CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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Presumptive Conundrums

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September 20, 2018 (permalink)

Do the math!  From The Judge, 1921.
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August 18, 2018 (permalink)

Three hundred and fifty million flies killed in a single swat.  From the Bulletin of the Chicago School of Sanitary Instruction, 1912.
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August 17, 2018 (permalink)

From Le Journal Amusant, 1898.
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March 6, 2018 (permalink)

If you have trouble remembering what day it is, imagine living in the year 17 and fifteen sixteenths.  From An Account of a Surprizing Meteor, Seen in the Air, March the 6th, 17 15/16, at Night by William Whiston, 1716.

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January 25, 2018 (permalink)

"Just label it a queer puzzle, and put it away along with all the other queer puzzles."  From Furze the Cruel by John Trevena, 1908.
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January 20, 2018 (permalink)

A planchette reveals the mathematics of its own heart shape.  From The Survival of Man by Oliver Lodge, 1920.
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January 9, 2018 (permalink)

Doing the math.  From Life, 1920.
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December 14, 2017 (permalink)

Here's an occultist's figure of the number nine, from Letters from an Occult Student by Jane Oliphant Muscat, 1922.
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November 15, 2017 (permalink)

The first shall be last and the last shall be second, apparently.  A correction from the American Journal of Roentgenology, 1917.
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October 25, 2017 (permalink)

There's been talk of the "public face of mathematics," the "changing faces of mathematics," the "new face of mathematics," even the "other face of mathematics."  Here's the "human face of mathematics," from Popular Mechanics, 1927.
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October 12, 2017 (permalink)

"Then it did a graceful two-step, recited 'x2 + 2xy + y2,' and vanished onto the balcony."  From The Master of Mysteries by Gelett Burgess, 1912.
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October 5, 2017 (permalink)

How old were you "three seventh years two centuries ago"?  From A Reputed Changeling or Three Seventh Years Two Centuries Ago by Charlotte Mary Yonge, 1889.
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September 8, 2017 (permalink)

Follow the Little Pictures! by Alan Graham, 1920.
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August 10, 2017 (permalink)

"Can you make anything out of this combination of a weather-chart and a chess problem?"  From Pick Me Up, 1894.  See If a Chessman Were a Word: A Chess-Calvino Dictionary.
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June 27, 2017 (permalink)

We're honored that our research into Roman numerals for One-Letter Words: A Dictionary was cited in Introduction to Computer Data Representation by Peter Fenwick, 2014.
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June 12, 2017 (permalink)

Isn't it always the way?  My own paint question isn't covered in 739 Paint Questions Answered, 1904.
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May 16, 2017 (permalink)

During Daylight Saving Time, you set your bookmark one chapter ahead if you're reading The Thousand and One Quarters of an Hour by Thomas-Simon Gueullette, 1893.
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April 16, 2017 (permalink)

A mathematician finally understands the notion of infinity.  From Jugend, 1911.
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March 4, 2017 (permalink)

One equals 32, as we learn in a 1908 ad for Henkell Trocken.  We show how to prove such improbabilities in Presumptive Conundrums: Rhetorical Math Questions + Answers.
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Looks like midnight falls at nine o'clock.  From Die Muskete, 1916.
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