Thursday, October 21st, 2010...3:52 pm

Word Sums

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Today, Celebration of Mind events are being held worldwide to mark what would have been Martin Gardner’s 96th birthday, including an event at Davidson College. Gardner’s wide-reaching career spanned 80 years. He loved puzzles, illusions, and paradoxes. It’s been said that he brought “more mathematics, to more millions, than anyone else,” and also that he “turned thousands of children into mathematicians, and thousands of mathematicians into children.” Turn on your childish enthusiasm and look up some puzzles today or try this one, which while not a Gardner puzzle, definitely shows his influence!

In the sum below, the words stand for numbers. Each of the letters F, O, U, R, N, E, I, V stands for one of the digits 0-9. Different letters stand for different digits. The first digit of a number is never zero. (So, F and O cannot be zero. Can you replace the letters by numbers to get a correct sum?

Try it again tomorrow and you may get a different answer. The puzzle has 528 different solutions. Now try the following puzzle. How many of its eight different solutions can you find?

These puzzles appeared in Mathematical Puzzling by A. Gardiner, published in 1987.

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