Hundred-Year-Old Brain Teaser Puzzles

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:  

Saturday, June 1, 1912:

Passing, the spring time is passing away,

May summer appear all-a-bloom,

But the brightest and fairest of the season,

Is the bright and fair month of sweet June.

Carrie was over to see me this afternoon. I am engaged in trying to solve a puzzle. I have one ninth of it to get yet and it’s a stickler.

Recent photo of Muffly farm.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What was the puzzle like that Grandma so challenging? I found several hundred-year-old puzzles called Brain Bothers in 1912 issues of Farm Journal.  I’ll give you the answers tomorrow.

Brain Bothers

1. Transform a MULE to a PONY in four changes, one letter at a time, without transposing.

(January, 1912)

2. What number is divisible by 2,3,4,5, and 6, with a remainder of 1 in each instance, but is divisible by 7 without a remainder?

(March, 1912)

3. Substitute a letter in the name of an American president, and make something good to eat. Do the same with an American poet with the same result.

(May, 1912)

Poem, Etc.

Grandma included a poem in the diary on the first day of each month. Carrie refers to her friend Carrie Stout.

3 Responses

  1. Don’t know the answers to the brain teasers, but i will see if my three teenage granddaughters do. I like this post, and I like your Grandma. Thank you.

  2. I love the term “brain bothers” :-)

  3. If you can use four steps to change a mule to a pony, can you just change m to p, u to o, l to n and e to y. that’s four changes. will have to think about the others.

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