Monday, June 27, 2005

Petals Around the Rose

Petals Around the Rose is a tricksy little puzzle that has apparently been around for years, but I just heard about it so I'm passing it along. It's devilishly clever, or devilishly simple, depending on your point of view. It only took me a minute or so to crack, once I realized that the name of the game matters.

Once you solve it, head over to the Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose to register yourself as an uber-geek. While there, check out the story of how Bill Gates tackled the problem back in 1977.

Pull quote from the September/October, 1977 issue of Personal Computing:

The rotten kid [Gates] must have had two dozen rolls, with answers, committed to memory by the time this discussion came up. ("Kid," because he ordered a Shirley Temple at lunch one day just a few months ago, and drank it before the awestricken eyes of his tablemates, some of whom realised that they were at least twice Bill's age. He had taken leave of his undergraduate courses at Harvard to lead this little company, Microsoft, which is creating BASIC and FORTRAN, etc... interpreters and compilers for various microcomputers. No applications software in their product line yet, just system packages that are already making them famous and may at length make them rich. *Sigh.*)

* Thanks to Rick Carruth's Magic Bullets blog for the link. Carruth's blog covers "Magic and The Marketing of Magic," although he shares my tendency to stray over whatever interests him. Carruth also runs the Street Magic Bullets site, which includes the complete archives to the Magic Roadshow Journal of Magic. These are filled with great advice and ideas; well worth checking out if you're interested in working professionally as a magician.


jb said...

played this in college as a drinking game but the name of the game was different. "How many penguins are picking at the ice hole"

I figured it out before getting too drunk.

PeaceLove said...

Now THAT name might be a bit TOO revealing!