An Anthology of Famous Last Words
Salvador Dali’s enigmatic parting question, ‘Where is my clock?’; Louis B Meyer’s gloomy conclusion, ‘It wasn’t worth it’; Hegel’s final, impenetrable comment, ‘Only one man ever understood me, and he didn’t understand me’... The last words of 200 famous men and women, together with notes on their deaths, are gathered here in five chapters on Hedonists, Optimists, Pragmatists, Visionaries and those who delivered a Parting Shot.
The Great Houdini's Puzzle Vault
A Collection of Mystifying Puzzles Inspired by The Astounding Escapologist
The great Hungarian-American magician Harry Houdini won his reputation for making seemingly impossible escapes and undertaking baffling feats of endurance or agility. This illustrated puzzle book presents conundrums and teasers inspired by his work, and describes many of his most famous tricks (such as the flooded tank escape, the bullet catch and the milk-can escape), providing explanations of how he did them in the solutions section.
Mensa Logic Brainteasers
Over 150 Diverse Logic Puzzles
Logic puzzles require no specialist knowledge, just the ability to follow a line of reasoning, step by step, to its ultimate conclusion. This selection of more than 150 brain-teasers ranges from verbal and mathematical riddles to visual conundrums that test your spatial reasoning as well as your powers of logic.
The Puzzler's Dilemma
From the Lighthouse of Alexandria to Monty Hall, a Fresh Look at Classic Conundrums of Logic, Mathematics, and Life
‘A man is found hanging in a locked room with no furniture and a puddle of water under his feet. What happened?’ From ancient Greek paradoxes to the role of probability in television game shows (via the Rubik’s Cube, chess problems and crosswords) this entertaining book illustrates eleven classic types of logic puzzle, tells the stories behind their creation and shows how to go about solving them.
And Other Grammatical Grumbles
Greengrocers are not alone, even PhDs can misuse apostrophes: these ‘little things’ cause more problems in the English language than any other element of grammar. By going back to the roots of the language and understanding why we use apostrophes, Patrick Notchtree promises that ‘all will be made clear’, and he presents the ‘One Easy Rule’ that will point the way to apostrophe mastery.
The O Level Book
O levels were taken in Britain between 1951 and 1988 and are often considered by the people who took them to have been much harder than the GCSEs that replaced them. Whether this is true or not can be put to the test by studying this book, which collates sample questions from O level exams set between 1955 and 1959 in English, Maths, History, Geography, General Science, Music and Household Cookery.
Teddy Bears, Tupperware and Sweet Fanny Adams
How the Names Became the Words
As you lie on the davenport in your cardigan, eating garibaldi biscuits, do you ever consider how people's names become words we use in everyday English? From Achilles to Zeppelin, this entertaining book investigates both familiar and unusual eponyms and describes the stories behind them. At last, we meet the man who gave the world the Hoover, the farmer responsible for macadamia nuts (John Macadam), and Dr Salmon, immortalized in salmonella.
Back to Basics
The Education You Wish You'd Had
All of us from time to time are tortured by forgetting simple facts that we learned long ago, or are made aware of glaring – and potentially embarrassing – gaps in our knowledge. If you still have to think about the grocer's apostrophe or can't remember your irregular French verbs, then this book will remind you of the basic English, Maths, Science, History, French and Geography that we were all taught at school.
The Illustrated Book of Prayer
Poems, Prayers and Thoughts for Every Day
Arranged by theme – Thanks and Praise, Love and Forgiveness, Children's Prayers and Strength and Healing – this anthology includes prayers by churchmen and poets, hymns, psalms, and words from the Bible, including Daniel's Blessing and the Magnificat. The book is illustrated with a wonderfully varied collection of paintings on religious themes, with Botticelli's The Virgin and Child on the cover.
A Cornucopia of Puns, Anagrams and Other Curiosities of the English Language
Taking English speakers' most frequently used greetings as his starting point, Gyles Brandreth embarks on an entertaining journey through nonsense words, cryptic crosswords, spoonerisms, malapropisms, famous last words and candidates for the world's most powerful word – 'love', 'freedom' or 'money'? In this audio version, the book's text alternates with clips from the master raconteur's Word Power stage show, recorded live at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe. Unabridged.
Infographic Guide to Sports
Serena Williams may be all conquering in women's tennis but as one of the colourful graphics in this book points out, she has not yet managed to surpass Monica Seles in the volume of her grunting. This entertaining volume presents 80 amusing artworks analysing aspects of different sports, from a diagrammatic plan of the Ali shuffle to the 35 designs of Olympic torch between Berlin 1936 and Sochi 2012.
How to Sound Cultured
Covering the cultural figures you feel you ought to know about, but don't – Sappho, Talleyrand, JK Galbraith etc – this book concisely describes the achievements of 250 people whose names are frequently dropped in intellectual discourse. Arranged by attribute, under headings such as Hermits, Stinkers and Militant Atheists, this is an informative guide to the peaks and troughs (such as mistaking Rimbaud for Rambo) of clever conversation.
