Still wondering what this title means???

I can see the wry smile on your face telling me “No Big Brainer Dude!”
I know how easily you would have cracked this word Jumble. But, how many of you ever wondered why the “Jumble” was arranged this way? Well! There’s a reason for everything. I never thought I would carry this as a blog title when I was solving this “lateral thinking” (the one where you are supposed to think out of the box) puzzle a couple of months back.

The title indeed is “Backward Glance” and not just “Glance”!

I believe it is more difficult to frame a puzzle than solve one. Note the use of word “frame” rather than create. Language plays an important role in encoding the clues (both wanted and unwanted) that lead to the cipher (solution in our case). Dexterous encoding creates “intended” diversions and confusion to the reader. But remember the cipher is lying there to be discovered “beneath” framed layers of clues (information). We normally tend to leverage just our innate X-Ray vision (a.k.a. pragmatic mind) to look for the cipher “through” these layers of clues rather than giving a “Backward Glance” (Slide these layers aside and directly look at the cipher beneath) at it.

Let’s try to decode the title:
Real Clues:

  • It is a “simple/easy” Jumble (credit to my intuition or IQ)
  • The Jumble is arranged directly by “writing the word backward” (this is the most important clue which a pragmatic mind tend to overlook)


  • It is “just” a Jumble (blame it on my egoistic IQ)

See, it works! There’s no harm in taking a backward glance at the problem when you feel you have reached a solution. This “Out of the Box” approach sometimes helps unearth the vital clues that lead to the right solution. I will try to illustrate this further by taking on these two famous puzzles. Well! I have given you the most important clue by now.

Please see if you can crack it with a “Backward Glance” before attempting a “Forward Glance” at my take.

1. The Bicycle Thief

Here is a little tangle that is perpetually cropping up in various guises. A cyclist bought a bicycle for £15 and gave in payment a cheque for £25. The seller went to a neighbouring shopkeeper and got him to change the cheque for him, and the cyclist, having received his £10 change, mounted the machine and disappeared. The cheque proved to be valueless, and the salesman was requested by his neighbour to refund the amount he had received. To do this, he was compelled to borrow the £25 from a friend, as the cyclist forgot to leave his address, and could not be found. Now, as the bicycle cost the salesman £11, how much money did he lose altogether? (Courtesy: Amusements In Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney)

:: My Take on IT ::

The entire problem ingeniously encoded beautifully boils down to:
Real Clues:

  • The cheque provided by the thief was “valueless”
  • The Real cost of the bicycle to the salesman was £11.00
  • The money that the salesman gave to the thief was £10.00 (as change)


  • All other information

:: The equation is very straightforward now! The total loss for the salesman was £21.00 (£11.00 + £10.00)! ::

2. The Missing Dollar

Three people are eating at a restaurant. The waiter gives them the bill, which totals up to $30. The three people decide to share the expense equally ($10 each), rather than figure out how much each really owes. The waiter gives the bill and the $30 to the manager, who sees that they have been overcharged. The real amount should be $25. He gives the waiter five $1 bills to return to the customers, with the restaurant’s apologies. But, the waiter is a dishonest man. He puts $2 in his pocket, and returns $3 to the customers. Now, each of the three customers has paid $9, for a total of $27. Add the $2 that the waiter has stolen, and you get $29. But, the original bill was $30. What happened to the missing dollar? (Courtesy: Jim Loy)

:: My Take on IT ::

The entire problem ingeniously encoded beautifully boils down to:
Real Clues:

  • The Actual Bill was $25.00
  • The 3 people spend altogether $27.00 ($30.00 – $3.00)
  • And the waiter took $2.00


  • All other information

:: The equation ($27.00 – $2.00 = $25.00) is very straightforward now! There is no case of any missing dollar here! ::

Never underestimate the power of A Backward Glance!