Puzzle Poems

Does anybody know any poems about puzzles or puzzle themes?

Please email me at puzzlecollector@hotmail.com .

The Gem Puzzle

Up and down,

Left and right

Almost done,

Never right.

One More Unfortunate.

She couldn't get the puzzle solved,

For lack of time-a minute,

And if you would avoid her fate,

Why, never you begin it.

Evening Gazette; Jervis Post, NY, March 11, 1880

Push, Brothers, Push

Push, brothers, push with care,

Push the 14 to the 15 square;

The 6 to the 7, and you've got it there;

The 10 to the 9, or you don't care where,

But the 15 and the 14 they will stick there.

Push, brothers, push with care

Till your minds are all a jumble and you tear your hair.

World; Utica Morning Herald, March 2, 1880.

The Gem Puzzle.

Full many a gem-the puzzle you have seen-

The dark, unfathomed caves of lying bare;

Full many a sorely puzzled wight, I ween,

Will lose his patience and will loudly swear.

But who, unto dumb foolishness a prey,

This pleasing, anxious puzzle e'er resigned

When he would lie, "I did it'other day,

But how, I cannot now quite bring to mind?"

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault

If never any one believe their tales:

You know full well they'd scarcely earn their salt

By puzzling o'er it till their reason fails.

No further seek their lying to upbraid.

Or ask them how they did the blasted thing;

The puzzle 't is that liars them has made,

The wicked swear-words to their lips does bring.

Boston Transcript, February 12, 1880.

HARTLEY'S Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty

sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had

a great fall.

All the King's horses

and all the King's men

couldn't put

Humpty Dumpty

together again.

Ark of the Covenant

Ron's puzzle comes with lots of perks,

But I don't know yet how it works.

I am sure I'll understand,

When I hold it in my hand.

I carved the angels for his box,

They move around as it unlocks.

Robert Yarger

The Ark of the Covenant holds many secrets, 24 in all,

solving this puzzle you will have a ball.

2394, a clue to opening up the door,

move wisely and you need move no more.

When you solve the mystery of the 10,

You will be rewarded from a spirit within.

Ron Locke

Old English Puzzle Jug

Try how to drink

and not to spill

And prove the utmost

of thy skill


Popular Portable Puzzles Proving

Positively Perplexing and Perpetually

Pleasing Posers Presenting Persistently

Provoking Problems Providing Profuse

Pleasure, and Producing a Palliative or

Placid Panacea to People Possessing a

Propensity for Persistence, Patience,

Perspicacity and Painstaking Propensities.

Octet in F

If one resorts to trial and error

Octet in F could be a terror

But four plus four in rhomboid tray

There ought to be a better way

To crack this nut more easily

Get in tune with symmetry

Stewart Coffin

Rubik's Cube

A Rubric on Rubik Cubics(1)

Strange imports come from Hungary:

Count Dracula, and ZsaZsa G.,

Now Erno Rubik’s Magic Cube

For PhD or country rube.

This fiendish clever engineer

ntrapped the music of the sphere.

It’s sphere on sphere in all 3D—

A kinematic symphony!

Ta! Ra! Ra! Boom De Ay!

One thousand bucks a day.

That’s Rubik’s cubic pay.

He drives a Chevrolet. (2)

Forty-three quintillion plus (3)

Problems Rubik posed for us.

Numbers of this awesome kind

Boggle even Sagan’s mind. (4)

Out with sex and violence,

In with calm intelligence.

Kubrick’s "Clockwork Orange"—no!

Rubik’s Magic Cube—Jawohl!

Ta! Ra! Ra! Boom De Ay!

Cu-bies in disarray?

First twist them that-a-way,

Then turn them this-a-way.

Respect your cube and keep it clean.

Lube your cube with Vaseline.

Beware the dreaded cubist’s thumb,

The callused hand and fingers numb. (5)

No borrower nor lender be.

Rude folks might switch two tabs on thee,

The most unkindest switch of all,

Into insolubility. (6)


The cruelest place to be. (7)

However you persist

Solutions don’t exist.

Cubemeisters follow Rubik’s camp—

There’s Bühler, Guy and Berlekamp;

John Conway leads a Cambridge pack

(And solves the cube behind his back!). (8)

All hail Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw,

A mayor with fast cubic draw.

Now Dave Singmaster wrote THE BOOK. (9)

One more we must not overlook—

Singmaster’s office-mate!

Programming potentate!

Alg’rithmic heavyweight!

Morwen B. Thistlethwaite!

Rubik’s groupies know their groups:

(That’s math, not rock, you nincompoops.)

Their squares and slices, tri-twist loops,

Plus mono-swaps and supergroups.

Now supergroups have smaller groups

Upon their backs to bite ‘em,

And smaller groups have smaller still,

Almost ad infinitum.

How many moves to solve?

How many sides revolve?

Fifty two for Thistlethwaite.

Even God needs ten and eight. (10)

The issue’s joined in steely grip:

Man’s mind against computer chip.

With theorems wrought by Conway’s eight

‘Gainst programs writ by Thistlethwait.

Can multibillion-neuron brains

Beat multimegabit machines?

The thrust of this theistic schism—

To ferret out God’s algorism!


He (hooked on


With great


Ta! Ra! Ra! Boom De Ay!

Men’s schemes gang aft agley.

Let’s cube our life away!

She: Long pause

(having been

here before):

—————OY VAY!

Claude E. Shannon, December 1, 1981.

(1) When T. S. Eliot published "The Waste Land" in 1922 with a wealth of footnotes,

there was considerable commotion among the critics—should a work of art stand

on its own feet or refer to such weighty tomes as The Golden Bough? We are with

Eliot and will freely use footnotes to clarify and amplify our meaning. First off, this

may be either read as a poem or sung to "Ta! Ra! Ra! Boom De Yay!" with an

eight-bar chorus).

(2). A little poetic license here—the Wall Street Journal, Sept. 23, 1981, reports

Rubik as receiving $30,000 a month from cubic royalties, but driving a "run-down

rattling Polski Fiat." This would neither scan nor rhyme as well as Chevrolet.

(3). There are 8! 12!/2 × 3^8/3 × 2^12/2 = 43252 00327 44898 56000 possible arrangements of the cube.

(4) If when Carl Sagan says "billions" he means about three billion, it would takes

billions and billions of "billions and billions" for forty-three quintillion plus.

(5) While not as debilitating as weaver’s bottom or hooker’s elbow, cubist’s thumb

can be both painful and frustrating. For more on these occupational ailments see

recent issues of The New England Journal of Medicine.

(6) A friend of mine, Pete, an expert cubist, told me of encountering a friend Bill at

a hobby shop. Bill gave Pete his cube, saying that he had been working for days

without success. After a few minutes, Pete turned it into a position where he could

see that two tabs had been interchanged.

Pete: Bill, somebody has switched two tabs on your cube.

Bill: That’s impossible. I’ve always carried it, or left it in my apartment, and nobody

has keys to get in there.

Pete: Nobody?

Bill: That’s right, nobody. Just me and my girlfriend.

(7) Especially in April.

(8) Actually, he peeks a little.

(9) Singmaster, David. Notes on Rubik’s Magic Cube, Enslow Publishers, Hillside, New Jersey 07205.

(10) In this "mano a mano" of Thistlethwaite and God, Thistlethwaite suffers (and

God gains) from the "mixing of quantifiers." What is known is that God’s minimum

for some positions is 18 moves, Thistlethwaite’s maximum for any position is 52.