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Brain Busters! Mind-Stretching Puzzles in Math and Logic (Dover Recreational Math) Paperback – September 6, 2003

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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  • Brain Busters! Mind-Stretching Puzzles in Math and Logic (Dover Recreational Math)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Series: Dover Recreational Math
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (September 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486427552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486427553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this most recent adventure into the Puzzling World of Barry R. Clarke, I found my mind quite well entertained. What I enjoy most about logic puzzles is their requirement for little if any prior knowledge, and each of Barry's "puzzlers" is no different. However, what is missing in most logic and mathematical puzzle books is a touch of true creativity and humor. In Brain Busters! I found that while my mathematical mind was challenged to the limit, I was also encouraged to think in new and original ways, moving from basic logic to the simple yet complex world of recreational mathematics. Barry Clarke pushes your mind to the edge with this most recent creation, and holds you there.
As Mr. Clarke notes in the introduction, his reasons for this puzzle compilation included the pure enjoyment of creating logical and mathematical art. Fortunately for us, Barry's creations serve not only the role of entertainment, but also more importantly the role of instruction, as he leads us down different paths of twisting logic, with excellent scenery along the way. If you view mathematics as a form of poetry, you will certainly enjoy this opportunity to learn from a mathematical wizard. Brain Busters! is indeed a "mind-stretching" experience, one that allows you to see the way Barry's imagination is captured in a distinctly unique manner in each of his puzzles. His mathematical imagination is the communality that runs through each puzzle, but at the same time it is his creative touch that serves as the specificity, giving great variation to this excellent and enjoyable work.
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Format: Paperback
Almost exactly ninety years ago, Sam Loyd's 'Cyclopaedia of Puzzles' was published in New York. This was a collection of a very large number of his puzzles which had mostly appeared in the American Press. Many were illustrated with delightful pictures at the head of the page, drawn in Sam's own hand. Barry Clarke's new book has marked similarities in layout with illustrations drawn by the author at the head of many pages and many puzzles had previously appeared in the 'Brain Twister' column in the Daily Telegraph. The drawings are remarkably like Sam Loyd's, but there the similarity stops. Sam Loyd's book was foolscap size and hard bound while Barry's has the typical Dover cover, but the real difference is in the puzzles themselves. Barry's puzzles are graded in difficulty, so that readers who do not wish to be challenged too much can start with the first section and gradually work themselves in. Also, the puzzles are ingenious and well thought out and hints are provided before the full solutions for those who need a bit of steering. This is altogether a very good read, guaranteed to keep the puzzler in the family busy over Christmas. I thoroughly recommend it.
(Angela Newing has written for The Daily Telegraph, UK)
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Format: Paperback
I'm always thrilled when an exciting book of puzzles appears on the bookshelves, especially if it is by Barry Clarke.
Brain Busters, like Barry's other books, demonstrates his wonderful ability to create funny offbeat puzzles as only he can. Besides the imaginatively written puzzles, I really enjoyed his charming cartoons that accompany many of them. My favourite one is of a sorcerer who has just turned the furious Count Lettuce into a little furry creature.
As well as math and logic problems, the book also contains some very tricky crosswords, short puzzle stories and fun lateral-type puzzles using matchsticks. In fact, there is something to suit every taste. So, if you like puzzles, you'll absolutely love this book. I did!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Non-blustery version: It's okay but nothing particularly special or memorable. Good for filling a rainy day at home, but there are better puzzle books for your money.

"I have nothing better to do than read Amazon reviews" version: First, a caveat--I grew up on Raymond M. Smullyan's Alice in Puzzle-Land, so I have a particularly refined interest in puzzles, especially logic puzzles and riddles with especially clever answers ["Why do mathematicians get Halloween and Christmas mixed up?" (search Google for the answer, since I don't think this review forum does spoiler text)].

There are a few straightforward logic puzzles included in Brain Busters!, and the twist of including a list of all the answers with the catch that only one answer in each column is correct is interesting. However, that is about the extent of the cleverness in these puzzles. A number of the puzzles involve just trying to figure out the wording; e.g., from the introduction, "Did [your mathematical friend] know that square is a square?" I had to look up the answer to understand how that was a riddle! I even expected, for instance, the curious 4x4 word puzzle on the cover to have a clever answer, but the answer is just a different set of words with a convoluted meaning--no one would realistically write that kind of a message, so I was left wondering if I'd actually solved it or not. The Complex Crosswords are challenging but annoying; I ultimately ended up building a special spreadsheet in Excel to figure out the letter arrangements without any guides whatsoever other than the 10x10 grid.
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