Skyscrapers, Hemlines and the Eddie Murphy Rule
What is the difference between Murphy’s Law and Sod’s Law? Why is the Pooh-Pooh Theory implausible? Will we fall victim to the Skyscraper Index? In chapters on everything from politics and economics to scuba diving, Philip Gooden sets out informal laws, unwritten rules and theories, and reveals their origins, the people responsible and what they mean – unless they are as inexplicable as Herblock’s Law: If it’s good, they’ll stop making it.
The Alan Turing Codebreaker's Puzzle Book
This collection of unusual puzzles challenges the reader not only to find solutions but, in the spirit of computing pioneer Alan Turing’s methodology, to tease out the rules of the puzzles themselves. The puzzles, which mainly involve words and letters, increase in difficulty as the book progresses, but cryptic titles and numerous optional hints (listed in a separate section) lead codebreakers step by step to solutions catalogued at the back.
I Before E (Except After C)
OId-School Ways to Remember Stuff
Judy Parkinson’s collection of mnemonics includes rhymes, acronyms and curious phrases such as 'My Very Exotic Mistress Just Served Us Noodles’ (order of the planets): all of them learning devices for subjects ranging from spelling to the periodic table (the latter sung to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's 'I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General').
As Easy as Pi
Stuff about Numbers that isn't (just) Maths
Numbers are all-pervasive in our world; Pythagoras even said they rule the universe. This guide to the numbers of everyday life explains how they influence our religion, myth, fiction and linguistic idioms, why some numbers are considered lucky or unlucky, how they are exploited in games and scams, and their vital role in the realms of mathematics and science.
Crack the Code
In four progressively more difficult chapters – Amusements, Diversions, Challenges, and Enigmas – Dr Gareth Moore presents over 200 puzzles, including codes to break, conundrums, several types of Sudoku and unusual vocabulary games. The puzzles range from simple to mystifying, but there is another twist – the instructions range from explicit to mere suggestions of how to proceed. Solutions are at the back.
Mensa Riddles and Conundrums
Over 100 Games and Puzzles to Sharpen Your Wits and Challenge Your Intelligence
Devised by Mensa, the high IQ society, this set contains the boards and pieces for chess and solitaire, tangram, pentominoes, the matchstick game and jailbreak, as well as a 72-page book of brain benders, cryptic crosswords and rules for the games. This diverse collection of over 100 puzzles and games will exercise your brain for weeks, but you don’t need a massive IQ: we are assured that logical thinking and persistence will prevail. Boxed set.
Solve it Like Sherlock
Stewart Ross invites readers to test their powers of reasoning against those of the world’s most famous detective. The first part of the book sets out the stories of 25 ‘newly discovered’ cases and, from the evidence they contain, we must unravel the mystery; the second part explains how Holmes correctly interpreted the facts to solve 24 of the 25 cases.
The World's Most Difficult Quiz 2
More King William's College General Knowledge Papers
What garden evokes manual pallor? Where does the gold fin not wink? Who or what is pit-pit? Since 1904, pupils of King William's College on the Isle of Man have been sent home for the Christmas holidays with a fiendish quiz. Its popularity led to its publication first in The Times and, from 1951, in the Guardian. This book presents 30 sets of 180 questions dating from the 1920s to 1980s (pre-Google!).
Edgar Allen Poe's Puzzles From Beyond the Grave
Cryptic Conundrums From the World and Works of the Gothic Genius
Puzzle over this collection of 89 ingenious enigmas, riddles, ciphers and logic problems as you venture into the world of Poe’s macabre tales and poems. Some are from the mind of the master himself – such as the cryptic question ‘What must you do to a tea table to make it fit to consume?’ – while others are inspired by situations found in his stories of detection and Gothic horror. Solutions are provided in case human ingenuity fails.
The Writing on the Wall
100 Iconic Blue Plaques Commemorating Britain's History
Across Britain, blue plaques on houses record the notable people who lived there: writers, artists, musicians, actors, sportsmen and women, scientists, politicians and social reformers. In this celebration of individual achievement, Mike Read, who helped create a series of plaques for BBC Music Day in 2017, presents 100 of these memorials. Each entry tells the story of the personality commemorated, from David Bowie to William Shakespeare, and contains an often surprising link to the next featured plaque.
Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pyjamas
Popular Expressions – What They Mean and Where We Got Them
In this book from the Blackboard reference series, Judy Parkinson, author of I Before E (Except After C), presents an A-Z of popular expressions, their meanings and origins. With quotations from sources and anecdotes, she explains the facts - and sometimes theories - behind every saying, including who Methuselah was, how and why people were 'sold down the river' and the Shakespearean source of 'It's all Greek to me'.
Words of a Feather
An Etymological Exploration of Astonishing Word Pairs
Rooting out etymological links between words that, at first glance, appear to have nothing to do with each other, Graeme Donald unearths much more than simple definitions: an investigation of ‘Achieve’ and ‘Handkerchief’ starts with Roman gladiators and ends with the introduction of snuff; ‘Cockpit’ and ‘Cocktail’ encompass ship’s surgeons in wooden warships and horse-racing; while ‘Panties’ and ‘Pantechnicon’ takes us back to 303 CE and the martyrdom of St Pantaleon.