Thursday, March 13, 2014

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 9, 2014): It's All Greek to Me

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Mar 9, 2014): It's All Greek to Me:
Q: Take the name of a classical Greek mathematician and re-arrange the letters in his name to spell two numbers. What are they?

A: DIOPHANTUS --> THOUSAND + PI
P.S. We discussed Diophantine Equations 5 years ago.

146 comments:

  1. Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via a chain of thought, or an internet search) before the deadline of Thursday at 3pm ET. If you know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here.

    You may provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the Thursday deadline. Thank you.

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  3. "When in Rome... Don't ridicule the Greek.

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  4. I met a Greek playwright once. He was trying to make a point and for some reason yanked on one of my pants legs. So I gestured towards his trousers and warned, “Euripides I rippa doze.”

    Chuck

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    Replies
    1. Chuck,
      That is tearrible. (sic).

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    2. I'm curious, Blaine. If, last week, I had used the clue: "this character is the opposite of joseph mengele" i'e: "nazi dr." you would have deleted?

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    3. And when he took his pants to the dry cleaner he asked "Eumenides?"

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    4. You all must know that this was made into a Hollywood movie years ago starring Rip Torn.

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    5. No further intearrogation necessary, sdb, as I know this is your tearritory.

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    6. You mean Rip Torn in "Rent"? Also starring Ted Shred [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1061716/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1], V. Mangle [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3642396/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1] and Terry the dog [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1206094/].

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    7. Shit, I was thinking too small: I guessed Zenodorus (zero, un, dos). I figured zero wasn't a number so that it still worked...sorta. I always put in some kind of guess cuz occasionally I reject something as impossibly lame and bogus and then it turns out to be right.

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  5. I am reminded of a famous novel, play, movie and musical.

    Chuck

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    Replies
    1. So am I. At last you are being quite lucid.

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    2. And I have another answer, honest.

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  6. Got it. Perceptive clue from the tail end of last week. Wish I was back in algebra class!

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    Replies
    1. Algebristas trump baristas most days, except when the clock springs ahead.

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  7. I posted on Sun Mar 09, at 07:02:00 AM PDT on last week's thread:

    Wikipedia's Chronology of ancient Greek mathematicians page gives a list of 36, but none of them seem promising. I wouldn't be surprised if one or both of the number names either begin with "minus" or include some non-natural numbers like e, pi, or phi (a name of the golden ratio).

    Anyway, this Thursday I will post something like this:

    ──┬───┬───┬───┬───┬───┬───┬───┬───┬───┬──
    ══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪══
    ──┼───┼───┼───┴───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼──
    ──┼───┴───┼───────┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼──
    ──┼───────┼───────┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼──
    ──┼───────┼───────┼───┼───┼───┴───┼───┼──
    ──┼───────┼───────┴───┼───┼───────┼───┼──
    ──┼───────┴───────────┼───┼───────┼───┼──
    ──┼───────────────────┼───┼───────┴───┼──
    ──┼───────────────────┼───┼───────────┴──
    ──┼───────────────────┴───┼──────────────
    ──┼───────────────────────┴──────────────
    ──┴──────────────────────────────────────

    Ok, what I post on Thursday won't look quite as nice as this, but it should look pretty good!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Apropos of this week's cartoon (but not this week's solution), many other Indo-European languages have a special word for the non-hypotenuse sides of a right triangle: Katheten, cathètes, катеты for German, French Russian, respectively. English just calls them the "other two sides" in the familiar statement of the Pythagorean theorem.

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    Replies
    1. Au contraire. We call them "legs."

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    2. As long as you know how to use them.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Here is a side trivia challenge. The names of two U.S. state capitals end with the same 8 letters. What are these two capitals. If you give up, see the answer HERE

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    Replies
    1. Sorry. It's Indianapolis and Annapolis, so the last eight letters do not match.

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    2. Side trivia challenge answer: Cathètes? ;-)

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    3. Side trivia joke: Why did the chicken cross the road?

      A: To get to the cathètes.

      Thanks, Ken.

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    4. My deleted comment had something to do with Pythagoras soaking his toe, but I messed up on you're/your.

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    5. We are a forgiving crowd, Paul.

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    6. Yes, W, we are forgiving (except sometimes when it comes to WS).

      And, ron, having a pair of capitals with the final seven letters matching is still an impressive piece of trivia. A three-way light bulb glowed above my head as I solved it. Incidentally, a classic Greek mathemetician who pioneered windflow formulae and enlessly (sic) overlapping logical circles (not to be confused with circular logic) was named Rhevenetes.

