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™₯

Blog Post #131: A Beautiful Double Discovery β™₯😊😊β™₯

Dear Readers,

The beautiful Musica Mundi School in Waterloo, Belgium (where I work as the Mathematics teacher) has been blessed now with many lovely new students and staff members as the school begins its fifth year, so far. As every person in the whole school family tries to give the very best of himself/herself, we can all learn so many good things from each other. With that thought in mind, I believe that, in a special sense, every person at Musica Mundi School can say honestly, “I teach at MMS!” (with regard to himself/herself personally). What makes that all the more beautiful for me is that it can be rearranged to make “Mathematics!”

I made that delightful discovery just earlier this year, around the time when I turned 60 in June. Only yesterday, though, God gave me a fresh gift which is similar in a way to the “Mathematics!” one, but is even much more important…

Continue reading “Blog Post #131: A Beautiful Double Discovery β™₯😊😊β™₯”

Blog Post #130: British Senior (Over 50) Chess Champions and Unforgettable Friends β™₯☺β™₯

Dear Readers,

I am delighted to have won the British Senior (Over 50) Chess Championship jointly with Chris Duncan and Philip Crocker at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay.

Philip Crocker and me, joint winners of the British Senior (Over 50) Chess Championship (with Chris Duncan who had to leave a bit earlier). Afterwards, Philip and I had a happy interview with WIM Natasha Regan and GM Matthew Sadler, friends of mine from long ago. This British Championship was a very precious event, not only for getting to enjoy good chess, but also for seeing dear old friends again and making many new ones. I would like to thank all the organisers, arbiters, players and Chessable (the principal sponsor) for a most memorable event β™₯☺β™₯.
Continue reading “Blog Post #130: British Senior (Over 50) Chess Champions and Unforgettable Friends β™₯☺β™₯”

Blog Post #129: Happy Rainbows β™₯😊😊β™₯

Dear Readers,

Thinking back more than 40 years to my high-school days in Dundee, Scotland, one of my jolly friends there was nicknamed ‘Happy’, and that’s exactly how he has always been to me and, I believe, to everyone who knows him. I received a very kind message from ‘Happy’ last month when I turned 60, and he sent another lovely message to wish Jenny and myself a happy 27th wedding anniversary yesterday β™₯😊😊β™₯

Jenny & Paul’s Wedding Day, 27 years ago β™₯😊😊β™₯

One of my favourite, beautiful word facts is that I was born makes rainbows, and now I like to think of S.M.I.L.E.S. as standing for Sixty May I Love Everyone Sincerely. A couple of my favourite sayings are, “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours” and “Your smile is a signature of God on your face.”

Photo of Paul taken by Jenny yesterday evening inside our favourite Kinepolis cinema!😊

Smiles could be seen everywhere at Musica Mundi School last week, as the leaders, teachers, staff, students, parents and many other dedicated supporters helped the school to complete its fourth wonderful year, so far.

I have a fresh puzzle for you, inspired by the nice photo below…

Paul with two great colleagues and a super student at Musica Mundi School 😊😊😊😊

Imagine that the four of us in the photo are thinking of positive whole numbers with the following special properties:-

The two ladies are thinking of the same number as each other;

the student is thinking of the largest number of any of us;

my number is the exact average (or ‘arithmetic mean’) of all of our numbers;

and now the most revealing, key fact: the sum obtained by adding up the four numbers exactly equals the product obtained by multiplying the four numbers together!

Your fun challenge is to figure out exactly what numbers each of the four of us must be thinking of to fit the wee ‘Maths st😊ry’.

The magical photo below by Erika Sziva encourages good, deep thinking…

A magical moment captured beautifully in this photo by Erika Sziva β™₯😊β™₯

In between my 60th birthday and 27th wedding anniversary, Jenny and I went for a weekend to celebrate with friends living in a Dutch village with the perfect name: it’s called Best! Our dear friends there are literally NEAR, as their names are Nico, Erika, Alex & Robert 😊😊😊😊

Nico gave me a T-shirt with some amazingly creative mathematical expressions printed on it!

