Blog Post #50: A Myriad of Miracles

Dear Readers,

Not only at Christmas time, but every beautiful day, our world is still blessed by so many of God’s miracles that the word myriad is appropriate in recognising how countless they are.

Since the end of August, I have been particularly grateful for witnessing amazing concerts at Musica Mundi School in Waterloo, Belgium, where I love being the Mathematics teacher for the terrific students.

Three days ago, I had the pleasure of giving a “Magic Maths Show” for everyone’s enjoyment at the school. One of the early puzzles is shown in the following picture, here for you to enjoy trying too!


Solutions will be given further down.


Why did the elves just write NOË at Christmas time…?

It’s because they heard Santa singing, “No L, no L!”

The show also included a wee dose of chess for enthusiasts such as Alexandra, the youngest student at the school.

If we change the last letter of MYRIAD from a D to an M, we get the name MYRIAM. I am thinking of a friend of my wife and myself, and her birthday is coming soon.


When exactly in January is Myriam’s birthday? It is this number of days from now: the total number of letters in MERRY CHRISTMAS, FRIENDS!



Myriam’s birthday is coming on 13 January, in 21 days from now.

Before then, I wish you all a wonderful, happy Christmas and New Year soon xxx

Author: Paul A. Motwani

My name is Paul Motwani, but my colleagues, my students and their parents mostly call me "Mr. Mo"! My middle initial, A, stands for Anthony, because I was born on the official feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of miracles and of lost souls. I love teaching Mathematics and Chess, and giving fun-packed talks and shows in schools and clubs. The popular ingredients of Math, Chess, Mystery and Magic are my "Fantastic Four", and I give prizes too! I am an International Chess Grandmaster, and (loooooong ago!) I was the World Under-17 Champion. I am the author of five published chess books and hundreds of newspaper articles. I live with my wonderful wife and son in Belgium. I also love music, movies and puzzles. I blog at My e-mail address is You can find me on Facebook, too.

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