Q: If 5 = 4, 7 = 17, 9 = 25 and 35 = 2, what does 14 equal?Will Shortz admitted this is a tough puzzle. Frankly, I'd be surprised if many people are able to figure this one out. It took me all day, but I'm positive I have the right answer now.
Edit: It's after the deadline, so I can reveal my clues here. First the title indicates that you shouldn't be focusing on this as a numeric puzzle. The second sentence has another hint to the solution with the word "Frankly". The sentence also ends with word "out" and the opposite is "in". Putting that together you get "Frankly-in" or just "Franklin". There are better clues in the comments, so look through those for more details.
A: The key is first names of the U.S. presidents.
The 5th president was James Monroe. The earliest president that shared the same first name was #4 James Madison.
The 7th president was Andrew Jackson who shared his first name with #17 Andrew Johnson.
The 9th president was William Henry Harrison who shared his first name with #25 William McKinley.
The 35th president was John F. Kennedy who shared his first name with #2 John Adams.
The 14th president was Franklin Pierce who shared his first name with the 32nd president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
14 = 32