60th birthday T-shirt to Paul from Nico β™₯😊β™₯

Erika and Robert now have two terrific chess sites. Their first one is

and, since February 2022, they’re also running

Robert and Erika’s sites are a treasure trove for chess boards, pieces, books, computers, software and delightful gift items such as chess socks, T-shirts, ties, cufflinks, pin badges, bracelets, keyrings and USB storage in the form of a chess king. You’ll also find some goodies relating to the game of draughts. Robert (an IT expert) & Erika (a WGM=Woman Chess Grandmaster) are renowned for their very fast, efficient and friendly service.

Let’s round off this article with a lovely chess puzzle.

Place an invisible white knight somewhere on the board so that it will
then be White to play and force checkmate in four moves β™₯😊😊β™₯

The most important thing I have learned in my life is that God loves us all.

I wish you a very happy day now.

Paul M😊twani β™₯ xxx

P.S. = Puzzle Solutions

In the number puzzle, 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 = 8 = 1 x 1 x 2 x 4.

The ladies thought of 1; the student thought of 4; I thought of 2.

In the chess puzzle, white’s invisible knight is NOT on c5, because then checkmate could be forced too quickly with 1 Qe6+ Ke8 2 Qg8#;

rather, the invisible knight is on g7, which leads to

The forced checkmate in 4 moves is 1 Qe6+ Kf8 2 Nh5+ Ke8 3 Nf6+ Kd8 4 Qg8# β™₯

Blog Post #127: For Anuurai, a lovely lady whom I’ve never met!

Dear Readers,

In some ways, this particular article is one of the most unusual and special ones that I have ever had the pleasure of writing 😊! As I’m due to turn 60 on June 13, and my blog site here should have its 5th anniversary the day before then, I had originally thought that I might write something to celebrate those two occasions together. However, tonight I suddenly realised that a lovely lady whom I’ve never met will be 33 later this year on a date that is so unique that it deserves to be celebrated here, several months in advance!! You see, I always endeavour to live in this way: if something good can be done right now, I like to do it without delay, because I never assume that the chance will definitely come again later.

Anuurai, a lovely lady whom I’ve never met,
is a good friend of Keith, a long-time English Chess Grandmaster
friend of mine who sent me the very nice photo 😊!


  1. I will tell you that Anuurai’s birthday occurs A days before 31 December.
  2. Also, Anuurai’s birthday actually occurs well before December!
  3. The number of days from 31 December 2022 until Anuurai’s birthday next year is A x S, where S is a secret whole number that I am thinking of.

Believe it or not, you now have sufficient information given above to be able to figure out Anuurai’s exact date of birth, and the secret number S that I am also thinking of 😊!

I wish you lots of enjoyment with the fun brainteaser about Anuurai, and I intend to publish the solution before I turn 60 !! (Though I could publish a solution right now, in this special instance I have decided to wait a wee bit for people who’d like to try the puzzle without risking seeing any answers too soon down below.)

With very best wishes as always,

Paul M😊twani β™₯

P.S. My wife, Jenny, and my son, Michael, and I would all like to wish a really happy birthday to AndrΓ©e, a good friend of ours who’s turned 5 x 9 + 5 + 9 = 59 today β™₯😊β™₯

A is for Anuurai, AndrΓ©e…& All of us β™₯😊β™₯


Rearrange the letters of ANDREE to make a proper six-letter English word.

Congratulations in advance for finding a solution.

If you find two solutions, then you surely deserve an extra-large piece of the cake!

Finding three solutions would equal the world record!!!

It’s my intention to post answers to Anuurai’s birthday brainteaser and AndrΓ©e’s word puzzle together, before my 60th birthday 😊

Dear Friends,

It’s now 13 June 2022 and I have turned 60, very happily 😊

One of the special treats that Jenny and I loved was seeing AndrΓ©e during the past weekend. AndrΓ©e has a gift for finding good words, and so she would spot quickly that ANDREE can rearrange to ENDEAR or EARNED or NEARED.

It was also a lovely surprise to hear from Anuurai today 😊

Congratulations to all readers who figured out that Anuurai was born on 19 October 1989. Her October 19 birthday is 73 days before 31 December, and 31 December is 4 x 73 = 292 days before the next 19 October (when there’s no leap year 29 February in between). This puzzle made good use of the fact that the normal whole number of days in a complete year is 365 = 5 x 73.

