I HAVE LOST COUNT OF THE replies to the spider problem that have been received. For a week or so every mail has brought several, and it is interesting to note that most of the replies have been wrong. Several have been correct, and some have been accompanied by ingeniously constructed diagrams to illustrate the steps taken in the solution. Here is the problem again: A spider in the southeast corner of a room, on the floor, wishes to get to the northwest corner of the ceiling. The room is 12 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high. What is the shortest route between the two points, and what is the distance? It is understood that the spider must crawl in the usual manner, not leap or fly. For convenience it is assumed that the length of the room runs north and south. SUPPOSE THE WEST WALL to be hinged along the floor. Imagine that wall let down until it is the same horizontal plane with the floor. There will then be a rectangular figure measuring 12 feet in one direction and 8 plus 8, or 16 feet in the other. The spider is in one corner and his objective in the corner diagonally opposite. Then 12 x 12 equals 144; 16 x 16 equals 1256; 144 plus 256 equals 400, the square root of which is 20, the distance which the spider must crawl. With the wall in its proper position the spider will crawl across the floor to a point at the base of the west wall midway from each end and then diagonally to the desired point. The same result can be reached by crawling diagonally up the east wall to the midway point and then diagonally across the ceiling. These two routes are shorter than any other. MOST OF THE Correspondents used the same method but applied it to the end wall instead of the side wall. That gives a long, narrow rectangle, 20 x 8 feet, the diagonal of which is 21.5 plus. Curiously, having obtained that figure, they did not check with the other walls to see which route might be shorter. One correspondent, not noting carefully the dimensions of the room, has figured its length at 10 feet instead of 12. Like most of the others he sends the spider around the end of the room instead of using one side and either floor or ceiling. That makes form lose over a foot of distance. IT JUST HAPPENS THAT THE size and shape of the rectangle involved in reaching the correct solution of this problem are such that the answer can be reached without any knowledge of square root if one is familiar with the old 3, 4, 5 rule often employed by carpenters. A right-angled triangle with sides 3 and 4 feet long, respectively has a diagonal of 5 feet. Doubled, these figures are aften employed in squaring buildings and similar work. Doubled again they give 12, 16 and 20, the dimensions with which we deal in the spider problem. THE CODE USED IN THE first long division problem is, ""Don't Give Up."" In the second the code is ""Background."" Correct answers to both of these have been received from several correspondents. A FRIEND OF MINE TELLS of an incident which occurred while he was attending a convention in a distant city. A man of regular habits himself he rose at the customary time one morning and went down to breakfast. In the hotel lobby he was accosted by a man who, my friend says, was much drunker than any man should be so early in the morning. Approaching him unsteadily the stranger asked: ""Eshcuse me; are you drunk?"" ""Not yet,"" replied my friend. ""My mishtake,"" apologized the stranger. ""Mush be me. You're the third man that's denied it."" I HAVE AN INQUIRY FOR A poem entitled, ""The First Snow"" which I am unable to place. Does any reader know of it. I can't promise to publish it without seeing it, as space is limited, but if I can find it and it isn't too long I shall be glad to publish it. Otherwise I will notify the correspondent where it can be found. There is an old poem ""Beautiful Snow,"" once popular and often parodied, which is known everywhere by its title. I think my correspondent must have another poem in mind.

I HAVE LOST COUNT OF THE replies to the spider problem that have been received. For a week or so every mail has brought several, and it is interesting to note that most of the replies have been wrong. Several have been correct, and some have been accompanied by ingeniously constructed diagrams to illustrate the steps taken in the solution. Here is the problem again: A spider in the southeast corner of a room, on the floor, wishes to get to the northwest corner of the ceiling. The room is 12 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high. What is the shortest route between the two points, and what is the distance? It is understood that the spider must crawl in the usual manner, not leap or fly. For convenience it is assumed that the length of the room runs north and south. SUPPOSE THE WEST WALL to be hinged along the floor. Imagine that wall let down until it is the same horizontal plane with the floor. There will then be a rectangular figure measuring 12 feet in one direction and 8 plus 8, or 16 feet in the other. The spider is in one corner and his objective in the corner diagonally opposite. Then 12 x 12 equals 144; 16 x 16 equals 1256; 144 plus 256 equals 400, the square root of which is 20, the distance which the spider must crawl. With the wall in its proper position the spider will crawl across the floor to a point at the base of the west wall midway from each end and then diagonally to the desired point. The same result can be reached by crawling diagonally up the east wall to the midway point and then diagonally across the ceiling. These two routes are shorter than any other. MOST OF THE Correspondents used the same method but applied it to the end wall instead of the side wall. That gives a long, narrow rectangle, 20 x 8 feet, the diagonal of which is 21.5 plus. Curiously, having obtained that figure, they did not check with the other walls to see which route might be shorter. One correspondent, not noting carefully the dimensions of the room, has figured its length at 10 feet instead of 12. Like most of the others he sends the spider around the end of the room instead of using one side and either floor or ceiling. That makes form lose over a foot of distance. IT JUST HAPPENS THAT THE size and shape of the rectangle involved in reaching the correct solution of this problem are such that the answer can be reached without any knowledge of square root if one is familiar with the old 3, 4, 5 rule often employed by carpenters. A right-angled triangle with sides 3 and 4 feet long, respectively has a diagonal of 5 feet. Doubled, these figures are aften employed in squaring buildings and similar work. Doubled again they give 12, 16 and 20, the dimensions with which we deal in the spider problem. THE CODE USED IN THE first long division problem is, ""Don't Give Up."" In the second the code is ""Background."" Correct answers to both of these have been received from several correspondents. A FRIEND OF MINE TELLS of an incident which occurred while he was attending a convention in a distant city. A man of regular habits himself he rose at the customary time one morning and went down to breakfast. In the hotel lobby he was accosted by a man who, my friend says, was much drunker than any man should be so early in the morning. Approaching him unsteadily the stranger asked: ""Eshcuse me; are you drunk?"" ""Not yet,"" replied my friend. ""My mishtake,"" apologized the stranger. ""Mush be me. You're the third man that's denied it."" I HAVE AN INQUIRY FOR A poem entitled, ""The First Snow"" which I am unable to place. Does any reader know of it. I can't promise to publish it without seeing it, as space is limited, but if I can find it and it isn't too long I shall be glad to publish it. Otherwise I will notify the correspondent where it can be found. There is an old poem ""Beautiful Snow,"" once popular and often parodied, which is known everywhere by its title. I think my correspondent must have another poem in mind.