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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Postman Pat

Postman Pat delivers the mail in the small village Tenhouses. This village, as you already suspected, has only one street with exactly ten houses, numbered from 1 up to and including 10.

In a certain week, Pat did not deliver any mail at two houses in the village; at the other houses he delivered mail three times each. Each working day he delivered mail at exactly four houses.

The sums of the house numbers where he delivered mail were:
on Monday: 18
on Tuesday: 12
on Wednesday: 23
on Thursday: 19
on Friday: 32
op Saturday: 25
on Sunday: he never works

The Question: Which two houses didn't get any mail that week?

Answer: If postman Pat would have delivered mail three times at each house, then the total sum of the house numbers per day would be (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10)×3=165. Now that sum is 18+12+23+19+32+25=129. The difference is 165-129=36; divided by 3 this is 12. The sum of the house numbers where no mail was delivered is therefore 12. The following combinations are possible:


Each day at four houses the mail was delivered. On Tuesday the sum was 12. 12 can only be made from four house numbers in 2 ways:


The same holds for Friday with the sum of 32:


From this we can conclude that the house numbers 1, 2, 9 and 10 for sure have received mail, which means that the combinations 2+10 and 3+9 are not possible. Also the combination 5+7 is not possible, because mail was delivered either at house 5 or at house 7. Thus the only remaining solution is: houses 4 and 8.

N.B.: there are various possibilities for the actual post delivery of the whole week. For example:

Copyright © 2002 E.R. van Veldhoven. All rights reserved.

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