Blog Post #126: For Rooney, Claire, Sheila, Cansu, Jonathan, Erika, Robert, AndrΓ©e & other dear friends: may you all have very happy memories, birthdays or anniversaries this May β™₯😊β™₯

Dear Readers,

I would like to begin by offering, with most sincere sympathy, kind thoughts and prayers for Rooney, a friend whose sister, Gina, passed on a couple of days ago. I know (from similar personal experiences involving loved ones) that God can grant us gentle comfort through positive, happy memories of the precious times shared with people so close to us. I also believe that we will meet again later in a perfect place that God has prepared for us.

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels,
and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
Matthew 16:27

Knowing the lovely tradition of dedicating the month of May to Our Lady, Mary, this is a perfect time to recall the following prayer:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.

Holy Mary Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death

Our Lady Mary’s beautiful month of May β™₯
Continue reading “Blog Post #126: For Rooney, Claire, Sheila, Cansu, Jonathan, Erika, Robert, AndrΓ©e & other dear friends: may you all have very happy memories, birthdays or anniversaries this May β™₯😊β™₯”

Blog Post #125: Happy Easter and happy birthday, Super Sigurd β™₯

Dear Readers,

My family and I would like to wish everyone a very happy Easter and, particularly for young Super Sigurd, a really happy birthday today, too β™₯

Happy birthday to Super Sigurd, the youngest of three children
in a lovely Norwegian family that are dear friends of mine β™₯

Vilja, Ask-Johannes and Sigurd all love puzzles, and today we’ve got a full feast for them β™₯

We’re sending love and big hugs to you β™₯β™₯β™₯
If you’re on top form, you’ll breeze through today’s brainteasers! 😊😊😊

SUPER Word Puzzle!

‘SUPER’ is quite a special word because if we repeat any one of its five letters, we can, in each case, rearrange the resulting letters to make proper six-letter English words.

For example, SUPERR can be rearranged to make PURSER.

Your fun word puzzle is to rearrange each of






to make proper six-letter English words.

SUPER Number Puzzles!!

The number puzzles will involve a special focus on the decimal number 14.4, in honour of Super Sigurd’s birthday on 14 April today β™₯

Let’s also quickly check, here in Blog Post #125, that everyone is comfortable with the mathematical meanings of ‘cube root’ and ‘square root’.

The square root of 25 is 5 because 5 x 5 = 25.

The cube root of 125 is 5 because 5 x 5 x 5 = 125.

  1. I am now thinking of a specific whole number, N. It’s the day number in November of Vilja’s birthday. It’s also the age that Ask-Johannes will be on his birthday this year. Remarkably, the cube root of (14.4 x N) is a whole number. Exactly what number is N ?

2. I am now thinking of another specific whole number, S. It’s the last two digits of the year in which Super Sigurd was born. Remarkably, the square root of (14.4 x S) is the new age that Sigurd is on his birthday today! Exactly what number is S ?

SUPER Chess Puzzle!

As Sigurd’s favourite number is 4, enjoy solving the following chess puzzle in which it’s White to play and force checkmate in 4 moves.

It’s White to play and force checkmate in 4 moves.

I will round off by again wishing everyone a very happy Easter β™₯β™₯β™₯

With kindest wishes as always,

Paul Motwani xxx

P.S. = Puzzle Solutions!





  1. N = 15. Then 14.4 x N = 14.4 x 15 = 216, and the cube root is the whole number 6 because 6 x 6 x 6 = 216.
  2. S = 10. Then 14.4 x S = 14.4 x 10 = 144, and the square root is the whole number 12 because 12 x 12 = 144. Super Sigurd was born on 14.4.2010 and is now 12 today. Happy birthday again, dear Sigurd β™₯

In the chess puzzle, White forces mate with 1 Rxe8+ Kh7 2 h5! gxh5 3 g6+ Kh6 4 Rh8#.

If Black instead promotes either the c-pawn or the d-pawn at move 2 in the line given above, then White responds with 3 hxg6#, checkmate!

Blog Post #124: Peaceful Ways β™₯

Dear Readers,

I wanted to share a couple of Bible verses which are short yet remain always extremely important and helpful.

During her life on Earth, my mother’s many very precious gifts to me included two books about Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), who was canonised as St. Teresa of Calcutta in 2016. The following image is one of my absolute favourites.

“Peace begins with a smile.”
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

For me, the peacefulness and beauty that I also find in puzzles featuring Chess, Mathematics or gentle words, for example, make them all interesting and appealing, too.


