Random Posts

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Henry Dudeney

     Henry Ernest Dudeney (April 10, 1857 – April 23, 1930) was an English author and mathematician who specialized in logic puzzles and is known as one of England's foremost creators of mathematical puzzles. His last name is pronounced with a long "u" and a strong accent on the first syllable, as in "scrutiny". 
     He was born in the village of Mayfield, East Sussex, one of six children.  His grandfather, John Dudeney, was well known as a self-taught mathematician and shepherd; he was much admired by his grandson. 
     Dudeney learned to play chess at an early age and continued to play frequently throughout his life.  This led to a marked interest in mathematics and the composition of puzzles. Chess problems in particular fascinated him during his early years. 
     Dudeney spent his career in the Civil Service and devised various problems and puzzles. His first puzzle contributions were submissions to newspapers and magazines, often under the pseudonym of "Sphinx." Much of this earlier work was a collaboration with American puzzle master Sam Loyd; in 1890, they published a series of articles in the English penny weekly Tit-Bits. Dudeney later contributed puzzles under his real name to publications such as The Weekly Dispatch, The Queen, Blighty, and Cassell's Magazine. For twenty years, he had a successful column, "Perplexities", in The Strand Magazine, edited by the former editor of Tit-Bits.
     Dudeney continued to exchange puzzles with Sam Loyd for a while, but broke off the correspondence and accused Loyd of stealing his puzzles and publishing them under his own name. 
     Some of Dudeney's most famous innovations were his 1903 success at solving the Haberdasher's Puzzle (Cut an equilateral triangle into four pieces that can be rearranged to make a square) and publishing the first known crossnumber puzzle, in 1926. He has also been credited with discovering new applications of digital roots
     Dudeney was a leading exponent of verbal arithmetic puzzles; his were always alphametic, where the letters constitute meaningful phrases or associated words. Previously, it had been claimed that he was the inventor of verbal arithmetic although Dudeney himself never made the claim. This was later disproved when examples of a verbal arithmetic puzzles published in the US in 1864 was discovered where they were already popular. These puzzles were well known to Sam Loyd who gained notoriety for his claim of having invented them which were exposed as false. Loyd even falsely claimed to have invented the verbal arithmetic puzzle. It was these puzzles that caused the rift between Dudeney and Loyd. Dudeney eventually publicly equated Loyd with the Devil. 
     In 1884 Dudeney married Alice Whiffin (1864–1945) who became a very well known writer who published many novels as well as a number of short stories in Harper's Magazine under the name "Mrs. Henry Dudeney". In her day, she was compared to Thomas Hardy for her portrayals of regional life. The income generated by her books was important to the Dudeney household and her fame gained them entry to both literary and court circles. Alice's personal diaries were published in 1998 under the title A Lewes Diary: 1916–1944. They give a picture of her attempts to balance her literary career with her marriage to her brilliant but volatile husband. 
     After losing their first child at the age of four months in 1887, the Dudeneys had one daughter, Margery Janet (1890–1977). She married (John) Christopher Fulleylove, son of John Fulleylove and one of an esteemed family of English artists. The Fulleyloves emigrated to North America, first living in Canada and eventually settling first in Oakland, Michigan, and later New York. 
     Dudeney died of throat cancer in Lewes, where he and his wife had moved in 1914 after a period of separation to rekindle their marriage. Alice died on 21 November 21, 1945 after a stroke. Both are buried in the Lewes town cemetery. In addition to puzzles, Dudeney had hobbies including billiards, bowling, and especially croquet. He was a skilled pianist and organist, interested in ancient church music and plainsong. Dudeney was a devout Anglican who regularly attended services, studied theology, and on occasion wrote tracts defending church positions. 

Puzzle by H. E. Dudeney from 1922. Make consecutive moves for white and maneuver the King to f1. Stipulations are: No Pawn Moves. The Knight cannot be captured. The King cannot move to g2 because that square is covered by the Knight. You probably will be unable to do this in your head as the solution is quite long, so I have posted to solution on my book review page HERE.


No comments:

Post a Comment