A kind reader of this blog has located a copy of Disney's Jabberwocky for me to buy. It costs 1 cent in USA and over ?17 in the UK - about $34. So what's the moral of that?

I wanted to write a bit more about secret jokes and mathematical curiosities in Carroll. There's a bit where Alice does some crazy multiplying: "four times five is twelve and four times six is thirteen and four times seven is - oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate!"

Carroll's counting each calculation on a different base here (and mischievously using different bases on each side of each equation). So 4 x 5 equals 12 on base 18, 4 x 6 = 13 on base 21, and so on. It goes all the way up to 4 x 12 = 19 (on base 39). And sure enough, Alice never CAN get to twenty by continuing this way. Because 4 x 13 = 20 does not work on base 42.

....which leads onto the mysterious number of 42. The number 42 seemed to have a special significance for Carroll. It appears throughout his works, often in heavy disguise. Some people who are mathematically inclined like to track down the 42's. Carroll's puzzles and acrostics show the same devious intellect at work. Here's one of his Puzzles from Wonderland - very easy and aimed at children, apparently. The answer will be on my Links page (see menu) although it may not appear immediately.

"A stick I found that weighed two pound
I sawed it up one day
In pieces eight of equal weight
How much did each piece weigh?
(Everybody says "A quarter of a pound" which is wrong)