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Mathematical Puzzles

These puzzles (most of them old classics) from various sources can be used with pupils who
finish classwork early. Most of the questions were chosen with enthusiastic, bright early
teenagers in mind.
Some of the puzzles are also appropriate for class work - an initial worked example on the board
will help a lot.
There are a few trick questions. Some questions can be quickly answered if you chance upon the
right approach, but the 'long' solution isn't too arduous.
A. Scales and Vessels
1. How can you measure out exactly 4 litres of water from a tap using a 3 litre and a 5 litre
bucket?
2. A 24 litre bucket is full of lemonade. 3 people want to have equal amounts of it to take
home, but they only have a 13 litre, a 5 litre and an 11 litre bucket. How do they do it?
3. A Queen (78kg), the Prince (36kg) and the King (42kg) are stuck at the top of a tower. A
pulley is fixed to the top of the tower. Over the pulley is a rope with a basket on each end.
One basket has a 30kg stone in it. The baskets are enough for 2 people or 1 person and
the stone. For safety's sake there can't be more than a 6kg difference between the weights
of the baskets if someone's inside. How do the people all escape?
4. One of 9 otherwise identical balls is overweight. How can it be identified after 2 weighings
with an old balance?
5. One of 27 otherwise identical balls is overweight. How can it be identified after 3
weighings with an old balance?
6. How many ways can you put 10 sweets into 3 bags so that each bag contains an odd
number of sweets?
B. Ferries
1. A farmer has to take a hen, a fox, and some corn across a river. The farmer can only take
one thing across at a time. Unless the farmer's present the fox will eat the hen and the
hen eat the corn. How is it done?
2. 3 missionaries and 3 obediant but hungry cannibals have to cross a river using a 2-man
rowing boat. If on either bank cannibals outnumber missionaries the missionaries will be
eaten. How can everyone cross safely?
3. 2 men and 2 boys need to cross a river in a boat big enough for 1 man or 2 boys. How do
they do it?
SMP and CSE 1974 extend this to cover the case of n men.
C. Picking Captains
1. 6 girls pick a captain by forming a circle then eliminating every n'th girl. The 2nd girl in the
counting order can choose n. If she wants to be captain what's the smallest n she should
pick?
2. 12 black mice and 1 white mouse are in a ring. Where should a cat start so that if he eats
every 13th mouse the white mouse will be last?
3. 20 passengers are in a sinking ship. 10 are mathematicians. They all stand in a ring. Every
7th climbs into the lifeboat which can only hold 10 people. Where should the
mathematicians stand in the ring?
4. 30 passengers are in a sinking ship. They all stand in a circle. Every 9th passenger goes
overboard. The lifeboat holds 15. Where are the 15 lucky positions in the circle?
D. Incomplete Sums
Some worked examples are in J.A.H. Hunter's "Mathematical Brain Teasers".
1. Each letter represents a different digit

SEND
+MORE
----MONEY

2. This sum uses all the digits


28*
+**4
---****
3. This subtraction sum uses all the digits from 1 to 9.
9**
-*4*
----**1
4. O represents odd digits E represents even digits
EEO
xOO
----EOEO
EOO
----OOOOO
5. P represents prime digits
PPP
xPP
----PPPP
PPPP
----PPPPP
6. Some more additions
o

THE

TEN

MEN

----

MEET

SLOW

SLOW

OLD

----

OWLS

o
o

SAL

SEE

THE

SUEZ

-----

CANAL

o
o

FIVE

FIVE

NINE

ELEVEN

------

THIRTY

7. What 5 digit number (where the digits are all different and none of them is zero) multiplied
by 4 gives an answer where the digits are those of the original number but in reverse
order?
E. Letters
Agree on a font of capital letters.

Put the letters into sets according to line symmetry

Put the letters into sets according to rotational symmetry

Put the letters into sets according to topology

How many letters only use straight lines?

There is only one number whose English name uses as many straight lines to write as the
number itself.

Think of a number. Write it out in words. Write in words the number of letters you've used
(E.g. SIXTEEN-SEVEN-FIVE-FOUR). Continue do so and see what happens. Try 3 other
numbers.

F. Numbers
1. Alan, Bill and Chris dug up 9 nuggets. Their weights were 154, 16, 19, 101, 10, 17, 13, 46
and 22 kgs. They took 3 each. Alan's weighed twice as much as Bill's. How heavy were
Chris's nuggets?
2. The product of 3 sisters' ages is 175. Two are twins. How old is the other one?
3. A person has 2 bankcards, each with a 4 digit number. The 1st number is 4 times the 2nd.
The 1st number is the reverse of the 2nd. What is the first number?

