Running A Deficit ...the number games!

Published: 16th May 2015 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2015 11:43 PM   |  A+A-

Cricket’s not a big fat mystery to me like it is to some people who either don’t follow the game or are Americans. I know for instance that five runs are awarded if the ball hits the helmet kept behind the keeper or that a batsman can shift from right handed batting to left without informing anyone but that the bowler has to inform the umpire if he intends to do so

and so on and so forth. What I don’t know however, is what happens to the ball after a fielder takes a catch and throws it high up in the air because it almost never returns back to the TV screen again. So where does it go in that case? A friend who works for a sports channel told me recently that such balls are electronically captured and digitised and then used to show

instant action replays and bowling delivery analyses. But I don’t know, something tells me the guy’s bluffing. Anyway, to cut a long innings short here’s another mystery for you to solve now. How’s that?

Batsman A is on 198 and at the batting end. Batsman B at the non-striker’s end is on 97. The team need three runs to win with the last two balls of the last over to be bowled: No no-balls, wides or extras are to be conceded. Problem: Batsman A has to get his double century, Batsman B his century and the team should win the match. How? (Submitted by U N Murthy,, who has played cricket at university level and in league matches)



(The problem was: “What is unusual about the following words: Revive, Banana, Grammar, Voodoo, Assess, Potato, Dresser And Uneven?”)

Gotcha, Mr Mukul Sharma! All these words become a palindrome when the first letter of the word is removed and placed at the end of the word. I found your column a few months ago and find it a fascinating read! A refresher course for the neurons! -- Dr Bharathi Visveswaran, (It becomes a palindrome if you just remove the first letter -- MS)

The answer is that all the words have a set of letters and the same letters in reverse order. Revive: evi-ive; Banana: ana-ana; Grammar: ram-mar; Voodoo: ood-doo; Assess: sse-ess; Potato: ota-ato; Dresser: res-ser; Uneven: nev-ven. -- Hema Parthasarathy,

(Among the first five who also got it correct are: Advaithram Ravichandran,; Venkat Ragavan,; Harishanker Menon,; Dr Vinayak Shukla,; Ayan Joshi,, along with S R Raghuram, who added the word “Prefer” to the list.)

(No one got all eight definitions of some common things which a lot of us don’t even think have names. For example:)

(1) Tines; (2) Ferrule; (3) Aglet; (4) Field; (5) Punt; (6) Harp; (7) Lazy Susan; (8) Planter’s chair. -- J Vaseekhar Manuel,

(1) Tines; (2) Ferrule; (3) Aglet; (4) Exergue; (5) Punt; (6) Skeleton; (7) Lazy Susan; (8) Planter’s Armchair. -- Ramakrishna Bhogadi, (The correct answer is: Tines; Ferrule; Aglet; Exergue; Punt; Harp; Lazy Susan and, finally,  something that can’t be printed in a family newspaper but the first word is Roorkee and the next word’s first letter is F with eight letters in between before ending in an r. Don’t believe me -- look it up.)

(The third problem was: “If you rip out a page from a book and crumple it and then lay the crumpled wad back in the book, why would at least one point on the page be directly over its original position?)

This is known as  the Brouwer fixed  point  theorem in topology. The theorem states that a continuous function from an N-ball  into an N-ball must  have a fixed  point. Accordingly, when a top sheet is crumpled and placed on the top of another sheet, there must be at least one point on the top sheet that is directly above the corresponding  point on the bottom sheet. -- Narayana Murty Karri, (A cooler way to demonstrate this is to take a map of a country and lay it on a table inside

that country. There will always be a point on the map which will be on top of the same point of the country. -- MS)



1. It’s possible to prove the base angles of an isosceles triangle are  equal without using any construction. How?

2. Everyone knows a compass doesn’t point towards the north geographical pole. However, it doesn’t point towards the north magnetic pole either. So where does it point?


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


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