Sunday, March 9, 2014

Reminds Me of a Joke About Economists...

Here's this week's NPR Puzzle:
Take the name of a classical Greek mathematician and re-arrange the letters in his name to spell two numbers. What are they?
To state the puzzle in another way: Take the names of two numbers, put them together, and find an anagram of the result that names a classical Greek mathematician. Who is the mathematician and what are the numbers?
I've set Ross onto this while I write the blog. That's teamwork, right? [Edited to add: Solved.]

The joke: You can lay the world's economists end to end around the Equator and they still won't reach a conclusion. (Translation from the original Greek: Math is easier.)

Here's my unhelpful hint: Wikipedia's page on Greek Mathematics has a LONG list of Greek Mathematicians (or "Mathemagicians" as Ross called them) at the very bottom of the page. Enjoy.

And when you get the answer, send it in here to NPR's Contact Us page, which does not anagram to anything interesting.

Photo section is clueless today. Frankly, I had my work cut out just finding Greek statues with no naughty bits. I had no hope of finding any Greek mathematicians among Flickr's statuary. Oh, and if you have a pair of 3-D glasses left over from last's week's GRAVITY puzzle, try them on Photo #2!

Time for
This is where we ask you how many entries you think NPR will get for the challenge above. If you want to win, leave a comment with your guess for the range of entries NPR will receive. First come first served, so read existing comments before you guess. Or skip the comments and send an email with your pick to Magdalen (at) Crosswordman (dot) com. Ross and I guess last, just before we publish the Thursday post. After the Thursday post is up, the entries are closed. The winner gets a puzzle book of our choosing or a contribution in the winner's honor to the Red Cross.

This week, the NPR Intern gladdened my heart by specifying "over 240." No one won, which may gladden Ross's heart as he's too busy working on our taxes to be charitable. By the way, when picking this week's range, you may take into consideration the fact that Ross hasn't solved it yet. He says, therefore, that it's hard. YMMV.

Here are the ranges:
Fewer than 50       
51 - 100
101 - 150
151 - 200
201 - 250
251 - 300
301 - 350
351 - 400
401 - 450
451 - 500

501 - 550
551 - 600
601 - 650
651 - 700
701 - 750
751 - 800
801 - 850
851 - 900
901 - 950
951 - 1,000
1,001 - 1,050         
1,051 - 1,100
1,101 - 1,150
1,151 - 1,200
1,201 - 1,250
1,251 - 1,300
1,301 - 1,350
1,351 - 1,400
1,401 - 1,450
1,451 - 1,500

1,501 - 1,550
1,551 - 1,600
1,601 - 1,650
1,651 - 1,700
1,701 - 1,750
1,751 - 1,800
1,801 - 1,850
1,851 - 1,900
1,901 - 1,950
1,951 - 2,000
2,001 - 2,050
2,051 - 2,100
2,101 - 2,150
2,151 - 2,200
2,201 - 2,250
2,251 - 2,300
2,301 - 2,350
2,351 - 2,400
2,401 - 2,450
2,451 - 2,500

2,501 - 2,750
2,751 - 3,000
3,001 - 3,250
3,251 - 3,500
3,501 - 4,000
4,001 - 4,500
4,501 - 5,000

More than 5,000
More than 5,000 and it sets a new record.
Our tie-break rule:   In the event that a single round number is announced with a qualifier such as "about" or "around" (e.g., "We received around 1,200 entries."), the prize will be awarded to the entrant who picked the range including that precise number, e.g., 551 - 600 wins if the announced range is "around 600." We retain the discretion to award the prize to an entrant who picked the adjacent range (e.g., 601-650) if that entrant had not already won a prize. In the event that both entrants had won a prize already or neither had, then to the earlier of the two entries on the famous judicial principle of "First Come First Serve," (or in technical legal jargon, "You Snooze, You Lose").  As of January, 2014, this rule is officially even more complicated than it's ever been, but at least it's consistent with what we actually do.. 


Maggie Strasser said...

Math IS hard!
I choose the 301-350 range please.

Anonymous said...

I have an answer, and I suspect it may be the intended answer, but I don't like it. I don't like the number with the greater number of letters in its spelling.

It was the number with fewer letters that I suspected would be there and which led to the solution.

I'll take 251-300, please.


Sarah said...

Well, I don't usually get the puzzles but I got this one pretty quickly so I'll guess 1001-1050.

Anonymous said...

I think it is safe to say that most players were less estatic about last week's puzzle than the PM.

I hope it is not too much of a hint to express my surprise that so little of the alphabet is needed to spell numbers.

Phil doesn't like the longer number word and I don't like the shorter one.
This means, at least, that there are two answers and that always lowers the Range.
I'll go with 151-200 please.

No name box on offer again.

Mendo Jim

Paul said...

Mendo Jim:
Maybe you and Phil just dislike different things.

Blog Administrators:
3,001 - 3,250 -- charity, please.

Word Woman said...

701-750 please.

Word Woman said...

And that's Hypatia of Alexandria. I thought we ought to at least mention her among the classical Greek mathematicians.

David said...

201 to 250, please, Red Cross.

zeke creek said...

Awe...Big T's lil' baby girl. Ain't she cute. 351-400, please.

Anonymous said...

Mendo Jim,

Actually, your response makes me believe we have the same two numbers in mind. I can see why some might object to the number with the shorter name. But can you see why I might like it?


Mendo Jim said...

Phil: Nope. The longer of the number names I have is without taint, not so the shorter.
It doesn't pay to expect rigor from Dr. S. I suspect at least one of his "numbers" will be a name for a grouping, not a number.

EKW said...

I submitted a solution on Sunday that in consistent with
Mendo Jim's comment. If you look at the problems that
The NYT reports from the Momath event that Will ran in 2012, you can get an idea of the variety and complexity of the problems he poses . This in turn is a clue about
what kinds of mathematical constructs WS includes in
his definition of a number. Then some of the shorter "first" names on the list of Greek mathematicians provide a possible answer.

My guess is 251-300. Your favorite charity will be fine.

Joe Kupe said...

Less than three hours to go and we are still struggling for an answer! 401 to 450 please.

EKW said...

Here is the answer I submitted on Sunday.

Zeno is the Greek mathematician. The numbers are "one" and "z". The number "z = x + i y " is the usual notation for an arbitrary complex number.