The Riddles of the Sphinx

David J. Bodycombe

For a certain headspace, crosswords, Sudoku and other daily puzzles offer a way to take the brain out for a morning constitutional, working out with the gray matter. There’s even a school of thought that such workouts actually are beneficial to one’s mental health, even acting as a deterrent against fading memory (or even Alzheimer’s). Here, our mind-aerobics teacher David Bodycombe presents a compilation that explores the backstory on our favorite teasers and puzzlers, offering up more than 1,000 examples of new and old games, while profiling the geniuses and obsessives who felt compelled to create such activities. Did you know that the ostensibly Japanese number game Sudoku was actually created by a Swiss mathematician back in 1783? Or that a crossword printed in a British newspaper helped win World War II? Casually compelling and entertaining in its own right, The Riddle of the Sphinx is a neat little volume that may lure you into yet even more ways to idle away a certain part of your day.