4. Tom has 7 sandwiches, Jan has 5, Simon has none. They share them out equally. Simon
leaves, paying for his sandwiches by leaving 12 biscuits. What's the fairest way for Tom
and Jan to share out the biscuits?
5. A cyclist buys a cycle for 15 pounds paying with a 25 pound cheque. The seller changes
the cheque next door and gives the cyclist 10 pounds change. The cheque bounces so the
seller paid his neighbour back. The cycle cost the seller 11 pounds. How much did the
seller lose?
6. Using four "4"s and common symbols (including the square root, factorial and recurring
decimal symbols), make sums whose answers are 0, 1, 2....100 (See Mathematical
Bafflers)
7. Make fractions (each using all the digits from 1 to 9) with these values 1/2, 1/3....1/9
8. A greengrocer was selling apples at a penny each, bananas at 2 for a penny and pears at 3
for a penny. A shopper spent 7p and got the same amount (greater than 0) of each type of
fruit for each of their 3 children. What did each child get?
9. A woman bought something costing 34c. She only had 3 coins: $1, 2c and 3c. The
shopkeeper had only 2 coins: 25c and 50c. Fortunately another customer had 2 10c coins,
a 5c coin, 2 2c coin and a 1c coin. How did they sort things out?
10.Mr and Mrs A are 120 km apart. A bee is on Mr A's nose. The couple cycle towards each
other, Mr A at 25km/h and Mrs A and 15km/h. The bee dashes from Mr A's nose to Mrs A's
nose and back again and so on at 60km/h. How far does the bee travel before the cyclists
crash?
11.Pick a number. If it's even, divide by 2. If it's odd multiply by 3 and add 1. Continue this
until you reach "1". Eg 3-10-5-16-8-4-2-1. Which integer less than 100 produces the
longest chain?
12.Pick a number. Multiply the digits together. Continue until you get a single digit. What is
the only 2 digit number which would require more than 3 multiplication?
13.Starting with 1, place each integer in one of 2 groups so that neither contains a 3 term
Arithmetic Progression. How far can you go?
14.
o

Apples are packed in boxes of 8 and 15. What is the biggest number of apples that
would require loose apples?

A country only has 5p and 7p coins. Make a list of prices that you could give exact
money for. What is the highest prices that you couldn't give exact money for?

15.If D = the day (1-366) in year Y, then the day of the week can be calculated using
16. d = D+Y+(Y-1)/4 - (Y-1)/100 + (Y-1)/400 mod7
where d=1 would mean Sunday, etc. Can the first day of each century (e.g. 1st Jan 2001, 1st Jan
1901) be any day?
17.Pick 3 digits (not zero) and make 6 2-digit numbers from them. Add up all these numbers,
add up all the original digits and divide the first total by the second.
18.How many presents did the "true love" send during the 12 days of Christmas?

19.

At a fairground stall there are 3 piles of cans. You get 3 throws. You can only knock off the top
can of a pile. The 2nd throw counts double, the 3rd triple. How do you get exactly 50?
20.If you add the digits in the 1st, 3rd, 5th etc positions of a natural number, and get the
same total as you get by summing the other digits, the number is exactly divisible by 11.
For example, 17248 is a multiple of 11 because 1+2+8 equals 7+4. But the opposite isn't
true - there are multiples of 11 for which the sums don't match. What's the smallest
natural number for which this is so?
G. Enumerations
1. Holding its hands out, palms upward a child starts counting on all its fingers and thumbs,
going to and fro. If it counts up to 1982 which finger does counting end on?
2. You have 3 bricks, each measuring 18 x 9 x 6 cm. How many different heights can you
build up with them?
3. How many right-angled triangles with integral sides have one side of 15?
4. Minibuses seating 10, 12 and 15 passengers can be used to convey 120 passengers. There
are 5 of each size of bus. How many different ways can the buses be used so that all the
ones used are full? Which way uses the least buses?
5. Roosters cost 5 pounds, hens 3 pounds and 3 chicks cost 1 pound. Buying at least one of
each type of bird how can you buy 100 birds for exactly 100 pounds?
6. A woman puts 120p on the counter. "some 4p stamps, 6 times as many 2p stamps and the
rest in 5p stamps please". What does she need?
7. A cube is painted white and cut into 27 small cubes. How many of these little cubes are
painted on i) 1, ii) 2, iii) 3, iv) 0 sides?
See SMP E for answers and developments
H. Geometry
1. 9 geraniums have to be planted so that there are 3 plants in each row. How can they be
planted so that there are a) 8 b) 9 c) 10 lines.

