Archive for July, 2016

Some Special Numbers

Monday, July 25th, 2016

A mathematician walking leisurely down a street on a Sunday afternoon spotted a colleague he had not seen for some time.

“Hello Fred, nice to see you.

“Likewise, Leonard, I see you are well,” replied Fred, shaking his hand. “Did you ever marry Helen?”

“Yes, I did and now we have three children,” replied Leonard.

“Glad to hear it. How old are your children,” asked Fred.

“As you are a colleague, I will give you the answer in a mental package,” smiled Leonard.

“Ok, hand it over,” said Fred.

“Well, the sum of their ages is a perfect number. Twenty-one times Sarah’s age is the ninth heptagonal number. The product of their ages is a number whose double cross sum is nine. Jason is five years younger than Alex. Is that sufficient information for you,” chuckled Leonard.

“More than sufficient,” replied Fred and promptly gave Leonard their correct ages.

“Next time I see you, I will also set you a small task,” laughed Fred and invited Leonard to come along to his favorite inn to discuss old times.

The Illegible Order

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

On a cool winter’s day, at the famous French restaurant Chez Clouseau in New York, an order was made by phone for an upcoming event to be held later that week by the Bacchus wine club in the cave of the restaurant. The order consisted of packages of special long-burning, scented candles for eleven tables each seating eight persons, one package per guest.

The order was made by phone by garçon Laquais who wrote down the details of the order on a napkin with a magic marker low on ink, as he was in a hurry to serve a table with a flirty girl and could not find a notepad.

When the order was to be registered by the maitre d’ Pierre, it had become illegible as some red wine had been spilled on the napkin by the careless Laquais. All that could be seen was *12.7*, presumably the order total.

Pierre was furious as the order had to be entered into the system rapidly before it could be confirmed, shouting French expletives and shaking his fist at Laquais.

Fortunately for Pierre a sympathetic mathematician named Leonard noticed the commotion and came over to offer some help. Pierre explained the situation with the order.

After looking at the wine-stained napkin for a little while, Leonard wrote down the details of the order on a slip torn from a small notebook he carried with him, and handed it to an astounded Pierre with a slight Gallic bow.

What was the total price and the price per candle package Leonard noted down?

The Gold Coin Inheritance

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

The 98-year-old and widowered multi-billionaire Sir Horatio Holmes summoned his two sons, James and Arthur, and his daughter Guinevere, for an inheritance chat at his country estate “The Meadows.” Jeeves, the butler was also present.

“Welcome children, I will be leaving you for the parallel world within a month, so I have decided to divide up your inheritance,” he announced with a fatherly smile.

“But father,” protested the three, “you are not that old yet. You certainly look quite young.”

“Yes indeed, as you all know my daily Five Tibetan exercises keep my chakras spinning at a young man’s rate,” he laughed. There’s no need to be decrepit in one’s old age. As I have told you often, my advice is to stay away from doctor’s prescriptions, use natural food and medicine, exercise well and think young.”

“No matter, I have completed what I came here to learn and wish to move on for further development of my capabilities until the next time,” Sir Holmes stated firmly. “I will give you one week’s notice so you can attend my departure with a proper orange-light ceremony and sandalwood incense.”

James, Arthur and Guinevere nodded acquiescence as they had long since learned that it was futile to argue with their father.

“Very well,” said Sir Holmes, “let us proceed.”

“You, James, take one third of the gold coins from the pile placed on the desk. Each gold coin represents a billion pounds sterling. The sun suddenly shone through the window reflecting its golden rays from the coins.

James counted the gold coins in the pile. “Father,” he said, “there is one coin too many to divide the pile into three equal parts.

“No matter, give one to Jeeves,” chuckled Sir Holmes.

James gave one of the gold coins to the smiling Jeeves and removed one third of the coins from the pile.

“Now it’s your turn, Arthur,” said Sir Holmes.

Arthur counted the remaining coins, finding one too many to divide into three parts. At that very moment a crow flew in the window and grabbed one gold coin in its beak and flew out again before anyone could react.

“Blasted crow,” exclaimed Jeeves, shaking a fist in the direction of the window.

“I say,” said Arthur and took a third part of the remaining coins.

