Getting to 100

Mar 19, 2007

RAY: This is mathematical in nature. I want you to get a pencil and write down the numbers, 1 - 9, inclusive, and leave enough space between them. At your disposal you have one plus sign and two minus signs. You can insert those plus and minus signs wherever you want, to make the total come out to 100. In other words, if you were to put an equal sign after the 9, you want to be able to write 100 after it. Now I'll give you an example, you could do 12 + 345 - 89. It doesn't work, but you get the idea. You can't change the order. You can't monkey with the plus or minus signs. You've got one plus sign and two minus signs, you can put them any place you want, and the total has to equal 100. What's the equation?
RAY: As far as I know this is the only answer, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say, this is the only answer. I defy anyone to come up with a different answer.

TOM: Oh.

RAY: There'll be 500 emails before the show ends, and here's the answer I got. 123 minus 45 minus 67 plus 89.

TOM: Really? That adds up to 100?

RAY: Well, 99 anyway. It's close enough. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yah. Our winner is Joan Crawford.

RAY: Joan Crawford.

TOM: From Mendham, New Jersey. And for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, both of them, Joan gets a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at with which she can get a copy of our most recent CD, which features funny stories we've told on the air over the years. It's called, 'Once Upon a Car Fire,' and it's yours if you want it, Joan, for being this week's puzzler winner, and a fabulous actress besides, I might add.

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