      Puzzle hint: Somewhere, I hear the sound of two big parades clashing, resulting in an additional case of bone trauma, while the cymbals, bringing up the rear, remained golden in their ear-salving silence.

      LegoLogic

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  11. It would be most appropriate to submit this answer after the deadline.

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    1. So, how much after is acceptable?

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    2. Tomorrow (Fri 14 March) is Pi Day.

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    3. good, I am hungry! Can get it all in before the ides

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  12. Most interestingly, the answer to this puzzle is not a solution to what the mathematician is best known for.

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  13. Take a number and a classical Greek mathematician, scramble, and get another number. It's dirty, but I like it.

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  14. The Puzzle this week was as easy as 1, 2, 3!

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  15. I really wanted Zenodorus to work, but it only yields "Sour Dozen" -- the Clooney/Pitt heist movie they will make as unhappy geezers.

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    Replies
    1. Or happy bread bakers rising from starter.

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  16. Replies
    1. ron,
      No. Not a typical landing. Raises many questions that are not addressed. Lots of chatter about the age of the pilot, but not a word about the experience level of the jumper who is fairly old compared to most skydivers. This has me wondering if he is new to the sport and landing off target. He is coming in very close to the power lines and this is very dangerous. Also I want to know why he was landing on a runway. Was this the only runway, or secondary? It looks to me like this jumper was perhaps jumping alone and his spot was off and he was trying to make it back. If you look you can see there is nothing to land safely on from where he is coming from. We do not land on runways. The news reporters keep saying he was lifted by the plane about 75 feet above the ground. Any fool can see this is bogus. It is amazing they survived. Don't do this at home.

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    2. I'm surprised by how little damage the plane appeared to suffer. The pix almost look faked.

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    3. jan,
      I too thought the plane would suffer greater damage as I was seeing the photos for the first time, but I now see it differently as I learn more about it. I at first thought he might be taking off, but reports say he was coming in to touch down. I don't trust the reports to be accurate though. Anyway we have become used to seeing modern cars all crumpled in from front end collisions now they are designed that way. This plane is very old technology and design and is not built to crumple. Air speed and dropping distances were not great either. The pilot must have been wearing an added shoulder harness.

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    4. Yeah, but even so, the stall speed on a Cessna 170 (that's what it looks like to me) is around 50 mph, which means a fair amount of kinetic energy. It looks like snagging the chute by the right wing pretty much stopped it in it's tracks, and that wing isn't even wrinkled. I'll bet that plane flies again. Hopefully, with a pilot who can notice a big, colorful chute in front of him!

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    5. And it happened on National Parachuting Safety Day. . .

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    6. To be fair, the jumper was approaching at right angles, likely making it difficult for the pilot to see him until too late. I have not been to this DZ and that makes it hard to know the answers to several questions I have regarding this jumper. No one is mentioning that he should have been aware of this plane, which is a 170, coming in, but I think the jumper is not very experienced. It is not unheard of for a jumper to land on a runway, especially a green jumper, but they are taught to get off immediately. Of course it did not get that far in this case, so the jumper should have been far more aware and turned away before it came to this.

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  17. I only hope the answer I came up with is incorrect, otherwise the puzzle challenge is going down the drain. It works out though.

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  18. I shook the tree and down came 68 buckeye nuts.

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    1. zeke creek, could you expand on that please?

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  19. Being from Dixie I learned to zero in on obscurity. 'Sides that it is all with which I had to work.

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    1. Very very baaaaaaad, zeke creek. Guess I ought to have guessed Theon since he was Hypatia's dad and all three, including Diophantus, were of Alexandria. Your buckeye clue left me scratching my head!

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  20. I can't stomach the intended answer.

    How about Euclid = due + CLI? Vorrei che il puzzle fosse in italiano.

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    1. This was one of my answers I came up with last Sunday. "When in Rome...

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    2. Add on that other Greek guy I mentioned before and avoid going to the doctor.
      I was good at math once upon a time but preferred Greek God watching many more times than focusing on Greek Geeks ( I now say with great affection)

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    3. Ecoarchitect - Una soluzione elegante e una bella frase usando il congiuntivo imperfetto. Complimenti!

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  21. I think I may now have the intended answer, but I still have a slight reservation.

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  22. by next week this puzzle will be forgotten

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  23. @EA
    Try eating first, or perhaps a glass of milk. That should help the gut big time.

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  24. Would Archimedes be considered a mathematicians?

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    1. We're down with that, Matthew. Among other things, also.

