The Christmas Gifts

August 31st, 2017

Fred and Mary were trying to work out how to give five gifts to their three boys for Christmas.

The kids, Henry, Mark and Joe, had told them they wanted to receive gifts more or less at random this year to see how the gifts would be distributed.

“We have five gifts to give to three children. How are we going to do this, Mary? There are so many possibilities it makes my brain spin,” said Fred in exasperation.

“Well, Fred, we have to make sure they all get at least one gift, so that makes it easier than the way you are thinking of, doesn’t it,” Mary said reassuringly.

“You’re right, Mary. The number of ways of giving the gifts so that our kids might not receive even one gift is quite large,” said Fred.

“Do it my way and the matter becomes more simple,” said Mary.

So Mary and Fred distributed the gifts as she suggested.

If they distributed the gifts Fred’s way what would be the probability that one or more of the kids received no gift?

The Pirate Gold

August 29th, 2017

A crew of pirates robbed a Spanish galleon off the coast of Crooked Island. Among the booty they found a chest full of gold coins.

The captain was killed during the battle, so to ensure a fair share the crew decided to immediately divide up the gold coins on a nearby uninhabited island before a new captain was chosen.

The 17 surviving pirates began distributing the coins into 17 piles on the beach, but three coins were left over. No agreement could be reached as to who would get the three coins, and, after a large amount of rum was consumed, fighting followed in which one of the pirates was killed.

The pirates then divided up the coins into new piles, but, alas, this time there were as much as ten coins left. With further violent discussions, more rum and fighting another pirate was killed.

The remaining crew set about to divide the gold coins of the chest into equal piles and this time they succeeded in obtaining an equal distribution, which, after opening another barrel of rum, they celebrated until they were spread about on the beach in a drunken stupor.

It turns out they had been observed by a small Dutch crew which had been marooned on the island after a terrible storm. This crew carried away the booty and sailed off while the pirates were sleeping off the rum.

Can you work out what the least number of gold coins in the treasure chest was?

The Die Game

August 24th, 2017

Jerry and Slick were sitting at a bar drinking beer and watching a championship football game being televised on the huge wall screen, a bowl of peanuts close at hand.

“Hey Jerry, want to play a game?” said Slick, taking a large sip of his cold beer.

“Sure, what’s it all about,” replied Jerry, munching on some peanuts while eyeing the curvy waitress.

“It’s really simple. I throw this die and if you throw a higher number, you win one point, otherwise I get the point,” explained Slick as he placed a large red die between the beer glasses on the green felt-covered bar counter.

“Let’s try it first, Slick,” said Jerry with a suspicious look.

Slick threw the red die and got a two. Then Jerry threw and got a three.

“Hmm, seems like a good game,” said Jerry with a sly smile.

“Glad you like it, Jerry. How about we play twenty rounds, or until the football game is over – point loser pays the bill?” said Slick.

“Fine by me,” replied Jerry, giving a loud cheer for a goal just made and snatching a handful of peanuts from the bowl.

Slick ordered some fast food and they rolled the die until the end of the football game.

Who do you figure paid the bill, and why?

The Family Ages

August 14th, 2017

Jack asked Fred “How old are your family members?”

“Ten years ago my father was twice my age and my mother’s age was a perfect number,” said Fred.

“That helps with your mother’s age, but I need more information about your father,” said Jack.

“No problem. The square of my father’s age is equal to the year he was born,” replied Fred.

“Ok, got it,” said Jack. “What about your brother and sister?”

“Ten years ago my sister Lara was the same age as my brother Nick is now. In two years my father will be half the age his father was when he died,” said Fred.

“Very interesting,” said Jack.

“My great grandfather told my father he would be reborn in a year equal to one quarter of a perfect number, which is when Nick’s turtle – that my great grandfather gave to my father newly hatched ten years before he died – will probably die,” said Fred.

“How nice, any more info?” said Jack.

