I’m finally getting caught up on my e-mail; I need to quit spending so much time away from home. One of the things I used to enjoy back in junior high (before they invented middle schools) was that one of our local newspaper columnists would throw in a math problem from time to time.

I’ve pulled 3 problems off the Internet and reworded them slightly to make it harder to find the answers with Google. The answers will come in the next post.

- A guy goes to a hardware store to buy a common item found in any hardware store. He asks the clerk what 1 costs – 20 cents. 12 would cost 40 cents, and 128 would cost 60 cents. What was he buying?
- When a mathematician asks a second mathematician the ages of the second’s three children, he answers that the product of their ages is 72 and the sum is equal to the number of dollars he pulls from his billfold. The first mathematician comments that the information is insufficient to solve the problem, and the second adds that his oldest child likes butterscotch, and the answer is then obvious.
- Fred and George have just met Hannah, and they want to know when her birthday is. Hannah gives them a list of 10 possible dates, shown in tabular format:

May |
15 |
16 |
19 |
|||

June |
17 |
18 |
||||

July |
14 |
16 |
||||

August |
14 |
15 |
17 |

Hannah then tells Fred the month and George the day of her birthday. Fred: I don’t know when Hannah’s birthday is, but I also know that George doesn’t either.

George: At first I didn’t know Hannah’s birthday, but now I do.

Fred: Then I also know her birthday.

So when is Hannah’s birthday?”

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