197. THE COMPASSES PUZZLE. It is curious how an added condition or restriction will sometimes convert an absurdly easy puzzle into an interesting and perhaps difficult one. I remember buying in the street many years ago a little mechanical puzzle that had a tremendous sale at the time. It consisted of a medal with holes in it, and the puzzle was to work a ring with a gap in it from hole to hole until it was finally detached. As I was (1/4)
walking along the street I very soon acquired the trick of taking off the ring with one hand while holding the puzzle in my pocket. A friend to whom I showed the little feat set about accomplishing it himself, and when I met him some days afterwards he exhibited his proficiency in the art. But he was a little taken aback when I then took the puzzle from him and, while simply holding the medal between the finger and thumb of (2/4)
one hand, by a series of little shakes and jerks caused the ring,
without my even touching it, to fall off upon the floor. The following little poser will probably prove a rather tough nut for a great many readers, simply on account of the restricted conditions:--
Show how to find exactly the middle of any straight line by means of the compasses only. You are not allowed to use any ruler, pencil, or other article--only the compasses; and no trick or dodge, such as folding the (3/4)
paper, will be permitted. You must simply use the compasses in the ordinary legitimate way. (4/4)
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