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How spiral search patterns and lateral thinking cracked our puzzle

Rob Eastaway and Brian Hobbs take over our maths column to reveal who solved their puzzle and won a copy of their New Scientist puzzle book, Headscratchers

By Rob Eastaway and Brian Hobbs

25 October 2023

F3HB7N Underwater view of two technical divers using rebreathers device to locate shipwreck, Lombok, Indonesia

Steve Woods Photography/Cultura Creative RF/Alamy

WHEN solving problems in the real world, it is rare that the solution is purely mathematical, but maths is often a key ingredient. The puzzle we set a few weeks ago (New Scientist, 30 September, p 45) embraced this by encouraging readers to come up with ingenious solutions that didn’t have to be exclusively maths-based.

Here is a reminder of the problem: Prince Golightly found himself tied to a chair near the centre of a square room, in the dark, with chained monsters in the four corners and an escape door in the middle of one wall. With him, he…

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