Chalkdust’s Christmas conundrums

As the festive season strikes again, we’ll be dishing out more fiendish puzzles – this time with prizes!


Image: Flickr user Dglassme, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Winter is coming. The temperature is dropping quickly (although not all the way to absolute zero) and the days are getting shorter. To cheer us up at this bleak time of year, somebody decided it was a good idea to have an annual celebration. No, not Isaac Newton’s birthday. We are talking, of course, about Christmas!

Ah, Christmas. What better way to spend the holiday season than relaxing at home, curled up by the fire with a good book. Or perhaps you’re the sort of person who prefers to unwind by tackling a Yule-themed puzzle or two. Or maybe you like to wear a fashionable, mathematical T-shirt that’s available in a variety of colours and any of the sizes that aren’t medium?

What about if you could do all three… at the same time‽

Relax with a puzzle in front of a roaring fire, or (for those who don’t live in an Edwardian manor) a small candle, as seen here. Image: Alesa Dam, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

This month, in addition to our usual blog posts, we’ll have weekly festive puzzles to keep you entertained during those long, wintery evenings when there’s nothing on the television and you can’t quite manage another round of Guess Who?.

What’s more, each week we will be offering fantastic mathematically themed prizes to some lucky people who successfully complete the puzzle! That’s right, folks: complete a Chalkdust Christmas conundrum and you could win a prize!

What prize, I hear you ask? Well, unlike some mathematically themed merchandise, we can promise you that all of our prizes are high-quality, fun, and will keep you entertained long after the fake snow has been put away and Noddy is back in his holder.

Remember last year, when we reviewed The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus, by Hannah Fry and Thomas Oléron Evans? Well, we thought it was a great read: accessible, enjoyable and a step by step guide to the mathematically perfect Christmas. This year it’s back on our bookshelves, but not for long as we’ll be giving away some signed copies!

He’s coming. And he’s delivering Chalkdust. Image: Patti Haskins, CC BY-NC 2.0.

We have also managed to get our hands on some copies of The Element in the Room, the book by the Festival of the Spoken Nerd. We’ll be reviewing the book later this month, just to whet your appetite. There’ll also be an opportunity to win a Chalkdust T-shirt. But you knew that already, didn’t you.

Last, but by no means least, the people at Bletchley Park have very kindly allowed us to give away some copies of their excellent book, Bletchley Park Brainteasers, which is full of puzzles to solve and codes to crack, in case you just can’t get enough Christmas puzzling! On top of that they have offered us a pair of free tickets to the park itself; a fantastic day out that was well reviewed by us in issue 06.

To have a chance at winning any of these prizes, check back next week when we’ll be running our first competition!

PS: For those of you asking, we thought about running another advent calendar this year. But we decided not to. Their days are numbered.

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