Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Thinking Man

Professor Percent was a maths lecturer with an interest for new ways to express mathematical expressions. The traditional symbols (+, -, *, /, etc) were not enough anymore, to convey his superior numeric operations, so he had to invent new symbols, and only a superior brain would be able to understand the need for his new symbols.

The first symbol he invented was §; between two numbers, it meant that, if the first number was greater than the second, then the second should be subtracted from the first one; otherwise the two numbers should be added. Therefore 5 § 2 = 3, while 2 § 5 = 7.

The poor people that had to put up with this were, of course, his students. In the last test they were faced with:

5 ¿ 2 = 27
6 ¿ 3 = 27
8 ¿ 4 = 36

and also with:
5 ¤ 2 = 15
6 ¤ 4 = 12
3 ¤ 8 = 40

What are the meanings of the symbols ¿ and ¤?

 

Notes:
There are at least 3 different solutions for ¿.

A Thinking Man Puzzle Solution

The symbol ¿ means the difference between the number made up of the all digits of the operation, and the mirror of this last number. i.e,
5 ¿ 2 = 52 - 25 = 27
6 ¿ 3 = 63 - 36 = 27
8 ¿ 4 = 84 - 48 = 36

An alternative solution for this symbol (submitted by Alfa Chan... many thanks!) is simply the difference between the two numbers multiplied by 9. i.e,
5 ¿ 2 = (5 - 2) × 9 = 27
6 ¿ 3 = (6 - 3) × 9 = 27
8 ¿ 4 = (8 - 4) × 9 = 36

Another alternative solution submitted by Mickey Kawick... thanks!! We have x ¿ y; If x is odd, then the result is 5x + y, otherwise it's 5x - y. i.e,
5 ¿ 2 = 5 × 5 + 2 = 27 (5 is odd, so we add the 2)
6 ¿ 3 = 6 × 5 - 3 = 27 (6 is even, so we subtract the 3)
8 ¿ 4 = 8 × 5 - 4 = 36 (8 is even, so we subtract the 4)

The symbol ¤ means the difference between the two numbers multiplied by the larger of the two numbers. i.e,
5 ¤ 2 = (5 - 2) * 5 = 3 * 5 = 15
6 ¤ 4 = (6 - 4) * 6 = 2 * 6 = 12
3 ¤ 8 = (8 - 3) * 8 = 5 * 8 = 40

An alternative solution for this symbol, as submitted by Jeff Schall (many thanks!), is the difference between the square of the bigger of the two numbers and their product. i.e,
5 ¤ 2 = (5 ^ 2) - (5 * 2) = 25 - 10 = 15
6 ¤ 4 = (6 ^ 2) - (6 * 4) = 36 - 24 = 12
3 ¤ 8 = (8 ^ 2) - (3 * 8) = 64 - 24 = 40