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Enigmas and puzzles

By Ian Stewart   June 2007

Colorado Smith batted away a war-axe as it spun past his left ear, and consulted a tattered leather-bound notebook.

“Only the Procession of a Hundred Sphinxes to traverse,” he said. “Then we can enter the temple of Beth-Shimmeroth and find the priceless emerald idol.”

“What do we have to do?” said his sidekick Brunnhilde, looking at the long line of crocodile-headed sphinxes arrayed in single file alongside the paved path that led to the temple.

“You have to run down the procession 100 times,” Smith explained, ducking a javelin, “while I keep the natives at bay. The first time,…

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