2.
o

How many straight lines of unique lengths can you draw from dot to dot?

How many non congruent triangles can you draw?

I. Miscellaneous
1. I have some square tiles. Half of them are black and the other ones are white. I arrange
them so that the black ones form a rectangle and the white ones make a border around
them one tile thick. I have no tiles left over. How many tiles do I have?
2. A man buys 5 cigarettes a day for 25 days. He keeps the stubs. From 5 stubs he made a
new cigarette. How many cigarettes does he smoke during this period?
3. The bacteria in a test-tube double each minute. It is full in one hour. When was it half full?
4. In a knockout with 39 players, how many games are played?
5. In a knockout with 39 players, how many byes?
6. A necklace is made from 4 chains each of 3 links. It costs 1p to cut a link and 2p to
resolder it. How can a necklace be made for 9p?
7. If a crocus costs 8p, a tulip 7p and a daffodil 11p, how much does a hyacinth cost?
Hint: count the vowels and consonants
8. Arrange a line of 5 coins as follows

9.

Head Head Head Tail Tail Tail

In 3 moves (each move consisting of turning over a pair of adjacent coins), arrange the coins so
that Heads and Tails alternate.
10.Town A and town B are 99 km apart. There are 98 km posts between them. On each post is
the distance to A and the distance to B. On how many posts are only 2 different digits
used? (for example, the post that says 'A 33, B 66' only uses 2 digits).
11.Clocks o

How many times is a stopped clock correct each week?

A clock goes at the right speed, but backwards. How many times each week does it
tell the right time?

J. Knights

1.
If you follow the jumps of a chess knight from word to word you can make a 20 word sentence
about the ages of Sue and Sal. Sue is in her teens, so how old is Sal?
2. On a 5 by 5 chessboard, a knight on the centre square would have 8 possible moves. Draw
a 5 by 5 grid and put "8" in the middle square. Fill in the other squares with the number of
moves that a knight would have from that square.
3. Draw a 5 by 5 chessboard. Put a "0" in the top left corner square. Imagine a knight there.
Put a "1" in all the squares that it can reach in 1 go, a "2" in all the squares that it can
reach in a minimum of 2 goes, etc, until all the squares are filled in. Which squares take
the longest to reach?
K. Digital Displays
_

_ _

_ _ _ _ _

| | | _| _| |_| |_ |_ | |_| |_|


|_| | |_ _| | _| |_| | |_| _|

Make a table showing how many lines are used for each digit.

While changing from 0 to 1, four bars are turned off. No new ones are turned on. Make a
table of what happens as the digits change
ON OFF

0->1 0

1->2

...

9->0

Add up the "OFF" and the "ON" columns. What do you notice?

L. Palindromes

1. A car milometer shows 15951. After 2 hours it shows another palindromic number. How
fast was the car going on average?
2. Pick a 2 digit number. Reverse it then add to the original number. Have you got a
palindrome? If not then repeat the process. Try all the 2 digit numbers (as a class activity)
(from Mathematical Bafflers).

REFERENCE: http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~tpl/maths/puzzles.html

ANSWERS TO Mathematical Puzzles


These puzzles (most of them old classics) from various sources can be used with pupils
who finish classwork early. Most of the questions were chosen with enthusiastic, bright
early teenagers in mind.
Some of the puzzles are also appropriate for class work - an initial worked example on the
board will help a lot.
There are a few trick questions. Some questions can be quickly answered if you chance
upon the right approach, but the 'long' solution isn't too arduous. Several of the questions
are best answered by writing a computer program. Some are shown here.
A. Scales and Vessels
1. How can you measure out exactly 4 litres of water from a tap using a 3 litre and a 5 litre
bucket?
Ans
3litre 5litre
----- -----0

2. A 24 litre bucket is full of lemonade. 3 people want to have equal amounts of it to take
home, but they only have a 13 litre, a 5 litre and an 11 litre bucket. How do they do it?
Ans
24 13 11 5
---------24 0 0 0
11 13 0 0
6 13 0 5
6 2 11 5
8 0 11 5
8 5 11 0

8 13 3 0
8 8 35
8 8 80
3. A Queen (78kg), the Prince (36kg) and the King (42kg) are stuck at the top of a tower. A
pulley is fixed to the top of the tower. Over the pulley is a rope with a basket on each end.
One basket has a 30kg stone in it. The baskets are enough for 2 people or 1 person and
the stone. For safety's sake there can't be more than a 6kg difference between the weights
of the baskets if someone's inside. How do the people all escape?
Ans
Basket 1

