Exercising The Cranial Integuments

If a thing is made of chocolate, comes from Switzerland, and is shaped like unto a roll, could it reasonably be anything other than a chocolate swiss roll?

So asks Atahualpa Tompkins in his runaway bestseller Mind-Bending Brain-Teasers For The Cranial Integuments, a collection of hundreds of equally diverting thought experiments. It’s a fat book, as fat as the Bible, but not black like the Bible. In fact its cover comes in a variety of hues, shades of Tompkins’ own devising, created from pigments unutterable.

Another of his food-and-drink-based quizzums is:

If it looks like an egg, and has its own nog, why is it not an egg nog?

The best way to read this book is one question at a time. I found, in foolishly trying to read a whole page-worth of queries at one sitting, that my brain overheated and vapours hissed out of my ears and I had to go and lie flat on my back in a pitch black room, pitch black like the Bible, for umpteen hours. “Umpteen”, incidentally, is a number that crops up umpteen times in the book, for example in this brain-teaser:

If a he-man tosses umpteen medicine balls into a waiting bin, how big must the bin be to gather unto itself all those umpteen medicine balls tossed into it by the he-man?

You can see what I mean about the overheating and the vapours and the lying flat on one’s back and the pitch black and the Bible.

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