The Charles Dickens Christmas Book
Every Christmas, eight married couples make a point to meet to enjoy
the season. Each year they pick a topic and exchange a book based
on the topic.
This year the Book Club chose Charles Dickens.
Each couple purchased a famous Dickens Book
ahead of time. At the party, they drew a name from a hat to
see which couple would receive their gift book.
Please note that not only does each couple
share the same last name,
each couple also has the same type of employment.
In addition, each couple shares a favorite
hobby as well as a favorite color.
These are obviously the best matched couples of all time!
After a review of the facts, match up the eight husbands and eight
wives to their last name. In the process, identify their style of
employment, their favorite hobby,
and their color preference.
In addition, try to identify which Dickens Book each couple gave as
a present and to which book they received in
a great puzzle, but it is also a toughie. Don't try it unless
you want a challenge.
Dickens Book Club List:
1. Elizabeth Darby and her husband work as Researchers.
2. The book Hard Times was purchased by a couple who
like to play chess and love the color orange.
3. Mike and his wife Susan like the color crimson.
4. Gary Torres and his wife Harriet like the color ivory.
5. Janet Keeler and her husband work as Editors and they like to
work jigsaw puzzles.
6. David and his wife Ann were given the book David
7. Thomas and his wife like the color purple and purchased the book
Tale of Two Cities.
8. Teresa and her husband Richard work as Writers.
9. The Christmas Carol was given to the couple who
like to solve crossword puzzles.
10. The Faget couple work as Surgeons and purchased the book
11. Mr. and Mrs. Arevalo are both Policemen who received the book
12. Bobby and his wife like the color jade.
13. Gwen Easton and her husband like the color indigo.
14. Danny and his wife bought the book Great Expectations
and they play volleyball in their spare time.
15. One couple purchased the book Pickwick Papers and
received the book Tale of Two Cities.
16. The couple who solve Sudoku puzzles also love the color
17. The College Professors were given the book Pickwick Papers
as their present.
18. The couple who work as Programmers like to solve logic puzzles.
19. Anita and her husband are master bridge players who purchased
the book David Copperfield.
20. Anita and her husband received the book that Mr. and Mrs. Archer
21. Anthony and his wife like the color sky blue and were given the
book Oliver Twist.
22. Mr. and Mrs. Leung work as High School Teachers.
23. Oliver Twist was purchased by a couple who play
Can you find out everything about everyone from these clues?
If so, you are one bright puzzle solver!!
To check your answers,
email them to Rick Archer at
So what does Rick have to say about the Dickens
Book Club Puzzle?
Written by Rick Archer
an extremely tough puzzle for me!! In fact,
it gave me more trouble than any puzzle I have ever
worked before. That said, now that I rewrote a
clue or two, it should be easier for everyone else to
solve. I got rid of the ambiguity.
December 2009, a
gentleman from Egypt named Ahmed ran across my other "Dickens
on the Internet. Since English is not his native
language, he asked me to interpret one of the clues.
Whatever I said must have helped because a day later the
correct answer showed up in my email box.
reminded of a puzzle he had worked, so he sent me the
Book Club puzzle above
that gave me so much trouble. I definitely didn't do
I think the puzzle scared the
Dickens out of me!
In an odd
twist of fate (Charles Dickens would have been proud!) I was so
stuck I had to ask Ahmed for interpretation on his
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2009 1:58 PM
Subject: From Ahmed
Good luck with the Book Club
Puzzle, I know you will do it.
Today, I started with your puzzle
I liked it! And I learned
about the kinds of dances you must teach.
my best regards, ahmed
Sent: Mon, December 7, 2009 8:41:16 PM
Subject: RE: From Ahmed
I hate to let you down,
but I was unable to lick the Book Club puzzle you sent me. I
put in easily 7 hours and was reduced to guessing. Very
Too many variables and not enough "inspiration" on my part;
I was making progress, but just ran out of steam.
Out of curiosity, how did you do
with the Book Club puzzle?
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 2:57 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: book club
Dear Rick, This puzzle is
not more difficult than ( who owns the fish ) puzzle, but
you are busy in mind. Maybe
many things inside you made you not concentrating, even if
you stayed long.
