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Ten Mathematical Acrostics

Tom Apostol


Crossword puzzles are one of the most popular forms of recreation for people who are amused by words. Acrostic puzzles are more challenging than crossword puzzles and also more fun to solve because they involve reasoning as well as a good vocabulary.

These acrostic puzzles consist of a diagram and a list of DEFINITIONS with numbered dashes for the letters of the WORDS being defined. You guess as many words as you can and fill in the dashes, also writing each letter in the correspondingly numbered square in the diagram. When completely filled in, the diagram contains a passage from a published work. The initial letters of the WORDS spell out the author and title of the work, a feature that can be of great help in unraveling the puzzle.

The puzzles in this particular collection differ from most acrostics because all the definitions and words are related to mathematics or mathematicians. This makes the puzzle more difficult to construct but easier to solve. To solve a mathematical acrostic, some familiarity with mathematical terms is helpful but not really necessary. Most of these puzzles can be (and have been) solved by people who know little or no mathematics but have a good vocabulary.

Once you have fill in just a few letters in the diagram, you will be amazed to see words and phrases begin to take shape. As you enter letters into the diagram you'll find that you can make reasonable guesses for some of the other entries. As you proceed you will find yourself not only entering letters from the WORDS to the diagram but also entering letters from the diagram back to the WORDS. This back and forth feature makes the puzzles more enjoyable and enhances your chances of finding the solution.

Professors and teachers should feel free to print out copies of puzzles for their classes.

Electronic ISBN: 9781614448020

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