Basket 2

--------------------Stone up

Prince down

King down Prince up


nothing up Stone down
Queen down Stone and King up
nothing up Stone down
Prince down Stone up
nothing up Stone down
King down Prince up
Stone up

Prince down

4. One of 9 otherwise identical balls is overweight. How can it be identified after 2 weighings
with an old balance?
Ans: Weigh 3 against 3, then you'll know which group of 3 contains the heavy ball. Pick 2
balls from that group and weigh one against the other.
5. One of 27 otherwise identical balls is overweight. How can it be identified after 3
weighings with an old balance?
Ans: Weigh 9 against 9, then 3 against 3.
6. How many ways can you put 10 sweets into 3 bags so that each bag contains an odd
number of sweets?
Ans 15 solutions. The first trick is to realise that if you put one bag inside another, then
sweets in the inner bag are also in the outer bag. The only workable configuration is to put
one bag inside another and leave the third alone. The answers can be obtained using the
following octave script, where bag b is inside bag a
for a=0:10
for b=0:(10-a)
c=10-a-b;
if (rem((a+b),2)==1 && rem(b,2)==1 && rem(c,2)==1)
fprintf('a=%d b=%d c=%d\n',a,b,c)
end
end
end
B. Ferries
1. A farmer has to take a hen, a fox, and some corn across a river. The farmer can only take
one thing across at a time. Unless the farmer's present the fox will eat the hen and the
hen eat the corn. How is it done?
Ans

FARMER AND HEN ->


<- FARMER
FARMER AND FOX ->
<- FARMER AND HEN
FARMER AND CORN ->
<- FARMER
FARMER AND HEN ->
2. 3 missionaries and 3 obediant but hungry cannibals have to cross a river using a 2-man
rowing boat. If on either bank cannibals outnumber missionaries the missionaries will be
eaten. How can everyone cross safely?
Ans
CANNIBAL and MISSIONARY ->
<- MISSIONARY
CANNIBAL and CANNIBAL ->
<- CANNIBAL
MISSIONARY and MISSIONARY ->
<- CANNIBAL and MISSIONARY
MISSIONARY and MISSIONARY ->
<- CANNIBAL
CANNIBAL and CANNIBAL ->
<- CANNIBAL
CANNIBAL and CANNIBAL ->
3. 2 men and 2 boys need to cross a river in a boat big enough for 1 man or 2 boys. How do
they do it?
Ans
BOY and BOY ->
<- BOY
MAN ->
<- BOY
BOY and BOY ->
<- BOY
MAN ->
<- BOY
BOY and BOY ->
SMP and CSE 1974 extend this to cover the case of n men.
C. Picking Captains
1. 6 girls pick a captain by forming a circle then eliminating every n'th girl. The 2nd girl in the
counting order can choose n. If she wants to be captain what's the smallest n she should
pick?
Ans: 10
2. 12 black mice and 1 white mouse are in a ring. Where should a cat start so that if he eats
every 13th mouse the white mouse will be last?
Ans: If the white mouse is 1st in the counting order, the cat should start at the 7th mouse :
hint - start anywhere, see how far out you are, then make the necessary correction

3. 20 passengers are in a sinking ship. 10 are mathematicians. They all stand in a ring. Every
7th climbs into the lifeboat which can only hold 10 people. Where should the
mathematicians stand in the ring?
Ans: 1 4 5 7 8 9 14 15 16 17
4. 30 passengers are in a sinking ship. They all stand in a circle. Every 9th passenger goes
overboard. The lifeboat holds 15. Where are the 15 lucky positions in the circle?
Ans: 1 2 3 4 10 11 13 14 15 17 20 21 25 28 29
The last of these questions can be answered using the following octave script
howmanyatstart=30;
howmanyatend=15;
first=1;
leap=9;

x=first-1;
a=1:howmanyatstart;
while (length(a)>howmanyatend)
x=rem(x+leap,length(a));
a(x+1)=[];
end
a
By changing the initial values in this script you can solve questions 2 and 3. Here's
the Python solution
howmanyatstart=30
howmanyatend=15
first=0
leap=9

x=first
a=range(1,howmanyatstart+1)
while len(a)>howmanyatend:
x=(x+leap)%len(a)
del a[x]

for i in range(0,len(a)):
print a[i]
D. Incomplete Sums
Some worked examples are in J.A.H. Hunter's "Mathematical Brain Teasers".
1. Each letter represents a different digit
SEND
+MORE
----MONEY

