Blog Post #132: More Muffins for Michail!, Part I β™₯😊😊β™₯

Dear Readers,

Given that my wife, Jenny, and my son, Michael, and I all love good films, I offer you the following fun puzzle…

Nice photo taken by Jenny last Friday β™₯😊😊β™₯

Remove just one particular letter from FUN FILMS and then rearrange the remaining 7 letters to make a proper 7-letter English word. There is only one, unique solution, but I’m confident that you’re going to find it!

This past Monday, during lunchtime at Musica Mundi School, Michail (a Bulgarian student) and I laughed as he put a chunky chocolate muffin on his tray when I told him that I had solved a Maths puzzle involving muffins earlier that very same day!

On the left, the very nice Noetic Learning picture shows that
a 190-gram mass is balanced by one muffin & one banana,
while on the right we see that one banana is balanced by one muffin & a 20-gram mass.

My brand-new, fun puzzle for you (still based on the data in the above picture, though) is this: Imagine emptying the left and right pans of a balance scale, and then putting only bananas in the left pan, and only muffins in the right pan. How many bananas and how many muffins should be used so that the scale will be perfectly balanced? (Assume that the pans are large enough to accommodate all the goodies that are needed to do the job!!)

It’s possible to figure out the smallest number of bananas and muffins that will be required without even calculating their actual masses!

I’m always really pleased when students, colleagues, and other readers enjoy the puzzles and happily send me their best solutions, so please do feel free!

I hope you figure out the muffins like Michail…otherwise you might go bananas!!!😊😊😊

It’s my intention to give answers in a Part II sequel to this post β™₯

but before I sign off today, I would like to share a neat chess puzzle with you…

The puzzle is to locate White’s invisible knight somewhere on the f-file
and show how White can then force checkmate in 3 moves,
but not in 2 moves, due to the knight’s precise location.
My family and I wish everyone lots of love and, as a further wee bonus puzzle,
can you deduce whether the photo here was taken just before the one up at the top of this article, or just after that one!? β™₯😊😊β™₯

With kindest wishes as always,

Paul M😊twani β™₯

Corinthians 16:14 “Do everything in love.”


As another extra bonus, replace the letters FF in MUFFINS with CIA, and then rearrange the resulting 8 letters to make a proper 8-letter English word.

Magical Musician β™₯

Puzzle Solutions (being posted now on 29 September 2022)

If we remove the letter L from FUN FILMS, the remaining letters can be rearranged to make MUFFINS 😊

Imagine doubling up the left-hand scale to see that
*380g would be balanced by 2 muffins + 2 bananas.*

Now multiply the contents of the right-hand scale by 19 to see that

19 bananas would balance 380g + 19 muffins.

Next, use the ** result above to deduce that

19 bananas would balance 2 muffins + 2 bananas + 19 muffins

or 19 bananas would balance 2 bananas + 21 muffins.

Finally, subtract two bananas from each side

(which thereby still maintains balance) to get that

17 bananas would balance 21 muffins, and we didn’t even need to know the individual masses of either a banana or a muffin!

In the chess puzzle, it’s true that a white knight on f5 would enable 1 Rxg7+ Kf8 2 Rh8#, but that’s too quick in this puzzle!!

Instead, put a white knight on f7, and then we get to finish beautifully with 1 Rh8+!! Bxh8 2 Nh6+ Kf8 3 Rf7#, a lovely checkmate! β™₯😊β™₯

In the sneaky photos puzzle, we see that the gentleman wearing the red sweater has reached the shop by the end, and so that photo was taken moments after the earlier one. (He didn’t do something else just to trick all of us!!! 😊)

MUFFINS – FF + CIA leads to MUSICIAN β™₯

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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