“Now it is your turn, Guinevere,” said Sir Holmes.

Guinevere counted the coins in the remaining pile. “There is one too many to divide by three,” said Guinevere.

“Jeeves, hurry up and take the coin before the crow does,” smiled Sir Holmes. Jeeves did not waste a millisecond.

Guinevere removed a third of the remaining coins from the pile.

“Father, there is one too many coins to be able to divide the pile further into three parts,” she stated.

“Give it to Jeeves and then divide the remaining coins equally among you three to be placed in trust for your children,” said Sir Holmes.

James, Arthur and Guinevere collected a third part each for their offspring, leaving no gold coins behind.

Jeeves bowed to Sir Holmes. “My undying gratitude to you Sir. Now, with your permission I’m going to get my shotgun to hunt crow,” rushing out the door after a nod from Sir Holmes.

“Thank  you so much, dear father,” they stated in unison.

“My pleasure, let’s have some lunch,” smiled Sir Holmes and escorted them out the door.


What was the minimum amount of Sir Holmes’ fortune?

Blackbeard’s Treasure

Friday, July 8th, 2016

A band of pirates arrived on the congenial island La Orchila looking for the treasure of the pirate Blackbeard. They had a rough map of the location stolen from a museum in London.

In a well-protected dell with a small spring, they saw a tree with the following markings placed in a band around it:


After scratching their heads and other parts and arguing amongst themselves, one pirate suddenly saw the light.

What was the message on the tree?

The Twelve Shields

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Twelve captured soldiers were presented to Tamerlane, the Turco-Mongol conqueror, in his palace.

“I feel generous today as it is the birthday of my favorite concubine, Lalila, and we have killed enough people this week and built sufficient skull pyramids. You all fought bravely against your capture.”

“Each of you will be blindfolded and ordered to throw your round shield onto the extensive checkered floor. If your shield does not fall completely into a square you will be offered a position in my army, otherwise you will be thrown to the lions,” Tamerlane said with a generous smile.

“By the way,” Tamerlane grinned, “to facilitate your considerations, my court mathematician has measured that precisely four of your round shields can be placed side by side to make up the length of three squares of the checker pattern on the floor. I will give you some moments to think about this, brave soldiers,” he added cheerfully.

The soldiers quickly got busy discussing their fate, one talking about mind over matter.

About how many soldiers would you bet even money on not winding up in the lion pits?

The Round Table

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Jack and Jill were sitting in Banerjee’s Hindu Restaurant at a round table with seven persons, enjoying a delicious chicken tikki masala with spicy papadums and a fine wine, when the owner, a Mr. Banerjee, approached them with a wide smile.

“I am so happy to see such a handsome couple like you eating in my restaurant. To show my appreciation, I will set you a small task. If you can tell me how many different ways there are to arrange the seven people around this table, you of course in the same position, the meals at this table will be on the house. I will give you some time to consult. Please write down your answers on your bills. If correct, there will be no charge.”

What is the number needed for obtaining a free meal?

What would the number be if Jack and Jill were not required to sit together.

The Quiz Show

Friday, July 1st, 2016

At a televised quiz show, the contestant who is standing on a platform is told to choose between two elevator doors facing him. One of the doors would lead to a wonderful prize, the other to an onerous task.

In front of each elevator door was placed a uniformed sentinel, a person selected from the audience of the quiz show.

One of the sentinels was required to only lie, and the person selected said he was a politician so this would not be much of a problem for him. The sentinels were informed of what the elevator doors led to.

The other sentinel was required to only tell the truth, and as he was a mathematician this would not be a difficult problem for him, he said.

The contestant was informed that one of the sentinels would certainly lie and the other would certainly tell the truth.

The contestant was required to direct just one question to one of the sentinels for the purpose of selecting the elevator door with the prize.

What was the winning question?

Book Shopping

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Two fathers, Rocky and Max went with their sons Sandy and Beaver to a large bookstore to buy some books for their libraries.

Each family bought a total of $65 in books. For each person, the number of books bought was the same as the price of each book.

Rocky bought one more book than Beaver. Sandy only bought one book.

How many books did Max buy and who is Sandy’s father?

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