“My sister Lara’s age is a divisor of the cross sum of the turtle’s present age,” said Fred.

“And what about your grandfather’s age?” asked Jack.

“When my father was born my grandfather was as old as half the sum of my mother’s age and that of my father’s ten years ago,” said Fred.

“Gee thanks, I’ll go and think about it,” said Jack and walked off.

What do you say are the ages of these family members, including the turtle.

The Army Sizes

July 30th, 2017

The generals Chi Wong and Chow Loo were having a discussion one day on the top of a hill overlooking the plains of their respective army camps.

“My army is bigger than yours,” said general Chi Wong to general Chow Loo. “I’ll wager my best concubine on it.”

“Wager likewise accepted,” said general Chow Loo. The generals decided to verify the facts of the matter and called in their major generals Soo Flick and Boo Mung to settle the issue.

“Soo Flick, arrange my army in a square below on the plain so you can more easily determine the number of men in my army,” commanded General Chi Wong.

Major general Soo Flick ran off to comply with the order, and major general Boo Mung ran off to carry out the same command issued by general Chow Loo.

The following day the armies were arrayed in square formation on the plain below and major generals Soo Flick and Boo Mung returned to report the result.

“Honorable generals Chi Wong and Chow Loo, we have determined that general Chow Loo has 3,011 more men than there are in general Chi Wong’s army,” reported major generals Soo Flick and Boo Mung.

“What a surprise! But I’ll win Li Mai back on the next bet,” said general Chi Wong confidently.

Can you work out how many men there were in the armies of the generals?

The Backward Check

July 30th, 2017

Albert Jones went to cash a check in a bank. The bank teller, named Bonzo Sludge, had just smoked some weed and his mental faculties were distorted leading him to wrongly read the amount written on the check, the numbers swimming around in his head and forming an amount in reverse order.

Bonzo Sludge paid Albert Jones the erroneous amount with a silly, cross-eyed grin on his face and continued playing his video game on the computer at the teller station.

After receiving the money, Albert Jones checked the amount paid out to him and noticed that money was missing and that the missing amount was a square number.

Albert Jones returned to resolve the error with bank teller Bonzo Sludge, but after receiving a vacuous, bovine and uncomprehending look Albert Jones decided to head for the bank manager’s office, where he received the missing amount of money and assurances the personnel glitch would be remedied.

Can you work out what the missing amount was?

The Pirate Tombstone

July 24th, 2017

It was a bright blue sunny Caribbean day with occasional fluffy clouds sailing by like galleons over an island with abundant jungle growth and a lively variety of bird chatter.

“Look there, Arby. Isn’t that a tombstone,” shouted Pascal, assistant to explorer Dr. Arbuthnot Smythe, as he ran to inspect a black rock hidden among foliage under some palm trees on the remote uninhabited Caribbean island Esmeralda.

“Well spotted,” Dr. Smythe followed Pascal to inspect the black rock. “Clean up the surface so we can see what’s written on it,” said Dr. Smythe, following close behind.

Pascal was already busy brushing the black rock free of debris and growth, revealing the large letters R I P with the name Jack Black Silver below.

“Could be treasure decoy work by Capt. Kidd, indicating that we are on the right track based on the parchment incrusted with an emerald and black seal we found in an old ship’s log at Boggs’ Antiquary in London,” said Dr. Smythe after examining the black tombstone.

“There is more text chiseled in under the name,” said Pascal enthusiastically. “Very strange, there are three large numbers with letters.” Pascal scratched his head with a puzzled look on his face.

“What are the numbers,” asked Dr. Smythe, standing ready with notebook and pen.

“Arby, they read as follows: 180XYZ34, 158XYZ and 982XYZ8, one number above the other,” replied a befuddled Pascal.

“I say, definitely not coordinates,” observed Dr. Arbuthnot Smythe, tapping his pen on the pad.

“Wait, I see some small writing below which reads:

By dyviding the dyvisor, ye pace 19 rest N, then pace 12 rest W.’

