There are a variety of printed sources for situation puzzles.
Unfortunately, most of these books are out of print and extremely difficult
to find. (Also unfortunately, many books that do contain situation puzzles
mix them indiscriminately with well-known riddles and logic puzzles.) Try
inter-library loan, and be prepared to wait. If you know of printed sources
other than those listed, please send me bibliographical info.
I’ve included a few puzzles from these books which weren’t in previous
editions of my list; in those cases I’ve paraphrased the puzzle statements
and cited the sources. Perhaps eventually I’ll contact the copyright owners
and ask for permission to include more items from the books…
Ballard, Jim, Stories With Holes (Mandala Press(?),
location and date unknown (but apparently between 1975 and 1981)). A slim
volume containing twenty situation puzzles, plus instructions for playing
them with an elementary school class. None of the puzzles are original to
Ballard; in fact, most of them come from How Come? and
How Come — Again?, by way of the folk process. Ballard calls
the puzzles “computer games” because the puzzle-presenter is supposed to act
like a computer and answer only “yes,” “no,” or “does not compute.”
Contains no publishing or contact information whatsoever, even though it
asks for submissions for future volumes. Very hard to find. May or may not
be connected to a series of at least 18 other volumes written by Nathan Levy
between 1990 and 1992, all of which contain the phrase “stories with holes”
in the title.
Downie, Diane, Twila Slesnick, and Jean Kerr Stenmark, Math for
Girls and Other Problem Solvers (Lawrence Hall of Science, University
of California, Berkeley, 1981). Contains one or two new puzzles, several
interesting variants, and a lot of unrelated but interesting material on
teaching problem-solving. (Note that this is not the same as the book by
Carole Marsh with the same title.)
Games magazine (bibliographical data unavailable). They
ran a situation-puzzle contest some years back (in 1992?), but I never saw
Morris, Scot, The Next Book of OMNI Games
(bibliographical data unavailable; out of print). Most of the puzzles I’ve
been told from this book were printed earlier in one or the other of the
Agnes Rogers books.
Rogers, Agnes, How Come? (1953: Doubleday & Company,
Inc., New York). Library of Congress catalog number 53-5756. OCLC #1612919.
The author may also be listed as Agnes Rogers Allen. With its sequel (see
below), the classic volume on the subject; is probably the original source
for quite a few standard situation puzzles, though Rogers says she does not
know who invented the form. Nor does she know the source of most of those
she includes — like all good folklore, situation puzzles are difficult to
trace to their origins. (Rogers says about half the items in this volume,
and all the items in the second volume, are original to her and her
friends.) Unfortunately, both these books are long out of print. Besides
their historical value, these two come furnished with delightful
illustrations of various wrong approaches to some of the puzzles. These
versions were definitely intended to be read from the book, though; the
puzzle statements are much lengthier than the versions in my list.
Rogers, Agnes, and Sheehan, Richard G., How Come —
Again? (1960: Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York). Library of
Congress catalog number 60-13745. OCLC #2580602. Again, note that all the
puzzles in this volume are original to Rogers and Sheehan.
Sloane, Paul, Lateral Thinking Puzzlers (1992: Sterling
Publishing Co., Inc., 387 Park Avenue South, New York, 10016). ISBN
0-8069-8227-6. There’s a lot of overlap here with the rec.puzzles archives,
including a lot of puzzles that I wouldn’t even consider doing as situation
puzzles (such as the infamous “12 balls” problem). Still, it does have one
or two nice situation puzzles in it. Warning: these are not lateral
thinking puzzles in the sense in which I use that term — each puzzle has a
definite correct answer, and creativity and sideways leaps of logic aren’t
rewarded unless they result in that answer. Cover price $US 4.95; should be
available or orderable from most bookstores in the US.
Sloane, Paul, and Des MacHale, Intriguing Lateral Thinking
Puzzles (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.). ISBN 0-8069-4252-5. Also
in the series: Challenging Lateral Thinking Puzzles,
Great Lateral Thinking Puzzles, Test Your Lateral
Thinking IQ, and Improve Your Lateral Thinking.
Weintraub, Richard, and Krieger, Richard, Beyond the Easy
Answer: exploring new perspectives through creative problem-solving
games (1979: Zenger Publications, Inc., Gateway Station 802, Culver
City, CA 90230). ISBN 0-934508-00-3. Contains a variety of puzzles and
games, most of which aren’t really situation puzzles (and many of which are
in the rec.puzzles archives), plus some creativity games. Out of print.