Ans: 9567+1085 = 10652


2. This sum uses all the digits
28*
+**4
---****
Ans: 289+764 = 1053
3. This subtraction sum uses all the digits from 1 to 9.
9**
-*4*
----**1
Ans:927 - 346 = 581
4. O represents odd digits E represents even digits
EEO
xOO
----EOEO
EOO
----OOOOO
Ans: 285x39
5. P represents prime digits
PPP
xPP
----PPPP
PPPP
----PPPPP
Ans: 775x33
6. Some more additions
o

THE

TEN

MEN

----

MEET

Ans: 490+407+107=1004

SLOW

SLOW

OLD

----

OWLS

Ans: 4712

SAL

SEE

THE

SUEZ

-----

CANAL

Ans: 920+977+547+9876=12320

FIVE

FIVE

NINE

ELEVEN

------

THIRTY

Ans: 4027+4027+5057+797275

7. What 5 digit number (where the digits are all different and none of them is zero) multiplied
by 4 gives an answer where the digits are those of the original number but in reverse
order?
So
ABCDE * 4 = EDCBA
Let's start at the ends.
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

A can only be 1 or 2, because A*4 < 10. E*4 divided by 10 must leave a remainder
of A. It can't leave a remainder of 1, so A=2
2BCDE * 4 = EDCB2
If E*4 divided by 10 leaves a remainder of 2, then E has to be 3 or 8. The E on the
right-hand side must be 8 or 9. Putting those 2 constraints together, E=8
2BCD8 * 4 = 8DCB2
B*4 must be < 10. If it was more, then the first digit of the right-hand side wouldn't
be 8. B can't be 2 because we've used that already. So B=1
21CD8 * 4 = 8DC12
To get the 1 that's on the right-hand side, D*4+3 when divided by 10 must leave a
remainder of 1. D can't be 2 (2 has been used already) so D=7
21C78 * 4 = 87C12
4*C +3 when divided by 10 must give the answer 3 and a remainder C, so C=9
So the answer's 21978
The following C++ code might help with the other problems
#include <vector>

#include <iostream>
#include <cstdlib>
#include <algorithm>
using namespace std;

// This C++ program uses brute force to solve problems like


//

THE +

//

TEN +

//

MEN

//

----

//

MEET

//
// To solve a problem
// * List the words in the thewords variable
// * Set the leadingzeroesallowed, digitsunique, findallsolutions variables to true or
false,
// depending of what you want.
// * Change the first line of the check routine to match the calculation.
//

The words are referred to as thewords[0], thewords[1], etc so

//
if (eval(thewords[0],v) + eval(thewords[1],v) + eval(thewords[2],v) ==
eval(thewords[3],v)) {
//

means "if word1 + word2 + word3 equals word4 ..."

// * Re-compile and run the code.


// The code's not designed to be fast or easy to read, It solves
// THE + TEN + MEN = MEET almost instantly. SEND + MORE = MONEY takes over
a minute.

string thewords[]={"THE","TEN", "MEN", "MEET"};

bool leadingzeroesallowed=false;
bool digitsunique=true;
bool findallsolutions=false;

string all="";
int numberofwords;

void initialise() {
numberofwords=sizeof(thewords)/sizeof(*thewords);
for (int i=0;i<numberofwords;i++)
all=all+thewords[i];
sort(all.begin(), all.end());

string::iterator it = unique (all.begin(), all.end());


all.resize( it - all.begin() );
}

int eval(string s, vector<int>v) {


int i=s.length();
int factor=1;
int sum=0;
while(i--) {
for (int j=0;j<all.length();j++)
if(s[i]==all[j]){
sum=sum+factor*v[j];
break;
}
factor=factor*10;
}
return sum;
}

void check(vector<int>v) {
//The next line may need changing
if (eval(thewords[0],v) + eval(thewords[1],v) + eval(thewords[2],v) ==
eval(thewords[3],v)) {
if(digitsunique) {
vector<int>v2=v;
sort(v2.begin(), v2.end());

vector<int>::iterator it = unique (v2.begin(), v2.end());


v2.resize( it - v2.begin() );
if (v2.size() != v.size())
return;
}
if(not leadingzeroesallowed) {
for (int j=0;j<all.length();j++) {
for (int k=0;j<numberofwords;j++)
if(thewords[k][0]==all[j]){
if (v[j]==0)
return;
}
}

}
cout << "Answer!" << endl;
for (int i=0; i<v.size() ; i++) {
cout << all[i] << " = " << v[i] << endl;
}
if (not findallsolutions)
exit(0);
}
}

void recurse(vector<int>v) {
if (v.size()== all.length())
check(v);
else
for (int i=0;i<10;i++){
vector<int>v2=v;
v2.push_back(i);
recurse(v2);
}
}

int main() {
vector<int> v;
initialise();
for (int i=0;i<10;i++){
v.clear();
v.push_back(i);
recurse(v);
}
}
E. Letters
Agree on a font of capital letters.

