Everything Almanac

Flashback Friday: 1993 Old Farmer's Almanac Old and New Math Puzzles


For this edition of Flashback Friday, we want to give your brain a workout with a few classical or original puzzles from The 1993 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Everyday common sense and a little agility are all you’ll need; you won’t need calculus, computers, alertness to tricks, or specialized knowledge. The answers to each of the puzzles appear below.

Ready? Set. Go!

Puzzle #1

Wet Matches

Noah’s harbor agent phoned Noah that he was sending out a herd of 5 male and 6 female zebras. Soon the 11 animals randomly swam up to the ark. What is the largest number that Noah might have to fish out to be sure he embarked one of each gender?

Puzzle #2

Like Lightning

An auto traveled one mile at 30 miles an hour. How fast would it have to travel another mile in order to average 60 miles an hour for the two miles?

Puzzle #3

Make Your Own

a.) Choose any number between two and 28, divisible by three. Multiply by 37. Add 241,000. Add the six digits together, forming a two-digit sum. From this sum, subtract your original choice. What is your answer?

b.) Choose any number at all. If even, divide it by two; if odd, multiply it by three and add one. Do the same to the result and keep repeating. What is the last number before the series repeats.

Puzzle #4

Age-Old Problems

This is about the ages of Ann, Bea, Cam, Dot, and Eve. Four of the five are teenagers. “Age” is the commonly used integer value.

The product of Ann’s and Cam’s ages equals the product of Bea’s and Dot’s ages, plus one.

When Dot is three times Cam’s present age, Eve will be twice Dot’s present age, plus one year, and Cam will be four times Eve’s present age, plus one year.

How old is Ann?




Wet Matches: 7

Like Lightning: Infinitely fast; impossible to do

Make Your Own: a.) Always 7; b.) Always 1

Age-Old Problems: 17



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#2 is stumping me. Can you

#2 is stumping me. Can you tell me how the answer is figured?