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  25. Or rather, could someone lend a hint as to the lifetime of the mathmatician

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    1. Using the list cited above, I'd say 624 BC - 540 AD, Or, as Word Woman might say, the Holocene epoch.

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    2. But don't confuse him with Aristotle Onassis. He was much later, but boy could that Grecian Urn.

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    3. sdb,
      That reminds me of a newspaper photo caption from the 1970s that I swear is true, although I cannot find it online via google (so, of course, it cannot be true). Oddsmaker Jimmy the Greek Snyder was a regular on CBS’s Sunday NFL pregame show (The NFL Today, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM-_jtsCGX4 ) and was much in the news. Some photog snapped him placing a bet on the ponies or playing poker at a casino or something gambly anyway. Anyway, the headline read: “Odds, to a Grecian, earn”. The ’70s were really strange.

      jan,
      Old business, but kilokudos to you for your JONAH Hill/A JOHN response to last week’s puzzle., which Will mentioned on air as an interesting alternative answer (without giving you due credit, alas).

      From your last-week posts, I realize you were aware of the “correct” SANDRA/NASA DR. response. I was not. I was convinced my awful, awkward LEONARDO/NO LOADER (the evil twin to LEONARDO/DEAL DOER) was a sure lapel-pin winner. Even with its abbreviational “shortcomings” (as WW put it), I finally realized that NASA DR./SANDRA was likely Will’s intended answer only after our weekly Thursday noon PST bean-spilling. (Some people cry over spilt beans; in Blainesville, we gloat over them. “Look out, here comes tomorrow!” -- Monkees, circa mid-1960s, another weird decade)

      Matthew Duck, good to have aboard.

      LegoLoaderNo

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    4. Lego,
      I can easily believe your Jimmy The Greek story. I never paid much attention to him, but did hear news about his comments frequently. I have always thought it was very wrong for them to fire him for answering the question that was put to him. I have no idea if he was a racist, but I did not think his answer was anything more than what he thought was the answer to that question. PC way out of control in my opinion.

      Odds are some of us won't agree with Will's puzzle answer come Sunday. I still think my answer to last week's puzzle is viable and sticks to the parameters of the question asked. Had he asked us to answer with the job or profession then I would agree with his answer more and not mine at all.

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    5. But getting back to Onassis, a friend of mine who is a movie memorabilia archivist came across a photo of Onassis outside the mansion where Buster Keaton used to live, staring at it intently. He captioned it "Aristotle Contemplating the Home of Buster."

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    6. I don't think he was "staring at it intently." I suspect he was staring at it inmansionly.

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    7. My reading of Henry's comment indicates that Mr. Onassis was staring at it outmansionly.

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  26. I think the possibilities are endless.

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  27. Last week we had words which were not really words. Could it be that this week we have a number which isn't really a number?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Do you mean a conumbdrum (sic) that is unfairly stated? Therish the pot!

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    3. DIOPHANTUS >>>> PI and THOUSAND

      "I smell a rat." = "I smell a ratio."

      And speaking of Greeks, this gem "Philosophy provides the goggles with which we make sense of reality." comes from this NPR blog : PHILOSOPHY

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    4. I thought that was what Google Glass was for?

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    5. Oh, the "Algebristas" clue referred to Diophantus, often called the Father of Algebra. I have always liked that algebra means bone-setting.

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    6. Not as much as you like that calculus means pebbles, I bet.

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  28. Here is what 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.

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  29. LEO a.k.a. Leo the Mathematician. 75 and 10 are the two numbers.

    The numbers are from Classical Greek Numerals. O = 70 & E = 5 which make 75 and L = 10.

    Alternate Answer: PHILON 570 and 18 are the two numbers.

    Also from Classical Greek Numerals. PHI = 500 + O = 570 (PHIO) & LN = 18.

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  30. DIOPHANTUS -> PI, THOUSAND

    > How do you say "deja vu" in Greek?

    We just talking about pi, in the Car Talk matchstick puzzler.

    Clearly, a puzzle in honor of Pi Day tomorrow. My unoriginal contribution:

    If, inside a circle, a line
    Hits the center and runs spine-to-spine,
    And the line's length is d,
    The circumference will be
    D times 3.14159.

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    1. I suspect you have the intended answer. The moment I read the puzzle question I figured (no pun intended) Pi would be one of he numbers, but I should have used an anagram solver and I would have solved it right away. So, instead I wasted lots of time to come up with my answer, which I was not totally comfortable with, but still like anyway.

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  31. Diophantus, thousand, pi

    Last Sunday I said, “I am reminded of a famous novel, play, movie and musical.” As in PHANtom of the Opera  dioPHANtus.

