Monthly Archives: November 2013

Puzzle #25: Nonsense

Start with 10. If tomatoes are a fruit, add 5; if not, add 3. If prinna foet yong, multiply by 2; if not, add 6. If haronnasark ipset blinda, multiply by 2; if not, add 2. If yanna op decidand, add 3; if not, add 2. If rezan orsha dem, multiply by 3; if not, multiply by 2. Is your result prime?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #23 Solution: Leaves

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

The Fine Dividing Line

One of the differences between those of us who program computers and those who do not is how we deal with categorising. Which side of the line are you on?

Some things are easy to define. An enclave is land that is entirely surrounded by land that belongs to a different entity. For example, a city might be entirely surrounded by a county and not be part of the county. The county has a hole in it. It is very easy to see whether or not a piece of land is an enclave.

Suppose though that the land is almost surrounded by land of another entity. What exactly is meant by “almost”? If the land were surrounded on 350 degrees? How about 270? 181? At some point, it is definitely not “almost”, but where exactly is that point? Sometimes, it is arbitrary. We still have to know.

Often, we programmer types have to account for every case. That includes these picky cases. Please do not tell us that it never happens. “never” happens way too often in programming. If we do not cover the unusual cases and one of them happens, we take it on the neck. The next time you get asked about one of these picky cases, have some mercy and consider our question.

Odd Language #21: Her Monday

From a USENET post: “I knew I shouldn’t have thought about her Monday.”

The issue: “I knew I shouldn’t have thought about her Monday.” Should it be “I knew I shouldn’t have thought about her on Monday.” or I knew I shouldn’t have thought about how her Monday went.”? Either one could be what was intended.

Puzzle #24: Dice

The sum of two six-sided dice rolled together is used in many games for moves. Some games use other die roll combinations for various purposes. For many of these, it is fairly easy to figure out their distributions and averages. Some are a bit more difficult. Like this puzzle’s.

What is the average of best three out of four six-sided dice rolled together? (Roll four six-sided dice and take the sum of the three highest dice. If there is a tie for lowest value, just disregard only one of the dice.)

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #22 Solution: Mystery Number

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow