The Wine Purchase

March 18th, 2018

Mr. Jones and Mr. Barnsworth went to purchase some bottles of wine for their employer, Acme Wine Depot.

They went to Dufour Wineries Inc., as they had heard boasts of a fine selection of French wines there.

Mr. Jones and Mr. Barnsworth decided to select only two wine types, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bordeaux region in France.

They bought 90 bottles in total of these two types of wine.

While purchasing the wine at the Dufour Wineries Inc., Mr. Dufour invited them to sample several other wines for “future reference.”

After a bountiful sampling session with French cheese, all served by a jolie serveuse, Mr. Jones and Mr. Barnsworth managed to return home by taxi, but lost the invoice on the way.

Next day, fearful of reproach and penalties from the accountant at the Acme Wine Depot, they tried to reconstruct the purchase from a fuzzy memory.

Mr. Jones managed to remember that he had bought half as many Merlot and a third as many Cabernet Sauvignon as Mr. Barnsworth, for a total sum of 360 dollars. He also remembered that three bottles of Merlot cost as much as two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Before going to work that day, they proceeded with the painful process of working out how much Mr. Barnsworth had bought, and the full cost of their purchase.

Can you help them work out these figures?

The Personnel Assignment

February 28th, 2018

There are seven positions available at a renowned spa. Three must be filled by women and two by men, the remaining two positions by either men or women.

If there are ten women and four men applying for the positions, in how many ways can the positions be filled?

The Flower Bouquet

February 27th, 2018

Inspired by Valentine’s Day, Jason decided to give his sweetheart Mary a different bouquet of flowers every week for a year to show how much he loved and appreciated her.

Jason went to the only florist shop in the village, Finebloom’s Flower Boutique, where he discovered that due to the village’s remote location there would only be four different kinds of flowers available for a year, namely roses, lilies, violets and bluebells.

Jason wanted to have five flowers in each bouquet as this was his lucky number – no matter if some or all of the flowers were of the same kind.

Jason wondered if he would be able to deliver a different bouquet of flowers to his sweetheart Mary each week, but decided to take a chance that it would all work out.

Supplied by Finebloom’s Flower Boutique, do you think Jason would be able to give a different bouquet of flowers to his sweetheart Mary each week for a year?

The Twin Birth Rate

February 26th, 2018

“Did you know that seven pairs of twins are born on average at each of the hospitals in Brownville?” said security guard Barney Coxworth to Hank Burnside, the janitor of the Belleview Hospital.

“Naw, had no idea, Barney. Why is that important?” said Hank, steering his mop bucket into a corner to listen further.

“Well, Hank, I’ll bet you 100 dollars that during the coming month there will be no week at any of the five hospitals in Brownville during which twins are born consecutively on each day of any week,” said Barney.

“Barney, if seven pairs of twins are born every week at each of the five hospitals in Brownville, I figure the stork might just decide to arrive every day now and then.”

“Right you are, Hank.”

“Only makes common sense, Barney,” said Hank,“ so I’ll take you up on your bet.

“With a hundred dollars I could buy a pair of shoes,” said Hank.

“Ok, let’s spit and shake on it and see how it goes, Hank,” said Barney with a poker face.

I wonder who you think will win the bet, and why?

The Strange Number Pair

February 21st, 2018

One evening, Jack found Jill sitting at a café table with her attention riveted on a small, well-worn and water-logged ship’s logbook in her hand.

“What’s up, Jill,” he said cheerfully. “You look puzzled.”

“I really am, Jack. My great uncle drowned recently when his sailboat sank in the Aegean Sea near Skiathos, and I’m trying to make sense of a message he wrote in his logbook before sinking regarding my inheritance. They found it floating with him in the sea,” said Jill.

She gestured for Jack to sit down, calling for the waitress to bring a coffee.

“Sorry about your great uncle, Jill. What’s the message?” asked Jack, sitting down.

“It says I have to go to the SchwitzerliBank in Zurich to obtain my inheritance, but I need to give them a special code number to receive it,” said Jill in frustration, pulling on a black hair lock.

“And what’s the number?” asked Jack, preparing his coffee with a spoon.

“Well, that’s the problem. It’s in some kind of code,” said Jill with a baffled look on her face.

“Explain, please,” said Jack, taking a careful sip of his hot coffee.

