This is a wonderful book of puzzles and other pieces of recreational mathematics. It is the third book in a series devoted to Martin Gardner, the most famous author and collector of puzzles and the `father of recreational mathematics‘ who used to run the highly popular puzzle column `Mathematical Games‘ in Scientific American from 1957 to 1982. The column popularized recreational mathematics, and has inspired and attracted many mathematicians. Since 1993, conferences known as Gatherings for Gardner (G4G) have been organized every few years. So far, the last (fifth) such meeting (G4G5) was held in Atlanta in April 2004. The first and the second volumes in the series, The Mathemagician and Pied Puzzler (1999) and Puzzler’s Tribute: A Feast for the Mind (2002) were based on the first four meetings. This third volume is based on presentations given at the last meeting. In each of the three books the reader will find a collection of articles written by mathematicians, puzzlers and magicians that Gardner inspired. Following the tradition, the theme related to the number of the actual meeting (number five in this case, hence pentagon, pentagram etc.) appears in several of the articles. In particular, the logo in the form of a lovely five-pointed star composed by the Gardner’s name appears on the cover of the book. The main content of the book is organized into six sections called Braintreasures, Brainticklers, Brainteasers, Braintempters, Braintaunters and Braintools. The contributors include some very famous authors such as Raymond Smullyan or M. Oskar van Deventer, and even Martin Gardner himself. The presentations cover all kinds of puzzles and recreational problems, including Chinese ceramic puzzle vessels, Mongolian interlocking puzzles, fold-and-cut magic, cryptic crossword puzzles, computer puzzles, algorithmic puzzles and many, many more. Four articles of the opening section of the book commemorate the memory of two great puzzlers Edward Hordern and Nobuyuki Yoshigahara, who both died prematurely in 2004. This book is a great reading, supremely ingenious, amusing and inspiring.

Reviewer:

lp