[ Issue 4 ]

Language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies, science and humour all deserve Emily Bronto's approval

Bikwil offers acclaim to language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies, science and humour


In the Editorial to Issue 4 Tony Rogers presents a puzzle for readers to solve.  Not easy, but not impossible.

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As Usual, Oddballs Galore ó Tony Rogers


It is a long time ago now that I was first introduced to the Twelve Billiard Balls problem. After weeks of struggle I thought Iíd cracked it, but I omitted to record my solution. Not that itís simple to express your solution clearly, as I recently found when I revisited it. Solving it was easier, but it was still a chore to document it intelligibly.

So hereís a holiday task for you.

Solve it, if you havenít already, then try your hand at laying out the solution so thatís itís easily understandable, and expedite it to Bikwil. But donít cheat and copy the method from a Gardner or de Bono book (or anywhere else, for that matter). Your own words, please.

This is how it goes:

There are twelve billiard balls, all the same size and colour. They all weigh the same with the exception of one which is slightly lighter or heavier, but not noticeably so in the hand.

Your challenge is to discover the odd ball and whether it is lighter or heavier. You must use a beam balance only, and you are restricted to three weighing operations.

The clearest correct solution will be printed in Bikwil, in the March 1998 issue (No. 6). No fabulous prize for you, however, just the quiet inner radiance of nonchalant, suave self-satisfaction.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Especially to any readers in ill-health.

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