely original; others are adaptations of classic challenges. They are bold, bright, colorful, and genuinely inviting. They are arranged by mathematical or scientific category, and ranked by a degree of difficulty from 1 to 10. A key further subdivides them into mind puzzles, pencil-and-paper puzzles, those that must be traced or copied, and, finally, those that require cutting. Most can be done alone; some are for groups. When complete and total frustration has set in, readers can turn to the back of the book for the solutions, which are clearly illustrated and explained. Sidebars explain the mathematical or scientific principles involved. The spiral binding allows the book to lie flat. Put this out where teens can see it and you'll find them poring over the puzzles, trying to figure them out.
Jane S. Drabkin, Chinn Park Regional Library, Prince William, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

THE MOST WIDE-RANGING, VISUALLY APPEALING, ENTERTAINING, GIGANTIC COLLECTION OF BRAINTEASERS SINE SAM LOYD'S CYCLOPEDIA OF PUZZLES ALMOST A CENTURY AGO. (Will Shortz, Crossword Editor, The New York Times, and NPR's Puzzlemaster

A compulsive, exuberant cornucopia of puzzles, 1000 PlayThinks is like salted peanuts for the brain. Here are mental games, visual challenges, logic posers, riddles and illusions.

Can you cross the IMPOSSIBLE DOMINO BRIDGE? Wield the SICKLE OF ARCHIMEDES? Or figure out how to avoid the booby prizes in GAME SHOW?

Comprised of both original puzzles and mind-boggling adaptations of classic games this book, written by a man Wired magazine called a living inspiration for the rest of us, celebrate that unique place where pure play and problem-solving coexist.

Start solving. And right away you'll feel smart, intuitive, curious, successful and at one with the beauty of mathematics.

Find the Perfect Puzzle

WARM - UPS

249 TUBE ILLUSION 368 PERMUTINO 709 MOBIUS STRIP 835 BOMBS AWAY 913 BIRD IN THE CAGE

CHALLENGING

270 KISSING SPHERES 445 SEPARATING CATS 758 JUMPING DISKS 80 KNIGHTS ATTACK 181 HAMILTONIAN CIRCUIT

PURE GENIUS

172 CRANKSHAFT 242 APOLLONIUS'S PROBLEM 42 HEPTAGON MAGIC 165 MATCH POINT 714 M-PIRE COLORING GAME


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Customer Reviews

Anyone who likes puzzles will love this book.
"jerryguild"
Even in presenting well-known puzzles the author manages to make serious errors.
Mr. Clive J. Tooth
This book would be great for ages 8 through adult!
K.Wegley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Clive J. Tooth on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
As I dipped into this book I became more and more annoyed. It has many, many mistakes, of all kinds, in it. Even in presenting well-known puzzles the author manages to make serious errors. Here are a few of the mistakes that I noticed:
(Puzzle 307) Morley's theorem is (to quote the late H.S.M. Coxeter) "one on the most surprising theorems in elementary geometry", but Moscovich manages to get the diagram wrong! The triangle which he picks out does not even look equilateral!
(Puzzle 772) For the well-known puzzle of passing a cube through a smaller cube the author begins his explanation: "If you hold a cube so that one corner points directly toward you, its edges outline a hexagon. It then becomes obvious that the cube has ample space for a square hole slightly larger than one of its faces." There is even a picture of a hexagon with a square superimposed on it. Although a cube can be passed through a (slightly) smaller cube in this way, it is well known that the optimum solution does not have the edges of the hole parallel to the space diagonal of the cube.
(Puzzle 990) Weighing from 1 to 40 grams using weights on one side of a balance only. Moscovich says "you must have the weights 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 grams". Not so. For example, 1, 2, 4, 8, 9 and 16 would be ok.
I began to compile a list of errors in this book, but I gave up when I had accumulated over 30, having read, I would estimate, about a quarter of the book.
The book has a "Difficulty Index" which should be renamed the "Difficult Index". You have to know the exact title of a puzzle and its level (from 1 to 9), in order to find it again using this index.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bailey on August 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because it is beautiful and it looked like fun brain exercise. But much to my disappointment I found too many mistakes in the answers. A good example is the very pretty Pick Up Sticks. The answer in the back is most definitely wrong! I find this type of error in this type of book to be unacceptable, and think it could be very frustrating and discouraging to a person that might not be able to tell whether or not their answer was indeed correct and the book was wrong. I returned my copy to the book store.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K.Wegley on December 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
I teach in the gifted math program and one of my students brought this book in. The students were captivated by its thought provoking challenges. The challenges come in all levels so that it captures the interest of all range of students/adults. The solutions are in the back with great explainations. This book would be great for ages 8 through adult!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By mesa maestro on January 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Maybe I'm just not smart enough to do these puzzles but some of them certainly require more detailed solutions than the ones offered or there isn't any point in having solutions. In addition there is way to much similarity in the puzzles, many of the so-called puzzles are more in the brain-teaser category (how can the purchaser of a parrot be dissatisfied if the parrot repeats every word it hears, as advertised?), at least one answer is either wrong or the problem is phrased improperly, some answers are impossible to comprehend (possibly just me again), there are some typos in the answers and finally there is no explication of some mathematical "rules" or "laws" that are used to justify answers.
On the plus side the book is beautiful, user friendly, looks good on the coffee table and makes a great paper-weight/doorstop.
If you like puzzles try Sam Loyd or Martin Gardner.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "jerryguild" on March 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book a short time ago and am slowly getting into it. It is sure to become one of the great puzzle books. I have been interested in puzzles for many years and have a collection of over 350 "puzzle books" I have no hesitation in ranking this book right up there with "Cyclopedia of Puzzles" by Sam Loyd, "The Moscow Puzzles" by Boris Kordemsky" and "536 Puzzles & Curious Problems" by H.E.Dudeney. Each in it's own way; Loyd's was an innovation and a classic in it's time,Dudeney's and Kordemsky's were very traditional with great variety. Moscovich gives us a whole new approach in types of puzzles and a huge leap in the incorporation of art and graphics into the world of puzzles. The greatest puzzle of all to me is how this book could be produced and sold in the price range of a novel with no artwork,color or illustrations. On behalf of puzzle enthusiasts everywhere I would like to commend the author and publishers. Anyone who likes puzzles will love this book.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. Pochmann on May 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
There are many great riddles, but way too often are the questions, answers and short tutorials incomplete, misleading or plain wrong. Unbelievable that he can't even correctly define what a complete graph is. He says you have a complete graph if every two nodes can be connected by two disjunct paths. What a [junk]. His intentions might be good, but he's way too careless. I tried to read some puzzles several times, but about one third of the time it's just annoying and frustrating. Note that I'm not frustrated because I can't solve the problems. I can, that's the sad part. It's him, making mistakes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By OIT on July 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The puzzles/questions in the book are challenging but several times the author is too vague in his description and leaves the reader wondering what exactly the author is asking. Thus, the reader is left with several ways to interpret the puzzle/question. However, it is fun and I would still recommend it to help with critical thinking skills and nurturing creative thinking/ideas.
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