Some of the pieces are broad and others are much more specific. The first essay surveys "One-Move Puzzles" in the areas of divination, weighing, dissection, rearrangement and folding, for example, while the second applies travelling salesman and minimum spanning tree algorithms to figurative maze design.

The topics touched on include the Tower of Hanoi, mazes, crossword puzzles, assembly problems, tetraflexagons, coin weighing puzzles, poker, tic-tac-toe, SET, Hex and other connection games, the Cookie Monster problem, and Fibonacci numbers. The mathematics deployed comes from probability, combinatorics, optimisation, packing, graph theory, affine geometry, and coding theory. Some of the pieces use games as motivation for teaching some mathematics, some use mathematics to explore games, most do a combination of both.

I particularly enjoyed essays on the Slothouber-Graatsma-Conway puzzle and
Fibonacci coding of numbers, but I ended up reading most of the pieces
in *The Mathematics of Various Entertaining Subjects* in full and at
least skimming through the rest. Everyone's preferences here are likely
to differ and, given its diversity, it is hard to see that this really
makes sense as a book, in a world where shorter pieces can so easily be
distributed individually. Unless there's a cheaper paperback coming,
most people will probably prefer to borrow this from a library.

October 2016

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