This is a very nice “maze” puzzle, borrowed from Martin Gardner’s book “The Colossal Book of Short Puzzles and Problems” Problem 10.14. The puzzle first appeared in 1962, in Martin Gardner’s Scientific American column. It was created by Robert Abbott, and in 1997 appeared in his book, SuperMazes.2 Thanks to Google, I was able to retrieve the original figure of this puzzle.
Here is the original story with the puzzle:
“Because the town of Floyd’s Knob, Indiana, had only thirty seven registered automobiles, the mayor thought it would be safe to appoint his cousin, Henry Stables, who was the town cutup, as its traffic commissioner. But he soon regretted his decision. When the town awoke one morning, it found that a profusion of signs had been erected establishing numerous one way streets and confusing restrictions on turns.
The citizens were all for tearing down these signs until the police chief, another cousin of the mayor, made a surprising discovery. Motorists passing through town became so exasperated that sooner or later they made a prohibited turn. The police chief found that the town was making even more money from these traffic violations than from its speed trap on an outlying country road.
Of course everyone was overjoyed, particularly because the next day was Saturday and Moses McAdam, the county’s richest farmer, was due to pass through the town on his way to the county seat. They expected to extract a large fine from Moses, believing it to be impossible to drive through town without at least one traffic violation. But Moses had been secretly studying the signs. When Saturday morning came, he astonished the entire town by driving from his farm through town to the county seat without a single violation!
Can you discover the route Moses took? At each intersection you must follow one of the arrows. That is, you may turn in a given direction only when there is a curved line in that direction, and you may only go straight only when there is a straight line to follow. No turns may be made by backing a car around a corner. No U-turns are permitted. You may leave an intersection only at the head of an arrow. For instance, at the first intersection after leaving the farm, you only have two choices: to go north or to go straight (East). If you go straight (East), at the next intersection you must go either straight (East) or turn South. True, there is a curved line to the North, but there is no arrow pointing North, so you are forbidden to leave that intersection in a northerly direction.”
You can send in your answers by typing in N, S, E, W (North, South, East, West) at every intersection.
As always, please send your answers as comments within the blog (preferred), or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Please do share the puzzle with others if you like, and please also send puzzles that you have come across that you think I can share in this blog.
Have an a-maze-ing weekend!