Put the letters into sets according to line symmetry

Put the letters into sets according to rotational symmetry

Put the letters into sets according to topology

How many letters only use straight lines?

There is only one number whose English name uses as many straight lines to write as the
number itself.

Think of a number. Write it out in words. Write in words the number of letters you've used
(E.g. SIXTEEN-SEVEN-FIVE-FOUR). Continue do so and see what happens. Try 3 other
numbers. You always end at FOUR. In german you end up at VIER.

F. Numbers
1. Alan, Bill and Chris dug up 9 nuggets. Their weights were 154, 16, 19, 101, 10, 17, 13, 46
and 22 kgs. They took 3 each. Alan's weighed twice as much as Bill's. How heavy were
Chris's nuggets?
Ans: 272. Here's some octave code
nuggets=[154, 16, 19, 101, 10, 17, 13, 46 22];

alan=nchoosek(1:9,3);
[r c]=size(alan);
for i=1:r
alanchoice=alan(i,:);
indices=1:9;
indices(alanchoice)=[];
bill=nchoosek(1:6,3);
[r2 c2]=size(bill);
for j=1:r2
billchoice=indices(bill(j,:));
newindices=1:6;
newindices(bill(j,:))=[];
chrischoice=indices(newindices);
if (sum(nuggets(alanchoice))==2*sum(nuggets(billchoice)))
sum(nuggets(chrischoice))
end
end
end
2. The product of 3 sisters' ages is 175. Two are twins. How old is the other one?
Ans: 7
3. A person has 2 bankcards, each with a 4 digit number. The 1st number is 4 times the 2nd.
The 1st number is the reverse of the 2nd. What is the first number?
Ans: 8712. You could use trial and error. The smaller number must start with a 1 or a 2
(otherwise the bigger number would have 5 digits) so the bigger number must end with 1
or 2. Actually, it has to be 2, because the bigger number must be a multiple of 4.
Consequently the numbers are 2**8 and 8**2. The digit after the 2 has to be small
(because 4 times the number is less than 10).
Alternatively, here's an Octave program
for a=0:9
for b=0:9
for c=0:9
for d=0:9
number1=1000*a+100*b+10*c+d;
number2=1000*d+100*c+10*b+a;
if (number1 == 4*number2)
disp(number1)
end

end
end
end
end

4. Tom has 7 sandwiches, Jan has 5, Simon has none. They share them out equally. Simon
leaves, paying for his sandwiches by leaving 12 biscuits. What's the fairest way for Tom
and Jan to share out the biscuits?
Ans: 3 to Jan
5. A cyclist buys a cycle for 15 pounds paying with a 25 pound cheque. The seller changes
the cheque next door and gives the cyclist 10 pounds change. The cheque bounces so the
seller paid his neighbour back. The cycle cost the seller 11 pounds. How much did the
seller lose?
Ans: 21 pounds?
6. Using four "4"s and common symbols (including the square root, factorial and recurring
decimal symbols), make sums whose answers are 0, 1, 2....100 (See Mathematical
Bafflers)
7. Make fractions (each using all the digits from 1 to 9) with these values 1/2, 1/3....1/9
Ans:
6729/13458, 5823/17469, 3942/15768, 2697/13485, 2943/17658,
2394/16758, 3187/25496, 6381/57429
8. A greengrocer was selling apples at a penny each, bananas at 2 for a penny and pears at 3
for a penny. A shopper spent 7p and got the same amount (greater than 0) of each type of
fruit for each of their 3 children. What did each child get?
Ans: 1 apple, 2 bananas and 1 pear.
9. A woman bought something costing 34c. She only had 3 coins: $1, 2c and 3c. The
shopkeeper had only 2 coins: 25c and 50c. Fortunately another customer had 2 10c coins,
a 5c coin, 2 2c coin and a 1c coin. How did they sort things out?
Ans: They pool the money. The woman takes 71 (50 + 10 + 10 + 1), the shopkeeper takes
109 (100 + 5 + 2 + 2) and the customer 30 (25 + 3 + 2).
10.Mr and Mrs A are 120 km apart. A bee is on Mr A's nose. The couple cycle towards each
other, Mr A at 25km/h and Mrs A and 15km/h. The bee dashes from Mr A's nose to Mrs A's
nose and back again and so on at 60km/h. How far does the bee travel before the cyclists
crash?
Ans: The cyclists crash after 3 hours so the bee flies 180km.
11.Pick a number. If it's even, divide by 2. If it's odd multiply by 3 and add 1. Continue this
until you reach "1". Eg 3-10-5-16-8-4-2-1. Which integer less than 100 produces the
longest chain?
Ans: 97 leads to a 119 link chain. The lowest number that causes a long chain is 27 (112
links).
12.Pick a number. Multiply the digits together. Continue until you get a single digit. What is
the only 2 digit number which would require more than 3 multiplication?
Ans: 77
13.Starting with 1, place each integer in one of 2 groups so that neither contains a 3 term
Arithmetic Progression. How far can you go?
Ans: Up to 8.
14.The following 2 questions use the following result - "Given integers a and b the biggest
number that can't be expressed in the form ia + jb is ab - a - b."
o

