Reservoir Running

Amy and Phyllis are standing at opposite points on a round pond on the path that circles the pond at its edge. At the same time, they start racing around the pond in opposite directions. They meet for the first time after Phyllis has traveled 100 yards, and they meet again 60 yards before Amy has completed her first lap. What is the circumference of the path around the pond?

Continue reading

Jessamine Bush

Here is a problem allegedly proposed by ancient Hindu mathematicians: The square root of half the number of bees in a swarm has flown out upon a jessamine bush; 8/9 of the whole swarm has remained behind; and one female bee flies about a male that is buzzing within a lotus flower into which he was lured in the night by its sweet scent, but is now imprisoned in it. Tell me the number of the bees in the swarm.

Continue reading

Dorothy Eggs

Dorothy and Toto were carefully driving their small veggie-oil-powered truck containing three baskets of eggs to market, when a car going at full speed collided with the truck. Dorothy was unhurt, but Toto got a broken leg. The eggs were destroyed. The car’s driver admitted his responsibility and offered to pay for the eggs. Dorothy said he must pay Toto’s vet bill too. The driver, aghast, asked, “Toto too?” Dorothy compromised and said she’d pay half the vet bill if the driver could answer a simple problem for her:

The number of eggs was somewhere between 50 and 100. If they were counted out 2 at a time or 3 at a time, none would remain at the end. But if they were counted out 5 at a time, there would be 3 left over.

The driver was required to say how many eggs there had been in the baskets. What answer would get him off the hook for the full vet bill?

Continue reading

Horse, Mule, Golden Trinkets

A horse and a mule were traveling together heavily laden with bags of golden trinkets. After a time, the mule complained to the horse that his load was too heavy. “What’s the matter?” said the horse. “You shouldn’t complain, for had I taken one of your bags I would have had to carry twice as many bags as you. On the other hand, if you agreed to take one of mine, we’d have the same number of bags.” How many bags did each have?

Continue reading