The Unspotted Die Puzzle

The Unspotted Die Puzzle

Create February 26, 2012 / By Barry R. Clarke
The Unspotted Die Puzzle

A solution to die for?

I've always thought that gambling was there to avoid, an ultimately fruitless attempt to predict the unpredictable, to control the uncontrollable, unless it was a game like Blackjack in which a carefully thought out system might yield dividends. I remember my grandmother recalling that my grandfather was an obsessive gambler on the English football pools, where eight crosses are placed against matches which might result in a score draw. Most of his week's earning went on his pools coupon predictions. However, the children needed clothes, and after he gave my grandmother the letter to post, she would go to the postbox, feign to post it, and pocket the money instead. Unfortunately, one week he 'won' a small amount so she had a lot of explaining to do!

In 1991, in an impulsive fit of optimism, I placed £200 on a horse to win the UK Seagram Grand National. The race was sponsored by the Canadian distillery Seagram and by a strange coincidence there happened to be a horse in the race called Seagram. The favorite though was the Jenny Pitman trained Garrison Savannah which had recently distinguished itself by bringing home the Gold Cup and, according to the well informed, was 'certain' to win so long as the ground stayed firm. So that's where my money went. Ten minutes before the race started it rained. Less effective on soft ground, Garrison Savannah trailed in second, five lengths behind an eleven-year-old horse called ... Seagram! Wilson Mizner's surmise that gambling is "a sure way of getting nothing for something" certainly rang true that day.

History records that gambling with dice seemed to be popular amongst rulers of nations. Caligula took losing so badly that he would execute rich citizens in order to continue his gambling with their estates. Henry VIII actually lost the bells of old St. Paul's on a single throw. One wonders what the church caretaker thought when a horse and cart turned up at the door to collect the winnings. As an old English proverb once advised, the best throw of the dice is to throw them away!

Which by a circuitous contrivance brings me on to this week's teaser!

Shown below is a set of four dice in a box. The fourth die has a blank top face. Can you add the correct number of missing spots?

Solution next Sunday

Last Week's Puzzle

To solve The Miserable Marriage Puzzle, it is the letter D that is removed, not the one on the far right, but the one that makes the top of the B. This leaves DAD who is also a stepdad because the A in the middle is the side view of a step ladder!

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