New Math on the Home Front

Feb 14, 2005

RAY: This puzzler was sent in by Paul Mulick. He writes,

"As a stay-at-home dad, I spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning. My four-year old daughter, Melynn, is at that stage where she always likes to lend a hand. So I usually give her some simple task to do. After all, if her two older brothers are any indication, in a few short years she won't lift a finger to help around the house.

"Now, Melynn knows her numbers, but she's still too young to understand math. The other day while we were making brownies, we had a conversation that went something like this. She said, "Daddy, is 60 more than 30?"

Yes", I said. "60 is more than 30."

She asked, "Is 60 more than a hundred?"

I said, "No, 60 and a hundred are the same."

"Oh." she thought. "How about 90? Is 90 more than a hundred?"

I answered, "Yes, 90 is more than a hundred."

All of my answers were correct. The question is, what were we doing?

RAY: They were melting chocolate in the microwave. If you enter one-0-0, the next number that comes up is 59.

If you put in 90 the next number is 89.

TOM: So 90 is bigger than 100.

RAY: Right. 90 is a minute and a half and 100 is a minute. So, who's our winner this week?

TOM: The winner this week is Carl Eschelbach from Deer Park, Illinois. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Carl is going to get a 26 dollar ngift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at Car, with which he can get a Car Talk Plaza baseball shirt.

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