    Chuck

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  32. First answer: EUCLID.

    DUE (Italian for two) (“When in Rome...)

    CLI (Roman numeral for 151) (“When in Rome...)

    Remove the first 2 letters of “ridicule,” anagram the remaining letters to yield: EUCLID.

    Chuck, “At last you are being quitE LuCID.” EL CID (+ U = EUCLID)


    Second (probably the intended) answer: THEON:

    THEON of Alexandria, or THEON of Smyrna.

    This yields: TEN & OH which, as a noun, means ZERO.

    “I have aNOTHEr answer, HONEsT.” THEON!


    Paul's puzzle: Greek mathematician + number = Theon + six = one sixth.

    WW has used her “new” profile photo of HYPATIA (the mathematician daughter of Theon of Alexandria) to hint quite cleverly at Theon as the answer to this week's challenge! Well-done.

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    1. ron, not quite that clever. I was illuminating a female Greek mathematician since Will did not include that subset in the puzzle. I am happy her dad pointed at your answer though!

      And Happy Pi Day to all tomorrow!

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    2. Actually, my intended answer was 500 + Zeno = 12.

      I suppose I could have kept quiet and rested on ron's laurels, as his answer is cleverer, but Diogenes just dropped by, and this was the only way I could convince him to stay for a drink

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    3. For that matter, ron, why not four, seven, or eight?

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    4. Yes. I had thought of fourth, seventh & eighth, but decided sixth was the most "elegant!"

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    5. For what it's worth ...
      http://discovermagazine.com/1997/nov/quantumhoneybees1263#.UyJMkT9dU1Q

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    6. Many more, eleventh, thirteenth, nineteenth, etc.

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  33. I submitted the correct answer - but I never heard of this Diophantus fellow. Thousand is a number? uh, One thousand is a number, A thousand is a number, but just thousand? Can someone use it in a sentence without using "A" or one.

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    1. Children usually like Thousand Island salad dressing. :-)

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    2. Please give me that thousand dollars you owe me, TomR. ;-)

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    3. Hail to Thee, Jersey Shore, Thou Sand-Spangled Strand!

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    4. "It" is to be expected.

      All the wise-ass remarks. ;-)

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    5. I balked at "thousand" really being a number by itself, but look it up in a dictionary and the dictionary will say it is a number, equal to 10 times 100.

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  34. DIOPHANTUS = THOUSAND + PI

    My clue was:
    "dumpsterdiveladSun Mar 09, 10:13:00 PM PDT
    The Puzzle this week was as easy as 1, 2, 3!"

    Diophantus is known for his work with polynomial equations requiring integer solutions, such as 1, 2, 3, .... They are called Diophantine Equations.

    A tip of the hat to Enya_ ... for suggesting that the number part of the answer might be PI.

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  35. My clue: re-earlier clue: Pi & "wish I was back in algebra class": Diophantus being the father of algebra.

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  36. Replies
    1. Rather impossible for this group to forget , I think, libertarianmathprofessor.

      Any thoughts on al-Khwarizmi and Diophantus? Ought we really be taking Diophan instead of Algebra?

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    2. Probably not, WW. We could take Tryptophan.

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    3. WW, are you trying to tryp me up? Or are you just being a phan?

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    4. Always a phan. You may call me Hypatia this week, sir.

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    5. Hypatia, anyone who has problems with the Christian Church can be on my team.

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    6. Oh goody, I love trypting the light phantastic!

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  37. These are my 2 bad attitude answers in response to last weeks debacle.
    Theon = ten oh
    68 buckeyes were 10-0

    Meton = one mt (megaton)
    2000000000 is the number and surely mt is a word according to the new rules. :)

    I promise to play nice next week.

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  38. Replies
    1. Zeke Creek and Uncle John, is TEN, OH, right next to NINE, OH?

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    2. I live .5 miles from Alpha, Ohio. remember words count for numbers in the new rule change.:-)

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    3. Of course the true reason I did not come up with the intended answer this week is that I spent all my time trying to make numbers into anagrams, since we recently learned that words are really anagrams and abbreviations.

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  39. For the second consecutive week, I came up with a wrong answer: EUCLID = CLI (Roman Numeral 151) and DUE (Italian for 2). Two strikes on me. Next week I’ll go down swinging.

    I knew in my heart that CLI-DUE (not to be confused with Klaatu) was probably wrong. Roman Numerals are fair game in NPR puzzles, but non-English words are understood to be verboten unless otherwise specified. This sinking feeling was cemented when ecoarchitect posted the Euclid answer on Monday, and it was not removed by the blog administrator. Never a good sign.

