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Preview: Blaine's Puzzle Blog

Blaine's Puzzle Blog

Weekly discussion on the NPR puzzler, brain teasers, math problems and more.

Updated: 2018-04-21T00:36:22.975-07:00


Friday Fun - Happy Halloween!


(image) As part of our annual Halloween tradition, we come up with a "family theme" for our costumes. This year we went as the Characters from Clue. We entered in to two local Halloween costume contests and in both we won first place for the group category. In addition, we won a special trophy for "Best In Show".

Take a look at our costumes for this year and years past

U.S. Timezone Conundrum


Wendy lives in a state that is on the West Coast. Edward, on the other hand, lives in a state that is on the East Coast. One day Wendy calls from her home and finds Edward also at home.

"Hey Edward, I'm not so good with timezones. I was wondering. What time is it there?"

Edward, checks his clock and reports back with the accurate time.

"That's funny," says Wendy. "It's exactly the same time here."

Where do Wendy and Edward live and how can this be?

Can you turn 2008 into 73?


Okay, here's another puzzle in the 2008 series. Can you use the digits in 2008 to form an expression that will equal 73.

If you need the full instructions, check the prior puzzle which had a different target result but the same rules.

2008 Math Expression Puzzle

Can you turn 2008 into 97?


Come on all you genius puzzlers... I'm sure you can solve the on-going challenge from last week.

In case you missed it, here is the link:
Use the digits in 2008 to form an expresion that will equal 97

A Puzzle for Leap Day, 2008 -- Can you make 97?


Today is February 29, a special date that only appears on our calendars every four years. There are exceptions to this 4 year rule on century years (those ending in 00). These years are NOT leap years unless the century is evenly divisible by 400. For example, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 will NOT be. The cycle of leap years on our calendar repeats in a 400 year cycle. Within that cycle there will be 97 leap years.

All this historical information was a way to introduce this week's math puzzle.

Q: Using each of the digits in 2008 and standard math operations, can you write an expression that equals 97?
  • Each of the digits 2, 0, 0, 8 must be used. (2 and 8 will appear once, 0 will appear twice.)
  • You may use standard math operations of +, -, x, /, √(square root), ^(raise to a power) and !(factorial) along with parentheses for grouping.
  • Decimal points and multi-digit numbers may be used (e.g. 20, 208, .02 or 2.8
  • If squaring is done, that uses up the digit 2.
  • 0! is agreed to have a value of 1.
  • Anything raised to the zero power (i.e. x^0) is 1, but 0^0 may not be used (undefined)
  • The integer/floor/ceiling/round functions may NOT be used.
  • Change of bases may NOT be used.
  • Logarithms may NOT be used.
  • Sine and Cosine may NOT be used.
Edit: The answer is now available in the comments... but don't look if you still want to figure it out on your own.

Create a foldable 3-D dodecahedron calendar


I discovered a fascinating site a few years back and completely forgot about it. You've probably seen a 3-D calendar with each month on one of the faces of a dodecahedron. But have you ever wanted to print and construct your own? Ole Arntzen of Norway created a webpage that lets you pick a year, a language and a few other options and then it creates a printable template for a 12-sided calendar.

You can generate a ready-to-print PDF file, or an editable PostScript file. With a little editing of the PS file, you can add holidays, birthdays, school breaks, anniversaries, etc. Take a look!

Brain-Nexus Puzzle


I was just looking ahead in my Mind-Bending Puzzles Calendar for June 25/26th and there was a puzzle to go from Brain to Nexus... The requirement was that you connect the words so that the last two letters of one word are the first two letters of the next, and all words must be 5 letters long.

The solution given was:

My question to you is, am I the only one to notice that you can do it with a single word?

Edit: Actually I'm not because I asked my son and he came up with the same answer.