This week’s puzzle is not about gravity, though you’d be excused for suspecting as much. After all, when most people read “Isaac Newton” and “tree” in the same sentence, they think also of falling apples. But this week’s puzzle, which is widely attributed to Newton, is actually an exercise in orderly arboriculture.
Matchstick puzzles (aka toothpick puzzles) typically involve adding to, subtracting from, or rearranging an initial configuration of matchsticks to create another, target configuration of matchsticks. Some of these puzzles can get rather complicated. This matchstick puzzle is more straightforward than most, but…
Today's puzzle will be posed in two halves. The first half is a classic riddle – in fact, I suspect many of you will have heard it before. The second half, however, is an extension of the riddle that reveals its most common solution be be insufficient.