From the word GENTLE, remove two letters which are a standard abbreviation for ‘for example’. Use the remaining four letters to make a proper 4-letter English word which is timely now.

Lent is a perfect time to become more peaceful for good β™₯


Happy Birthday, Natasha! β™₯

To celebrate the birthday today of Natasha, a friend of mine, I offer this puzzle here in Blog Post #124: If I calculate the sum of Natasha’s new age now and her age n years ago, then multiply by n, the final result is 124.

What is Natasha’s age now, and what is the value of the whole number n?


Composed by A.Wotawa; White is to play and win


I am imagining five Queen Anne’s…

Anne I

Anne II

Anne III

Anne IV

Anne V

Which particular one holds the key to where the Musica Mundi School leaders and students have gone on a 4-day school trip?

Peaceful Beauty β™₯

Wishing everyone more peace and love,

Paul Motwani xxx

P.S. = Puzzle Solutions!

  1. Remove e.g. from ‘gentle’ and rearrange the remaining letters to make LENT.
  2. n=2. Two years ago, Natasha was 30; today she’s 32. The unique solution is (32 + 30) x 2 = 124.
  3. The main line of the chess puzzle goes 1 Re3 b2 2 Bf5 gxf5 3 Rb5 Rxb5 4 Re6!! fxe6 5 g6 e1=Q 6 g7+ Kh7 7 g8=Q+Kh6 8 Qg7#, checkmate!
  4. If Anne IV turns around, we see that she’s in VIENNA! β™₯
Dove of Peace and Love β™₯

Blog Post #123: A Wish Come True β™₯

Dear Readers,

If I didn’t actually know the name of the remarkable boy in the photo below, then I might need a very large dose of luck to guess his name correctly, or I might just need to ask! A funny thing is that, if you simply remove the repeated letters in LUCK ASK, you’ll find the nice name directly β™₯

A unique puzzle is coming in honour of Lucas 😊

Exactly two weeks ago, Lucas (the son of Laetitia, one of the great chefs at Musica Mundi School) came up to me at lunchtime to specially tell me that he loves Maths β™₯

Every day since then, I have been pondering many ideas for creating a unique puzzle in honour of Lucas…and here today the wish is happily coming true 😊

The puzzle goes like this…I am thinking of three different one-digit whole numbers which are not all odd! The smallest one is Lucas’ favourite number; the largest one is Lucas’ age; the other number is one that I have a close bond with.

If I multiply the three numbers together, the result is a three-digit palindromic number which reads the same from left to right or from right to left.

Your fun challenge is to figure out Lucas’ age, his favourite number, and my mystery number!

I intend to publish the answers within a couple of weeks from now, and in the meantime I wish you lots of happiness in all that you do β™₯

With kindest wishes as always,

Paul M😊twani xxx

P.S. = Puzzle Solution!

Lucas is 9, his favourite number is 4, and my mystery number was 7.

9 x 4 x 7 = 252, an even palindromic number.

Blog Post #122: A Lamp and a Light β™₯

Dear Readers,

As a nice, wee warm-up challenge, rearrange the letters of the plural word ‘LAMPS’ to make a singular word. Congratulations for getting ‘PSALM’, and you may like to know that that little puzzle–and indeed this article–was inspired by the beautiful Bible Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” No matter what answers I might be looking for, they are always to be found in God’s perfect Word within The Bible.

I am due to turn 60 later this year, while one of my sisters has her birthday today. What total should we get if we add her new age now to the two-digit number located at the end of the (four-digit) year when she was born?

You could rightly assume that my sister was born in a 20th century year and then, no matter which year I mean, its two-digit end part + my sister’s age now will always give 122, perfect for today’s blog post 😊.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful happy birthday, dear little sister xxx β™₯
White and Black each have one invisible minor piece,
of the same type, located somewhere on the d-file.
Then, it’s either Black to move and force checkmate in two moves,
or it’s White to move and force checkmate in three moves.
This delightful chess puzzle is from a real game that was played in 2012 😊.

Have fun solving it…before checking answers…

just down below!

Black wins with 1…Qxf2+ 2 Kh1 Qg1# or

White wins with 1 Rf7+ Kg8 2 Re7+! K moves 3 Rcxe8#, checkmate!

I would like to round off now by wishing everyone a very happy weekend.

With kindest wishes as always,

Paul M😊twani xxx

Psalm 119:105–“Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”