TOYS, TRICKS, AND TEASERS Putting a spin on a puzzle.

By Donald E. Simanek

Sometimes it’s not easy to decide which toys, tricks, or puzzles to include in these pages. Of course, any that are new to me seem appropriate, but a little research may reveal that they’re not as novel as I thought. A puzzle I’ve never seen may be dismissed as “old hat” by puzzle collectors; I may even discover that it was commercially marketed. A physics demonstration may cause a teacher to comment, “That one was discussed in one of the physics journals, oh, maybe 15 years ago,” with an implication that every teacher knows it, so it’s not worth discussion.

Magic tricks are often marketed, but seldom patented. Anyone who is a bit curious can find out the secrets of small ...

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