Apples are packed in boxes of 8 and 15. What is the biggest number of apples that
would require loose apples?
Ans: 97

A country only has 5p and 7p coins. Make a list of prices that you could give exact
money for. What is the highest prices that you couldn't give exact money for?
Ans: 23

15.If D = the day (1-366) in year Y, then the day of the week can be calculated using
16. d = D+Y+(Y-1)/4 - (Y-1)/100 + (Y-1)/400 mod7
where d=1 would mean Sunday, etc. Can the first day of each century (e.g. 1st Jan
2001, 1st Jan 1901) be any day?
Ans: No. Just Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. See "Mathematical Bafflers"
17.Pick 3 digits (not zero) and make 6 2-digit numbers from them. Add up all these numbers,
add up all the original digits and divide the first total by the second.
Ans: 22
18.How many presents did the "true love" send during the 12 days of Christmas?
Ans: 364

19.
At a fairground stall there are 3 piles of cans. You get 3 throws. You can only knock
off the top can of a pile. The 2nd throw counts double, the 3rd triple. How do you
get exactly 50?
Ans: 7, 8, 9
20.If you add the digits in the 1st, 3rd, 5th etc positions of a natural number, and get the
same total as you get by summing the other digits, the number is exactly divisible by 11.
For example, 17248 is a multiple of 11 because 1+2+8 equals 7+4. But the opposite isn't
true - there are multiples of 11 for which the sums don't match. What's the smallest
natural number for which this is so?
Here's a C++ solution
#include <iostream>
#include <sstream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;
int main() {
string s;
for (long num=11;num<10000;num+=11) {
std::ostringstream o;
if (o << num)
s=o.str();
else
s="";
int odds=0;
int evens=0;
for (int i=0;i<s.length();i++)

if (i%2)
evens+=s[i]-'0';
else
odds+=s[i]-'0';
if (odds!=evens) {
cout << num << " is a multiple of 11, but " << odds << " !=" << evens << endl;
break;
}
}
}
Enumerations
1. Holding its hands out, palms upward a child starts counting on all its fingers and thumbs,
going to and fro. If it counts up to 1982 which finger does counting end on?
Ans: (middle finger is 3 or 7 (mod8)).
2. You have 3 bricks, each measuring 18 x 9 x 6 cm. How many different heights can you
build up with them?
Ans: 10. A solution in Octave is
length(unique(sum(nchoosek([18 18 18 9 9 9 6 6 6] ,3),2)))
3. How many right-angled triangles with integral sides have one side of 15?
Ans
9, 12, 15
15, 20, 25
15 112 113
8 15 17
15 36 39
4. Minibuses seating 10, 12 and 15 passengers can be used to convey 120 passengers. There
are 5 of each size of bus. How many different ways can the buses be used so that all the
ones used are full? Which way uses the least buses?
Ans
10 12 15
-------3 5 2
4 3 3
5 4
5. Roosters cost 5 pounds, hens 3 pounds and 3 chicks cost 1 pound. Buying at least one of
each type of bird how can you buy 100 birds for exactly 100 pounds?
Ans
Rooster Hen Chick
4

18 78

11 81

12

4 84

6. A woman puts 120p on the counter. "some 4p stamps, 6 times as many 2p stamps and the
rest in 5p stamps please". What does she need?
Ans: 5 4p's.

7. A cube is painted white and cut into 27 small cubes. How many of these little cubes are
painted on i) 1, ii) 2, iii) 3, iv) 0 sides?
See SMP E for answers and developments

Geometry
1. 9 geraniums have to be planted so that there are 3 plants in each row. How can they be
planted so that there are a) 8 b) 9 c) 10 lines.

