Pros: many cross sums in each issue, all math and logic all the time
Cons: only six issues per year
Sadly most people seem to think math is this horrid thing they have to live through in school so they can get to the rest of their lives. It doesn't have to be that way. Math can be invigorating, provide a real brain rush. It can also be fun.
Dell Math Puzzles and Logic Problems presents the fun side of math through a variety of games and puzzles. Published six times each year (in January, March, May, July, September, and November) the magazine is a mixture of these math puzzles and logic puzzles. Both types should appeal to the intellectuals among you, to those folks who like to exercise their brain even when a grade or promotion isn't on the line.
Each issue contains approximately 30 cross sums, 20-24 logic problems, 15-16 figure logics, and 2 sum logic puzzles as well as word arithmetics, math mazes, number kriss krosses and other puzzles. If you aren't familiar with these puzzles don't worry - almost all of them are easy to learn.
Cross sums are my favorite puzzles. They are essentially crossword puzzles with numbers instead of words. Rather than getting clues - definitions - that lead to words - a set patttern of letters - you get clues - the sum of all digits - that lead to numbers - a set pattern of digits. The cross sums get progressively harder as the magazine progresses. The first batch are generally no brainers. Devilishly difficult is not a misnomer for those near the end of each issue.
Most puzzle magazines include 2 or 4 cross sums. To me the biggest selling point of this magazine is the inclusion of so many cross sums. I can get logic problems and figure logics in other magazines but this is the only one that includes more than a handful of cross sums.
Most puzzle magazines include at least a few logic problems so if you've every picked up a puzzle magazine chances are you've seen at least one of these puzzles. Many schools also use them to help teach logic in math classes. Most logic problems have you match up of characteristics of different people, animals, places, etc. using a series of clues. Often solved using a grid, the puzzles are an exercise in logic and attention to detail. The puzzles in this magazine range from easy to fairly hard but the most difficult logic problems are not generally included here.
Figure logics are another math puzzle often found in general puzzle magazines but again this magazine includes a greater number of them than most. Figure logics are also crossword-like but instead of adding digits together they have more traditional clues and tend to be quite small. The clues build off of each other, requiring you to solve the puzzle in layers. Typical clue might be "12 down plus 22 across" or "one third of 18 across". You are usually given one or two answers outright (in the clue section not pre-written in the puzzle itself) and must determine which other clues build on those answers to unravel the puzzle. I've not noticed a wide variance in the difficulty of the figure logics throughout each issue - they tend to be hard and time consuming but fairly solvable puzzles from start to finish.
All of the puzzles are either math or logic puzzles. There are no crosswords, no diagramless puzzles, no word finds, nor any of the other myriad of puzzles you'd typically find in bulk in more standard puzzle magazines. Even though this is pretty clear from the magazine itself if you pay attention to its name, its cover, or even casually leaf through an issue, I've found this fails to register with some percentage of people. More than one person I've discussed this magazine with has come back to me later and indicated surprise that there were no crossword puzzles even though I made it clear not to expect any. I think some people just equate puzzle magazines with crossword puzzles and mentally shut off beyond that.
There are infrequent ads for an assortment of Dell puzzle magazines throughout each issue but no other advertising. Solutions to all of the puzzles are given at the end of the magazine. In addition, each cross sum has a hint consisting of the answer to one entry in the puzzle. Other than the ads and solutions the entire magazine is comprised of puzzles. The content-to-noise ratio of this magazine is extremely high.
One year subscriptions cost $19.95. In the past the cover price of the magazine was $3.50 an issue so a subscription offered little savings. However, the magazine was greatly expanded recently and now sells for $4.95 per issue. They haven't (yet) raised the subscription price resulting in a 33% discount from the new cover price. In the past I've recommended people not get a subscription but with the new pricing structure it's a good deal for anyone who wants 4-6 issues per year.
I mentioned that the magazine has been greatly expanded. In the past it had about 20 cross sums and 15 logic problems per issue and a similar smaller number of figure logics and other included puzzles. I really appreciate the additional puzzles.
If your puzzle love is logic problems, go for one of the several logic problem only magazines offered by Dell, Penny Press, and others. If you like math and want the chance to exercise your leanings in that direction I highly recommend Dell Math Puzzles and Logic Problems.