What in the world could all that gibberish mean?” exclaimed Pascal.

“Hmm,” said Dr. Smythe, scratching his van Dyke beard, concentrating on the numbers. “I would say we need to work out what the letters stand for. I believe Capt. Kidd’s treasure chest could be buried nearby,” said Dr. Smythe deep in thought.

“Maybe the word ‘rest’ means ‘remainder’,” commented Pascal.

“Inspired thought, Pascal, I think you are on the right track. Get your calculator out and let’s solve this riddle,” said Dr. Arbuthnot Smythe with enthusiasm.

About how many paces from the black tombstone would you say the treasure is located?

The Brimchester Football Bar

July 14th, 2017

Marco Slivovitz, owner of The Brimchester Football Bar – dedicated to all fans of the honorable soccer sport – had just installed a perfect number of spherical beer kegs, painted to resemble footballs, which were placed around a large circular bar room.

Enthusiastic  fans celebrating the most recent victory of their beloved team could freely tap and drink beer from any one of the perfect number of spherical football kegs, conveniently placed around the extensive bar area – instant payment being made by card, and large beer mugs provided by saucily dressed waitresses.

Marco had a problem.  As the bar guests would usually empty all the kegs during an evening’s merrymaking, he needed a delivery truck with the correct spherical capacity to fill his perfect number of spherical beer kegs so they would be ready for the next bout. The radius of each of his spherical beer kegs was 21 inches.

Being a practical man, he turned to the yellow pages of the phone book to check for a firm specializing in beer delivery trucks with spherical containers, keeping in harmony with his own containers.

Luckily, after a persistent search, Marcho Slivovitz found the right company for his purposes, Acme Spherical Deliveries.

After contacting Acme Spherical Deliveries and giving the friendly sales person the details regarding his spherical beer kegs, Marco was delighted to hear that two spherical delivery trucks could actually be made available on a regular basis for his purpose, however each with a different diameter.

With the situation happily resolved, being a practical man, Marco Slivovitz proceeded to have one of his waitresses help him test his spherical beer kegs for proper functionality.

 

Can you work out the radii of the spherical containers on the Acme Spherical Deliveries trucks that will  completely fill up Marco’s empty spherical beer mugs after a spirited football victory celebration?

 

Captain John’s Boat

June 30th, 2017

Captain John has a boat with a crew consisting of his family: his wife Jeannie, sons Jack and Marvin, daughters Mary and Molly, and Troi the parrot.

Captain John is very proud of his boat, especially its length in feet, and travels the world with his family to share the rich adventures of sea life.

The bow of his boat is graced by a beautiful mermaid along with the boat’s name in golden letters, Sea Nymph. Lower down the number 288064524 is painted in black.

How old are the family members, the parrot and what is the length of the boat?

The Speedy Pigeon

June 30th, 2017

“Hurry, hurry, try your luck, folks. Get lucky and win a thousand dollars with one shot,” shouted the hawker at full lung power to announce the new game stand at the Jolly Woods Amusement Park.

People flocked to the stand in droves to learn more about this intriguing new game. When they arrived they saw a large semicircular amphitheater with a huge screen about 50 m away facing the spectators. The setup reminded them of a drive-in movie theater of old.

They were told that a yellow virtual pigeon with a blinking red light would be shot out on the screen at a very high speed, leaving a trail of light. To win a thousand dollars a player had to hit the pigeon using a special laser gun each seat was equipped with.

One shot cost $10 and players were told that the chance of hitting the speedy virtual pigeon was 4 in a thousand. Payment was via a card slot at each seat, wins immediately transferred to the card.

Another feature was that for $500 a player could once invite up to two hundred friends to simultaneously take a shot at the pigeon for free.

“C’mon Charlie, lets give it a shot,” shouted one burly onlooker, taking a seat and picking up the laser gun.

How many friends would you invite to this game to have a fifty percent chance of hitting the virtual speedy pigeon and winning five hundred dollars?