Ans:

2.
o

How many straight lines of unique lengths can you draw from dot to dot?
Ans: 5

How many non congruent triangles can you draw?


Ans: 8

Miscellaneous
1. I have some square tiles. Half of them are black and the other ones are white. I arrange
them so that the black ones form a rectangle and the white ones make a border around
them one tile thick. I have no tiles left over. How many tiles do I have?
2. A man buys 5 cigarettes a day for 25 days. He keeps the stubs. From 5 stubs he made a
new cigarette. How many cigarettes does he smoke during this period?
3. The bacteria in a test-tube double each minute. It is full in one hour. When was it half full?
Ans: 59 mins.
4. In a knockout with 39 players, how many games are played?
Ans: 39-1
5. In a knockout with 39 players, how many byes?
Ans: 3 (find 2**n such that 2**n>39 then express 2n-39 in base 2 and count 1's in the
binary number)
6. A necklace is made from 4 chains each of 3 links. It costs 1p to cut a link and 2p to
resolder it. How can a necklace be made for 9p?
Ans: Cut one chain into 3 links. Use these to connect up the rest.
7. If a crocus costs 8p, a tulip 7p and a daffodil 11p, how much does a hyacinth cost?
Hint: count the vowels and consonants

8. Arrange a line of 5 coins as follows


9.

Head Head Head Tail Tail Tail


In 3 moves (each move consisting of turning over a pair of adjacent coins), arrange
the coins so that Heads and Tails alternate.
Ans: Swop 3 and 4, 4 and 5, then 2 and 3

10.Town A and town B are 99 km apart. There are 98 km posts between them. On each post is
the distance to A and the distance to B. On how many posts are only 2 different digits
used? (for example, the post that says 'A 33, B 66' only uses 2 digits).
From SMP. 18 posts: 11, 18, 22, 27, 33, 36, 44, 45...

11.Clocks o

How many times is a stopped clock correct each week?

A clock goes at the right speed, but backwards. How many times each week does it
tell the right time?

Knights

1.
If you follow the jumps of a chess knight from word to word you can make a 20 word
sentence about the ages of Sue and Sal. Sue is in her teens, so how old is Sal?
Ans: Start at Sal in the bottom row. Sal is 8 (thanks to Jenny Leppington-Clark for
discussing this puzzle, and thanks to Sweta Singh for pointing out the right answer).
The sentence is "SAL IS NOW HALF AS OLD AS SUE WAS WHEN SAL WAS A THIRD AS
OLD AS SUE IS NOW". So let's create some variables - SueNow and SalNow are the
ages now, and SueThen and SalThen are the ages X years ago. Then
SalNow = SueThen/2
and
SalThen = SueNow/3.
Also
SueNow = SueThen + X
SalNow = SalThen + X
Substituting, we get
SalThen + X = SueThen/2
and
SalThen = (SueThen + X)/3
Subtracting, we get
X = SueThen/2 - SueThen/3 - X/3
so
4X/3 = SueThen/6
and hence
8X = SueThen
So, assuming X is an integer and Sue is now a teenager, X=2 and SueThen will be
16. That makes SueNow 18 and SalNow 8.
2. On a 5 by 5 chessboard, a knight on the centre square would have 8 possible moves. Draw
a 5 by 5 grid and put "8" in the middle square. Fill in the other squares with the number of
moves that a knight would have from that square.
3. Draw a 5 by 5 chessboard. Put a "0" in the top left corner square. Imagine a knight there.
Put a "1" in all the squares that it can reach in 1 go, a "2" in all the squares that it can

reach in a minimum of 2 goes, etc, until all the squares are filled in. Which squares take
the longest to reach?
Digital Displays
_

_ _

_ _ _ _ _

| | | _| _| |_| |_ |_ | |_| |_|


|_| | |_ _| | _| |_| | |_| _|

Make a table showing how many lines are used for each digit.

While changing from 0 to 1, four bars are turned off. No new ones are turned on. Make a
table of what happens as the digits change
ON OFF

0->1 0

1->2

...

9->0

Add up the "OFF" and the "ON" columns. What do you notice?
Palindromes

1. A car milometer shows 15951. After 2 hours it shows another palindromic number. How
fast was the car going on average?
2. Pick a 2 digit number. Reverse it then add to the original number. Have you got a
palindrome? If not then repeat the process. Try all the 2 digit numbers (as a class activity)
(from Mathematical Bafflers).
Ans
Sum of digits

1-9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Num of additions

1 2 1 2 2 3 3 6 24 6

REFERENCE: http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~tpl/maths/puzzles.html