Non census

Problem 198 — You often have to read between the lines before the numbers start to speak for themselves, as this month’s problem by T.L. Parasuram of Oklahoma City demonstrates.

It was 4:45 p.m. on a hot July day; and, down at City Hall, census-taker Barney McBean had one more form to tally. Unfortunately it belonged to Montescue Blabb IV, the town’s most prominent senior citizen and pain in the neck. Rather than state his age, Mr. Blabb wrote the following:

“There are two other people and myself living in my house. If you multiply our ages together, the product is 1,296. The sum of our ages is equal to my house number.”

McBean glanced at the return envelope to get the house address, grinned, and opened his new laptop computer. Blabb’s nonsense was not going to make him miss the 5:00 p.m. train. Five minutes later, McBean glanced at the computer screen and swore an oath. He needed more information for a unique solution. He picked up the phone and dialed Blabb’s number.

“Why you shifty octogenarian! You don’t fool me! Why can’t you just write your age down like a normal person!” “My dear sir, how dare you call me ancient,” retorted Blabb. “I have yet to see 80 revolutions of the earth!” How old were the three people in Blabb’s house?

Send your answer to:

Fun With Fundamentals
1100 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114-2543

Deadline is Oct. 10th. Good luck!

Technical consultant, Jack Couillard, Menasha, Wis.

Solution to last month’s problem 197

— You know your limits if you answered 56.2 in. for the pipe diameter. Here’s how Bluff was fit to be tied.

Let x = radius of pipe, in.

The outer diameter is 2x, or 56.2 in. Bluff started a half-price sale on his special delivery service!