Saturday, May 20, 2017

Number Words

In the solution to A Unique Number, I asked a bonus question. "Can you think of a number whose letters when spelled out in English are all in alphabetical order?" Several people replied via Twitter with the correct answer of "forty." You may have found a shortcut to the solution if you noted that none of the single-digit numbers have their letters in alphabetical order, nor does the word "teen." This allows you to skip ahead to 20, 30, etc. Can you use a similar strategy to answer the following questions?
  • What is the lowest number that requires the five vowels A, E, I, O, and U only once each in its spelling?
  • What is the lowest number that requires the six letters A, E, I, O, U, and Y only once each in its spelling?
Click below to see the answers.


Tim Kington said...

I tend to not give word problems a chance, because often there isn't a systematic way to attack them. This is a good one.

Bill the Lizard said...

Thanks, Tim. I have the same tendency. A lot of the word problems I read feel more like riddles than logic puzzles, and I try to stick to the latter.

Hughes Hilton said...

I was always taught that you aren't supposed to say the word "and" when pronouncing numbers unless you were denoting a decimal point or fraction (thus "two hundred six" rather than "two hundred AND six"). By this logic, I had to skip straight to thousands in order to get an A which meant my answers to the questions were FIVE THOUSAND and SIX THOUSAND TWENTY.

Bill the Lizard said...


Great answer! I wonder if there are languages where there are no valid answers? I've had people bring this up before with word problems. They don't always translate well.

Thanks for posting an alternate solution.