...of letters and more!

Going by the way I pinch puzzles even if they’re only available on the ex-planet Pluto, it’s a shame I didn’t go in for conventional thievery. At least I would have been rich by now instead of barely making ends meet (like constantly running short of money for painting the yacht, island overgrown with weeds, stud farm down to a hundred heads, if that -- you know how it is). Luckily though, as far as cerebral larceny is concerned, fortune not only favours the meek but actually rewards them at the darndest places.

Meaning since we’re on words since last week I never gave myself the chance of a snowflake in hell of running into the following letter puzzle -- called letter equations -- in a 14-year-old print copy of OMNI magazine which for some weird reason had not been thrown away. In other words we can keep going with the same Zen flow and carry the momentum till it lasts. Ie, this week we’ll try to check out some letter equations. This is how these work. Take for instance 12 = M in a Y. Here the M and Y represent words which when expanded make sense of the equation. Hence, 12 = MONTHS in a YEAR. Similarly 54 = C in a D with the J can be expanded to 54 = CARDS in a DECK with the JOKERS.

Cool? Good, so try the following ten now: (1) 29 = D in F in a L Y; (2) 3 = B M (Hint: S H T R); (3) 32 = D F at which W F; (4) 1 = W on a U; (5) 8 = P in the S S; (6) 1 = F O the C N; (7) 1000 = W that a P is W; (8) 54 = H with a B D; (9) 80 = D to G A the W; (10) 2 = W it T to T.

THROUGHPUT

The first problem submitted by Zaid Bankapur, zaidb.09@gmail.com was to find what number comes next in the series 10, 9, 60, 90, 70, 66 . . . ?

It’s 96. Because 10 is the highest number which, when written in words, has 3 letters. Similarly, 9 is the highest number which has 4 letters; 60 is the highest number with 5 letters. 70 is the highest number with 7 letters; 66 is the highest number with 8 letters. Therefore looking for the highest number which, when written in words, has 9 letters, I derive 96. -- Rajagopalan K T, ktremail@gmail.com

The series is alphanumeric. Ie: Ten, nine, sixty, ninety, seventy, sixty six . . . ? Thus, counting the number of alphabets we get 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Next in the series is 9 which is 96. This is not a mathematical series, hence can only be solved by logic. -- Shashi Shekher Thakur, shashishekher@yahoo.com

And the second problem was: “In my garden I have two posts, one five feet high and the other seven feet high. I tie a clothesline from the top of each post to the base of the other. What is the height from the ground where the two clotheslines cross?”

The answer is almost 2,92 feet from ground. The most accurate version is 35/12 feet. The question can be solved by trigonometry easily. The unique thing is that the height of crossing does not depend on the horizontal spacing between the posts. -- Brijesh Kumar Dikshit, bkdikshitifs@gmail.com

It can be easily solved by first assuming the 7 unit post is rooted on a XY plane the base co-ordinates being (0,0) and the top being (0,7), the other pole would be b units away, and its co-ordinates would be (b,0) and (b,5). Now, the two clothesline equations can be written as 7x + by = 7b and 5x - by = 0. Solving the simultaneous equations gives us y (the height at intersection) as 35/12, a little short of 3 units. It is independent of the distance between poles ‘b’. -- Subramanian C A. subbu.ca@gmail.com

It can be noted that the height (H) above the ground where the clotheslines cross is independent of the distance between the posts. So, assuming a suitable distance between the poles and solving for height using the concept of similar triangles, gives H = 35 /12 feet -- Subin, sbn_vtl@yahoo.co.in

GOOGLE THIS NOW

So this chatterbox lady gets into a cab. To stop her continuous jabbering, the driver pretends to be deaf and dumb. When she gets out, he points to the meter to show her the fare amount. After she’s done paying and is walking away, it suddenly occurs to her that the cabbie could not have been deaf and dumb. How? -- Sarvesh C K, cksarvesh@gmail.com

— Sharma is a scriptwriter and former editor of Science Today magazine.

(mukul.mindsport@gmail.com)