New York Times: The Lost Puzzles
By Garth Sundem | December 7th 2010 05:00 AM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

Garth Sundem is a Science, Math and general Geek Culture writer, TED speaker, and author of books including Brain Trust: 93 Top Scientists Dish the...

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Did you get visit here after quickly vanquishing my puzzles in this morning's New York Times Science section? If so, you're likely ready for a new challenge.

Below are the puzzles the Times cut — because they're too darn tricky or perhaps because the first gently pokes fun at the sacred cow that is Mariano Rivera. But they're certainly not too tricky for you, gentle reader.

No, no, if  you've made it this far, they're right up your alley.

The Lost Puzzles:

1. Imagine a pitcher—we'll call him Marion Rivers—who has only two pitches, a fastball and a cutter. Overall, he's got a 1.93 ERA with the cutter and a 2.89 ERA with the fastball. Now imagine a slugger who has an on-base percentage of .345 averaged across cutters and an OBP of .312 when facing fastballs.

If it takes an average of 2.35 hitters reaching base to score a run and all myriad else is equal, what pitch should Rivers throw this batter?

2. If I tell you that I have two children, both born in October, and at least one a boy born on a day whose date contains at least one "1", then what is the probability that both my children are boys?

Thanks to Stanford prof and NPR "Math Guy" Keith Devlin for a conversation a couple weeks ago that put probability back on my front burner. He's got a great post at his Devlin's Angle column about a puzzle similar to my October birthday problem (and deep puzzlers will notice the similarity to Martin Gardner's original).

I'll post answers tomorrow. But for now, suffer you suckers!

Ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaa…(evil laugh).

Still reading? Gee, you are a glutton for puzzle punishment. If your fix isn't yet fixed check out

the smattering of goodies in my newest book, Brain Candy: Science, Puzzles,