“On this page my great uncle says:

‘Move the last to the first of the six, then find the four greater twin and use it,’”

said Jill, “which doesn’t make any sense to me,” she groaned, randomly flipping the pages of the logbook.

“Hmm, that really is a mouthful,” said Jack. “Seems your great uncle didn’t want to advertise the number.”

“No joke. Got any ideas?” Jill looked up at Jack with big green eyes full of hope.

After thinking a while on the strange statement, Jack suddenly got an idea.

“You have to give a number to the SchwitzerliBank in Zurich to get your inheritance, right? Maybe this is a six-digit number,” said Jack.

“Could be you are right, but what about ‘…move the last to the first of the six’?”

“Hey, maybe the word ‘twin’ means another number derived from the first,” said Jack enthusiastically.

“In this case you get it by moving the last digit to the first position.”

“Yea, that really makes sense. But what about the ‘four greater’ part?”

“Seems the second number is four times greater than the first, and since it says ‘use the twin’ I would guess this is the number to present to the bank,” said Jack.

“Good thinking, Jack. But how do we work out what the twin number is?”

“Well, I’m taking a course in Number Theory and I’m sure I can work it out. So, what will you give me in return,” said Jack with a roguish grin.

‘How about dinner at your favorite Hindu restaurant – followed by some dessert,” said Jill demurely.

“Deal! Give me a pen and a piece of paper, Jill.”

What would you say the number Jill had to give to the SchwitzerliBank in Zurich was?

The Opera Tickets

January 30th, 2018

Sam Finkelstein bought some tickets for Puccini’s opera La Bohème starring the famous diva Lorelei von Morgenstern to sell them at a profit when tickets were scarce as Saturday approached.

He bought 100 tickets, balcony box seats at 120 dollars, some good seats in the middle of the hall at fifty dollars and some normal seats at 25 dollars.

Can you work out how many tickets of each type Sam Finkelstein bought?

Jewelry Shopping

January 27th, 2018

Miss Frilly Donahue went to do some shopping for jewelry as she wanted to expand her collection. Frilly had just bought a fancy new multi-level jewelry box with a large mirror.

Miss Frilly Donahue went to the Kasbah where her attention was caught by the expansive jewelry shop of Mustafa ben Asheesh, in which all sorts of fancy items were displayed.

Frilly saw twenty pairs of lovely earrings, ten exciting necklaces and fifteen exquisite armbands she liked. Miss Donahue also spotted six enticing combo sets of earrings and necklaces, seven breathtaking combo units of necklaces and armbands, and ten dazzling combo groups of earrings, necklaces and armbands.

Frilly was looking for the perfect earring, necklace and armband combination as she would be attending the Avant Garde Designer’s Ball in a week, and wanted to make a stunning entrance.

Mustafa ben Asheesh noticed her indecision and the extensive selection of jewelry she had selected for perusal. As it was 1 pm, he advised Frilly Donahue that he would be closing the shop at five pm.

It seems that Frilly did not hear him.

If Frilly Donahue used five seconds to examine each way of selecting an earring, necklace and armband, how long did she need to check them all out?

Did she make it before the shop closed?

The Egg Dozens

January 22nd, 2018

Mr. Jones, the math teacher, was told by his wife Molly to go to farmer Elmer Sudd’s grocery store to buy some eggs as she wanted to bake a cake for their son Seymour’s birthday.

Mr. Jones puttered out of the house in his loafers and headed for Elmer Sudd’s store by the farm.

“Mr. Sudd, do you have some eggs for sale,” inquired Mr. Jones politely, adjusting his thick-lensed glasses on his bulky nose.

“Mr. Jones, you flunked my son Homer in math. That’s why he didn’t graduate from high school this year,” growled farmer Sudd, fixing Mr. Jones with beady eyes.

Mr. Jones shuffled uncomfortably in front of the shop counter and began polishing his glasses with great concentration, checking the level of polish against the ceiling light every now and then.

“Yes, well… that was very unfortunate,” stammered Mr. Jones, “but your son Homer got all the problems wrong on the final exam, and spilled ink on my shirt – so I had no choice,” he apologized.

“But, please, do you have any eggs for sale?” repeated Mr. Jones. “My wife will be very angry if I show up without any eggs for the cake which she is baking for my son Seymour’s birthday,” appealed Mr. Jones.

