Puzzles Editor Kabir Firaque is the author of the weekly column Problematics. A journalist for three decades, he also writes about science and mathematics.
Articles by Kabir Firaque
This week, a mathematical puzzle in which you work out the number of men and women who enlisted for battle, plus a set of cricket anagrams.
Five athletes in their lanes, each from a different country and dressed in her favourite colour. Who is wearing what, and who wins?
We give you three runners, the differences in their speeds and in the time they clocked. What is the length of the race, and how long did each runner clock?
Indian-American doctor Deepak Chopra presented his latest book, Quantum Body, proposing the idea of a "quantum body" distinct from our physical body. Chopra asserts that understanding the quantum body can revolutionize disease eradication. The theory of consciousness, which suggests consciousness arises from quantum activity in the brain's neurons, is distinct but related. While some scientists have dismissed Chopra's ideas, others have taken the theory of consciousness seriously. Recent experiments have shown indications of quantum phenomena in the brain, but the Orch OR theory that connects these phenomena to consciousness remains unproven.
This is not the first time that someone has connected the mysteries of everyday life with the quantum world. The end effect is a whole lot of unknowns
The creator of Alice in Wonderland was also a mathematician and master puzzler. To mark his birth anniversary, here is an adaptation of one of his puzzles
Arrange your books vertically and you run out of space. Stack them up flat on their backs and your shelf is left with unused space. How many books are new?
NASA and Lockheed Martin recently unveiled the X-59 aircraft that aims to conquer one of the key issues with supersonic aircraft- a sonic boom
Meet 10 players playing a tournament like the IPL. From the clues given, can you pair them into their respective teams and find out who scored how many runs?
Leap years occur every four years, except for years ending in 00. The Gregorian calendar adjusted for the slight discrepancy in the length of a solar year.
The speed at which you intend to study often ends up as wishful thinking. Meet a student who went a bit slow and figure out how much she needs to make up.
We kick off 2024 with some people who always tell the truth and some others who always lie. Can you determine how many there are of each kind?
As things stand now, the vast breadth of India follows a single time zone based on the Mirzapur line, midway between the country’s eastern and western extremes
The headline is a Christmas greeting but is also a hidden mathematical puzzle. Can you solve it, besides distributing some goods for the festive occasions?
The same genetic mutations that enhance reproduction early in life are likely to lead to ageing in later years, meaning that fertile individuals may age faster
Archimedes, Bohr, Curie, Darwin, Einstein, Faraday and Galileo watch a movie after distributing their money. How much money did each have in the beginning?
One person runs and another one walks on a circular road, moving in opposite directions, before they switch roles. Can you determine where and when they meet?
Delhi residents, facing lower temperatures, scoff at ‘winter’ in Mumbai. Why do residents of the coastal city and the northern city seem to feel equally cold?
Here is an ingenious variation of nim, the game in which two players remove matchsticks from the table. Can you identify the winning strategy?
In a future world, where AI controls everything including cricket, some Einsteinian puzzling about which iconic robot specialises in what kind of spin
Researchers have identified 276 facial expressions in cats. To convey the same kind of emotion, a cat may present one expression to a human and another to a cat
Here’s a party trick in which you can tell the sum of five numbers, chosen by two different persons, without actually adding them. What is the secret?
Games of chance can be an endless source of puzzles. Here is a relatively simple one about a gambler for whom the number 37 appears to carry a jinx
Help a spider cross the street without spinning a web. She has two poles to navigate, with some elementary calculations.
Moon samples brought back by American and Soviet missions taught us about the solar system. Now India wants to contribute
Take any two numbers and keep adding them until you have 10 numbers. What is the quick way to determine the sum of all 10 numbers?
Try this game of deduction in which three persons know a letter each. What is the word that can be formed with these three letters?
The hunt for a superconductive material at room temperature remains alluring and has given rise to many claims which have, however, been subsequently disproved
A reminder that 7 wins in 9 matches may not be enough to ensure a berth in the top four. Given this points table, can you work out which team won which game?
Can you figure out the game of Inglorious Uncertaintus and create a smart World Cup table? Try this week’s cricket puzzles