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It's nearly Christmas and something terrible has happened: one of Santa's five helpers—Bob Luey, Jo Ranger, Meg Reeny, Fred Metcalfe, and Kip Urples—has stolen all the presents during the North Pole's annual Sevenstival. You need to find the culprit before Christmas is ruined for everyone.
Every year in late November, Santa is called away from the North Pole for a ten hour meeting in which a judgemental group of elders decide who has been good and who has been naughty. While Santa is away, it is traditional for his helpers celebrate Sevenstival. Sevenstival gets its name from the requirement that every helper must take part in exactly seven activities during the celebration; this year's available activities were billiards, curling, having lunch, solving maths puzzles, table tennis, skiing, chess, climbing and ice skating.
Each activity must be completed in one solid block: it is forbidden to spend some time doing an activity, take a break to do something else then return to the first activity. This year's Sevenstival took place between 0:00 and 10:00 (North Pole standard time).
During this year's Sevenstival, one of Santa's helpers spent the time for one of their seven activities stealing all the presents from Santa's workshop. Santa's helpers have 24 pieces of information to give to you, but the culprit is going to lie about everything in an attempt to confuse you, so be careful who you trust.
Behind each day (except Christmas Day), there is a puzzle with a three-digit answer. Each of these answers forms part of a fact that one of the helpers tells you. You must work out who the culprit is and between which times the theft took place.
Ten randomly selected people who solve all the puzzles and submit their answers to the logic puzzle using the form behind the door on the 25th will win prizes!
The winners will be randomly chosen from all those who submit their answers before the end of 2018. Each day's puzzle (and the entry form on Christmas Day) will be available from 5:00am GMT. But as the winners will be selected randomly, there's no need to get up at 5am on Christmas Day to enter!
You can find more infomation about this competition, in this blog post.
My most recent blog post is Christmas card 2018. Other highlights of the blog include:
New puzzles are posted on many Sundays, with answers posted on Monday. The most recent collection is Sunday Afternoon Maths LXVI.
Some of my favourite puzzles are:
Every December, I post an Advent calendar full of puzzles. You can view the puzzles from the 2017 calendar here. You can view this year's Advent calendar by scrolling up.
Who am I?
I am Matthew Scroggs. I like maths.
I have a Master's degree in mathematics from Oxford University. I am currently studying for a PhD in maths at UCL, where I work on finite element methods and boundary element methods. As part of my PhD work, I develop the open source boundary element method library Bempp. Between Oxford and UCL, I worked as a maths teacher in a secondary school. You can find more about my work on the academic page.
You can regularly find me at London MathsJam (second last Tuesday of the month), the MathsJam Gathering (yearly) and EMF Camp (every two years). I write the crossnumber (as Humbug), puzzles and articles for Chalkdust Magazine. For more non-work related articles and talks, see the talks page.
If you would like to reuse any of my content, please get in touch.