“Is that so, Mr. Jones. I do have some eggs and you can have them if you can solve a problem I read in Reader’s Digest that should be simple for a math teacher,” said farmer Sudd with malicious grin.

“Very well, what’s this problem?” inquired Mr. Jones timidly.

“The product of the eight divisors of the number of eggs I have is 331776,” said farmer Sudd with a smile twisted halfway to his ear.

“If you can tell me how many dozen eggs I have, I will sell them to you for a premium price, Mr. Jones, so you can make your wife happy.”

Mr. Jones stopped polishing his glasses, pulled out a Casio calculator and tapped the keys ten times, after which he announced the correct dozen of eggs to farmer Sudd.

“Hmmm… Homer, get ready, I’m sending you to summer school to learn math,” announced farmer Sudd to Homer skulking in a corner.

Can you work out how many dozen eggs farmer Sudd had?

The Very Large Book

January 7th, 2018

A publisher issued a very large book and was told that the printer had used 6699 symbols for the page numbers, including 13 pages with Roman numerals in the front matter of the book.

Can you work out how many pages there were in the book?

The Fibonacci Demo

December 30th, 2017

“You lose again, Lenny“ sneered Snipe after his loaded dice turned up another seven on the green felt table mat.

“Now you owe me a hundred dollars. Hand it over now,” demanded Snipe, hand extended.

“Well. . . seems you have had an extraordinary streak of luck, Snipe,” replied Lenny, raising an eyebrow while handing over a Franklin note.

“To show I’m not a bad loser, how about a bet for two hundred bucks this time?” suggested Lenny.

“What kind of a bet,” said Snipe suspiciously, eyes narrowing while he pocketed the Franklin note.

“Well, it goes like this, Snipe. You think of two numbers. Then I ask you to manipulate the numbers some times, after which I tell you the result,” explained Lenny.

“You mean, I don’t tell you what the numbers I think of and manipulate are? said an incredulous Snipe.

“That’s right,” said Lenny with a mischievous smile.

“You’re on, and you’ll lose again,” laughed Snipe.

Lenny pulled out a pocket calculator, a yellow notepad and a pen from his backpack and placed them on the table in front of a surprised Snipe.

“Here you go, Snipe. You just think of two numbers and get ready to write down all the results, so we can check them later, if necessary,” explained Lenny.

“I’ve already got two numbers in mind,” said Snipe, eyeing some cars passing by.

“Then add them together,” instructed Lenny.

“No problem, “ replied Snipe, noting the sum with his pad well hidden from view.

“Now add one of the two numbers you first thought of to the sum you just got,” continued Lenny.

“Done, no sweat.” Snipe was already anticipating the two hundred dollars he would soon win.

“To the new sum, add the last sum.”


“To the new sum, add the last sum,” said Lenny.

“Ok, how long will this continue,” complained Snipe with a bored expression on his face.

“To the new sum, add the last sum,” said Lenny.

“You sound like a parrot.”

“To the new sum, add the last sum,” said Lenny.

“Come on. I don’t have all day.” Snipe was getting irritated.

“To the new sum, add the last sum,” said Lenny.

“Ok, the last time or the bet’s off,” threatened Snipe.

“Now divide the last sum you have by the previous sum,” said Lenny.

“Good enough,” said Snipe.

“Multiply the result by ten and strike out the fractional part,” said Lenny.

“Ok, and now what?”

“Now I’ll tell you what the number you have left is, and if I am right, you lose the bet,” said Lenny.

“No way you can know it. Go ahead, tell me the wrong number.”

“The number you have left is sixteen. Show me your notepad results,” demanded Lenny.

A surprised Snipe handed over the notepad.

“Rats, I don’t believe it!! Tell me how it works.” said Snipe mouth agape.

“Pay up the two hundred dollars and I’ll give you some advice,” said Lenny.

Snipe handed over the two hundred dollars. “So what’s your advice,” said Snipe eagerly awaiting the advice.

“I won’t tell you how it works, because you’ll use it to make money from people ignorant of mathematics. My advice is to get some education and learn a useful profession,” said Lenny.

Snipe threw down the pen and stomped off in disgust.

Can you work out how Lenny knew the final result?