Maslanka puzzles

The Guardian Weekly - - Mind & Relationships -

1 Pedan­ti­cus al­most choked on his panino when he spot­ted the on­line head­line: Iowa: man liv­ing in US il­le­gally charged with mur­der of stu­dent What had stuck in the old boy’s throat?

2 At the Last Chance Sa­loon the fun con­tin­ues. The Hin­doo Jar broth­ers’ urn con­tains 9 balls, each white or black. The chances of with­draw­ing a pair match­ing in colour are 1/2. Sher­iff Ein­stein knows Gus has re­moved two balls at ran­dom with­out check­ing their colour. What does Ein­stein now cal­cu­late the chances to be of with­draw­ing a pair match­ing in colour from the 7 left? Gus now sees he had with­drawn 2 white balls. What does he cal­cu­late the an­swer to be? Who is right? Twit­ter: @ChrisMaslanka email:

Word­play Word­pool

In each case find the cor­rect def­i­ni­tion:


a) hawk-like b) ac­cept­ing c) cap­i­tal d) sur­rep­ti­tious

EFFABLE a) damnable b) ca­pa­ble of pro­fan­ity c) ex­press­ible in words d) un­di­vine

E pluribus unum

Rear­range the let­ters of THIN GENTLE­MEN to make a sin­gle word.

Same Dif­fer­ence

Iden­tify these words that dif­fer only in the let­ters shown: **** turn... ****E ... back


Job’s work­place? (6)

Miss­ing Links

Find a word that fol­lows the first word in the clue and pre­cedes the sec­ond, in each case mak­ing a fresh word or phrase. Eg the an­swer to fish

mix could be cake (fish­cake & cake mix) and to bat man it could be he (bathe & he- man) ... a) life wise b) sand­wich sta­tion c) farm some d) Monopoly bags e) sea ta­ble f) ac­cepted teeth

1 Ad­verbs can pre­cede or suc­ceed the verbs they qual­ify; so we at once get the un­wanted am­bi­gu­ity that the man is liv­ing il­le­gally in the US or that he is il­le­gally charged. The pro­saic will ob­ject that since there is fac­tu­ally no such thing as an il­le­gal charge of mur­der (or at the very least it is such an un­likely mean­ing in this con­text) that one limb of the am­bi­gu­ity is ef­fec­tively ruled out. I have pre­vi­ously pointed out the flaws in this easy point of view, but let us re­mind our­selves. We some­times want there to be no am­bi­gu­ity pos­si­ble gram­mat­i­cally if only be­cause the hov­er­ing of a sec­ondary mean­ing is a dis­trac­tion which has ac­tively to be dis­pelled when such dis­trac­tion and ef­fort could eas­ily have been avoided. Us­ing the ad­jec­tive il­le­gal in­stead of the ad­verb would have made things less am­bigu­ous since ad­jec­tives rarely point in two di­rec­tions; but PC con­sid­er­a­tions makes us wary of us­ing e.g. il­le­gal im­mi­grant; such are the penal­ties of be­ing un­able to keep our pol­i­tics out of our lan­guage. (But can neu­tral lan­guage ex­ist? An­swers on a philo­soph­i­cal post­card!). So how to re­cast this head­line? Thanks to Paul Wrigley for send­ing this in. 2 Ein­stein: 1/2; Gus: 5/7. Gus is right (Ein­stein had to in­clude pos­si­bil­i­ties now known not to have been re­alised). Word­play: Word­pool a), c) EPU EN­LIGHT­EN­MENT; Same Dif­fer­ence SPIN, SPINE Cryptic OF­FICE Miss­ing Links a) life/like/wise b) sand­wich/fill­ing/sta­tion; c) farm/hand/some; d) Monopoly/money/bags; e) sea/bird/ta­ble; f) ac­cepted/wis­dom/teeth.

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