Car Talk Puzzler: Math + English =

Car Talk has a new math puzzler up that mixes math and science:

There Was an Old Man…RAY: I’m going to recite an equation and, from that, you are going to give me a limerick that consists of five lines.
TOM: Does this limerick include Nantucket or the band at the Waldorf Astoria?
RAY: No! Here it is. The numerator is 12 plus 144 plus 20 plus 3 square roots of 4, divided by a denominator of 7. Then, that whole quantity is added to 5 times 11. Finally that whole thing on the left equals 9 squared plus zero.
Now, I’m going to give the last line of the limerick, and you have to come up with the other four lines. The last line is “is 9 squared and not a bit more.”

What is the limerick?

So the equation is: A limerick is:

Limericks consist of five anapaestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of Limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 of Limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.

And a couple of examples of limericks are:

‘Tis a favourite project of mine,
A new value of pi to assign.
I would fix it at 3,
For it’s simpler, you see,
Than 3 point 1 4 1 5 9

and a classic

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his gold in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

(with more obscene varieties)

So what is the solution? A great problem to throw at the kids in your class who have strengths in subjects other than math.

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6 Responses to Car Talk Puzzler: Math + English =

  1. Avery says:

    Spoiler (maybe)?

    Take twelve plus one forty-four
    Add three plus the square root of four
    All divided by seven
    Plus five times eleven
    Is nine squared and not a bit more

    • Dan says:

      Missing the “twenty” but it’s gotta be close. Does it say anything about me that I didn’t even try to solve this?

  2. Riley says:

    Take twelve and one fourty-four
    Add three root four and a score
    All over seven
    Plus five times eleven
    is nine squared and not a bit more

  3. Dan says:

    Official Answer: found here
    A dozen, a gross, and a score,
    plus three times the square root of four.
    Divided by seven,
    plus five times 11
    is nine squared, and not a bit more.

  4. dick says:

    i submitted this and did not win:

    Two brothers from East Cambridge Mass,
    Known for car-talk and cultural class,
    Their listeners did nuzzle with an un-car-like puzzle,
    A poetic and numeric morass.

    With Bostonian elocution
    They challenged a resolution
    Of numbers bizarre
    With no talk of car.
    So here is my poetic solution:

    A dozen, a gross and a score,
    Plus three times the square root of four,
    Divided by seven
    Plus five times eleven,
    Is nine squared and not a bit more.

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