The Independent Mind Olympics

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The Independent Culture
Forget Atlanta - for you are under starter's orders for the Independent Mind Olympics. Each weekday for the next three weeks we shall challenge you with five puzzles. Send in a correct set of answers to all five and you will be entered for our prize draw. We've teamed up with Waterstone's to give away some superb prizes: Each week, one entrant will win pounds 100 worth of Waterstone's book vouchers. At the end of the entire event, all correct entries will have another chance to win the grand prize of the 21-volume Macmillan Family Encyclopaedia (worth pounds 525). Remember, you need only solve one day's puzzles to have a chance of winning the prize.

When you have solved all five puzzles, send the answers to: Mind Olympics (Day One), the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL to arrive not later than 29 July.

1 Unscramble each of these phrases:

OPAL TOWER

BABEL TALKS

HIT CASTLE

NINE BATTLES

2 A newspaperman was witness to a jailbreak. He rang up and gave his story quickly down the line just in time to catch the late edition. When he bought a copy to read the story, to his horror he found that it said that the convict had escaped by boat, when in fact he distinctly remembered telling his paper he'd escaped by other means and on land. When he had thought about it a little he traced the misunderstanding to a single phrase he had used in describing how the man had made his getaway. Can you suggest what it might have been?

3 The 6-digit number 2*3*7* is divisible without remainder by both 27 and 37. Replace the asterisks with the appropriate missing digits.

4 Find a word such that if you remove the first letter and the last letter you are left with one more than the number of letters you started with.

5 On Dr Schadenfreude's desk at his clinic in Wassollesbedeutenville he has a paperweight of the general form shown (right). Being obsessive, he cannot even think about sorting out your psychological problems until he has answered the far more pressing question: how many faces, edges and corners has it?

Questions set by Maslanka

Illustration by Mike Harrington.

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"I used to think the only use for it (sport) was to give small boys something else to kick besides me." Katharine Whitehorn, 'Observations'

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