    The puzzle hint to my wrong response: “Somewhere, I hear the sound of two big parades clashing, resulting in an additional case of bone trauma, while the cymbals, bringing up the rear, remained golden in their ear-salving silence.”

    According to The Music Man, a big parade is led by 76 trombones. Two big parades clashing into one other would result in 152-trombones’-worth of carnage (brassage?), plus one “additional case of bone trauma (traum-bona),” for a total of 153 = CLI + DUE. Ironically, the cymbals, far from, and unaffected by, the head-on impact, do not clash.

    RoRo,
    I like your Roman/Greek (?) mathematician, Venexystis (6, 70) better than my feeble attempt, Rhevenetes (3, 7). Venexystis tis a fitting mathematician’s name: Venus is the Roman goddess of love; love means zero in tennis. And xysts tis a high-scoring Scrabble word, big number.
    Lego…

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    Replies
    1. lego, I didn't understand much of your clue but zeroed in on "bone trauma" and figured you got the bone-setting algebra connection to Diophantus.

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    2. W,
      Don’t those little unintentional cluing serendipities seem to pop up on this blog more often than the law of averages should allow? My clue to my wrong answer unwittingly provides an oblique clue to the correct answer, just because two big bands’-worth of trombones fell one short of 153. Isn’t life grand!

      Congrats, W. Your suggestion about putting a space before the equal sign in the HTML href worked for the Klaatu link above. I am happy. Thanks.

      LegoSerendipitydoodah

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    3. Lego,
      His father was Roman and his mother was Greek. He had a sister named Silvexhas who was famous for bearing triplets.

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    4. Great day for an epiphany, lego.

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  40. Diophantus

    ──D───I───O───P───H───A───N───T───U───S──
    ══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪═══╪══
    ──┼───┼───┼───P───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼─P
    ──┼───I───┼───────┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼─I
    ──┼───────┼───────┼───┼───┼───┼───┼───┼──
    ──┼───────┼───────┼───┼───┼───T───┼───┼─T
    ──┼───────┼───────H───┼───┼───────┼───┼─H
    ──┼───────O───────────┼───┼───────┼───┼─O
    ──┼───────────────────┼───┼───────U───┼─U
    ──┼───────────────────┼───┼───────────S─S
    ──┼───────────────────A───┼─────────────A
    ──┼───────────────────────N─────────────N
    ──D─────────────────────────────────────D

    Pi & Thousand

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  41. Could someone please explain Pi to me? I have gone round and round trying to understand it, but it just seems to be a circular argument.

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    Replies
    1. ... And what's with all this "pi are square" nonsense? Pi are round. Cornbread are square.

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  42. 1.8×10⁵ ° = 1000π radians
    This puzzle reminded me of the time a professor in a water power engineering class suggested to an undergraduate "Sheldon Cooper" that integrals were overkill for a particular problem, and that Pappus's (Alexandrian like Diophantus) second theorem was adequate. That was a good day in a time dominated by slide rules, tables, and nomograms.

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    Replies
    1. Sci Fri Pi discussion today echoed this thought, hugh. Did anyone try the toothpick dropping method of approximating pi?

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  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  44. Happy Π Day! Have a pi-nt or a piece of pi-neapple pi-e on me. Dress up as a pi-rate or a pi-lot and dream a pi-le of pi-pe dreams.

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    Replies
    1. ron, have you recently celebrated, or are you about to celebrate, a birthday? Just curious.

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    2. Recently celebrated one...

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    3. Pisces then...Happy belated! Was that your thought, Paul?

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  45. Next week's challenge: The challenge comes from listener Carol Highland of Ephrata, Wash. Take the brand name of a popular grocery item, written normally in upper- and lower-case letters. Push two consecutive letters together, without otherwise changing the name in any way. The result will name a make of car. What is it?

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    Replies
    1. God knows! (OK, cue the music . . . )

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    2. Another labyrinthine puzzle.

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  46. I had another answer that I'm wondering if anyone else considered. Rho (greek numeral 100) + e (mathematical constant) = Hero (of Alexandria). I didn't submit it to NPR and it wasn't mentioned on air but I'm curious if it is also correct.

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  47. @Kirstin - As Self-Appointed General Arbiter of Everything, I pronounce your solution perfectly valid, better than the two alternative answers Will Shortz gave, and quite possibly even better than the answer Will had in mind.

    (Like, how did you even know that rho was the symbol for 100?)

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