I never try a puzzle
unless I am happy, have a coffee,
cigarette ( Merit ) and slow music ( paul mauriat, richard
I shoot a bullet, and leave it,
next day, another bullet, until the puzzle is killed.
Sent: Tue, December 8, 2009 9:16:00 PM
Subject: RE: From Ahmed
Okay, Ahmed, Thanks to your encouragement, I made
another stab today… and came up empty again.
I made some progress, but
was left with about 7 "EITHER-OR" situations… I tried
working backwards with educated guesses and that didn't work
either…. Too many variables. I think I would have been
forced to make three right guesses in a
row to solve it this way. One
in Eight is pretty far-fetched.
Yes, eventually I would have gotten it, but my self-esteem
would not have benefitted even if I
succeeded. This technique is sort of like going to
the end of a maze and walking backwards! Not very rewarding.
I do have a question, Ahmed. Here are some examples. I
assumed that each couple could borrow more than one book.
Since there were six specific
"borrow" clues, I think if I could assume that each couple
could only borrow ONE BOOK, that might give me the
information I am missing.
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 3:47 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: From Ahmed
My dear Rick,
Yes, each man and his wife came with one books to give, and took (
borrowed ) another different one.
you are completely going
right.., I know you will do it.., now start shooting to kill!
I attached my answer to you,
have you seen it ??
We are different in the way of going through, I never go through
with assumptions. I start with facts, then trying to find the hidden
facts logically, until I have additional new clues to complete the
picture. I never use ( either-or ) unless
near the end.
I started this puzzle by trying from the clues to bind the names of
each couple, and it worked and get more clues.
Then I went to the jobs and exclude probabilities with the
help of car type and color.
If you say that this puzzle has many variables, so you are going to
kill me ( ha ha ha ha ha ha laughing )
because the new one which I sent to you in my last Email have more
Please find attached one of my
favourite music. my best
regards to you and your family.
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 8:32 AM
Subject: book club
Ahmed, you will be pleased to know I have finally solved the
Book Club puzzle. I
succeeded on my Fifth Try. This puzzle marks the
most work I have ever put into a logic puzzle in my life by
a huge margin, possibly 20 hours!
In my defense, my demise in the beginning
was related to a poorly written clue.
"Eight married couples meet
to lend one another some books."
The key words are "some
PLURAL which means they can lend several books to
each person. This misunderstanding doomed my first two
Once you clarified that it was one book per person, that
added in the missing feature which allowed me to start to
make more connections on my third try.
One problem that doomed me in my third try was the gigantic
"Truth Grid" I had created… you know what I mean…. where you
put in "X" sideways and up and down for each incorrect
answer until one possibility remains and that is your
correct answer. Thanks to all the variables, my grid was
enormous. The grid was so big that I spent half my time
scrolling across my computer trying futilely to find a way
to make the intuitive leaps that solve the puzzle. No luck
That is when I accidentally stumbled on using a new
technique. I wrote down every clue in a table: 23 rows (23
sentences) and 8 columns for the variables. I did it to make
it easier to see the clues, but to my surprise in this
simplified form I made an immediate discovery: That
one couple could only
have one possible surname. I had
completely missed that using my previous strategy. I was
excited to discover this table could probably be used as a
new way to solve the puzzle.
However my downfall
was impatience. Even though my new technique was superior, I
had lost my patience in my first two attempts.
I was in such a hurry to be done with my nemesis that I made
several errors in my third try.
My fourth try went much better, but I made one mistake on a
very subtle point. This doomed me.
Determined, I went back for a fifth try and was successful.
On the bright side, I learned a new and powerful way to
solve logic puzzles. In addition, it was a pretty cool
puzzle once I started making progress.
On the dark side, I can't say the puzzle was particularly
good for my self-esteem. And I sure wasted a lot of time
with all my charts and dead ends.
Nevertheless, I prevailed in the end. It
has been a while since I ran up against a test of my will
power, but I was determined to see it through. Thanks
to your encouragement, I persevered.
All's well that ends well. Thank
you for encouraging me to continue.