##### May 26, 2009

**RAY:**This was sent in recently by Jihad Adwan and it's a simple mathematical puzzler though if you tried you could go way off track with it.

I'm going to give you the numbers, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Now you can use each number only once in any kind of mathematical operation you see fit. And, whatever operation you use, you can also use that operation only once.

And when you do whatever you do with these operations -- addition, subtraction, parentheses, square root, etc--- you must end up with the number 26.

I'll give you an example. You could have 5 times 4 over 2, in parentheses, plus 3. Now that would be wrong because that equals 13, but you get the idea.

Answer:

**RAY:**Here's the answer. The equation is four minus three, plus, five to the second power or rather five squared. Four minus three is one, five squared is 25, and that comes out to 26, I believe.

**TOM:**Simple to me.

**RAY:**Well, simple now that you know the answer. You didn't know the answer because what? You didn't even know the question. Who's our winner?

**TOM:**The winner is Michael McKenzie from San Francisco, California. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Michael's going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which Michael can get one of our Car Talk Father's Day gifts.

**RAY:**Congratulations, Michael!