Join the Car Talk Community!

Math of Ages

The Puzzler


RAY: And the reason it happens is that when you take a number like 1, 2, 3, or 4, 5, 6, or 7, 2, 1, and multiply it by a thousand and one, you wind up with the same number repeated. So if you start with 4, 5, 6, and multiply that by 1,001, you get 4, 5, 6, 4, 5, 6, don't you?


RAY: And then all you're doing now is dividing it by the factors of 1,001. Which happen to be, some of which happen to be, 7, 11, and 13. So I knew you weren't going to come out with any remainders.

TOM: You little devil, you.

RAY: And that's the reason it works, no matter what the three numbers are. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Wow, geez. I can see it. Mathematics professors all over the country, giving their little students this problem. Boy oh boy oh boy. And have I got a rant and rave about mathematics. I'll discuss it with you later. But, yes, we do have a winner. The winner is Jim Hanlon from where, Anchorage, Alaska? Wow.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile


Rocket Fuel