# Brainteasers – Issue 36, 2016

Did you know researchers have proven that taking time for things like brain teasers and brain games is really good for you? Those puzzles, riddles, and feats of logic help in boosting brain activity, enhance memory and processing speed, improve concentration and help reduce boredom.

They also help reduce the risk for dementia. Many of our readers have told us that once they receive their copy of Automation Notebook, The Break Room is the first section they read. It’s for a good reason, too. The brainteasers Chip McDaniel provides for us are always a great way to take a short mental break from their daily tasks. Plus, solving these tests of wit can provide emotional satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. But, putting all that scientific reasoning aside, we like them because they’re just fun!

## Ostrich Wrangling

An eccentric ostrich rancher claims that an enclosure made from four of his straight fence sections is just large enough to display one of his ostriches with relative comfort for the bird. One day he decides to take fifteen ostriches to the county fair. Given the required amount of space that he has determined for each bird, what is the minimum number of these identical fence sections that he can use to contain the fifteen birds while at the fair?

## Five Star Seamstresses

There is a way to fold a piece of paper (or cloth) so that a single straight cut will produce a five pointed star. Can you figure out this fold-and-cut technique for yourself (no Googling)?

And a bonus trivia question:
This technique is commonly attributed to a famous American seamstress – any idea who that might have been?

## Letter Boxing

If you try to fill up the remaining boxes in the grid above* with additional copies of the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F, without having any two of each letter in the same row OR column OR on a diagonal with another, you may become frustrated – because it is not possible. But how many of those letters CAN you place according to the constraints given?

Nailed it!My friend Scott once worked for a telephone company, and he was directing a crew to install phone and other cabling for a large commercial account. The installation was in a new mall, prior to its opening, and there was a fair amount of construction debris lying around. As Scott walked through the future retail space pointing and explaining how the cables should be routed, he suddenly stepped on a huge nail protruding from a board.

The nail came through at an angle and over an inch of the nail was visible sticking up from between the laces of his work boot. All the nearby workers gasped at the sight. But what they couldn’t see – was that the nail had passed between Scott’s big toe and the adjacent toe – and by some miracle, hadn’t even broken the skin. Scott calmly placed his other foot on the board to hold it down, and wrenched his perforated boot from the nail. The onlookers were sure that a trip to the hospital was in order, but Scott simply pointed back up to the ceiling and said, “Now make sure to pass the cables to the left of that ductwork…” and continued as though nothing had happened. His co-workers found new respect for his grit and work ethic.

*This issue’s puzzles are based on the work of Henry Ernest Dudeney (1857-1930) – any errors are ours.