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Problematics: Spend dollars, save rupees

How to turn the market crash into an opportunity, with a little juggling of numbers

Rs 1,000 is $15 approximately, but how much is Rs 10,000 exactly? (Right) Lewis Carroll’s diversion. (Source: Express illustration) Rs 1,000 is $15 approximately, but how much is Rs 10,000 exactly? (Right) Lewis Carroll’s diversion. (Source: Express illustration)

The puzzles you solve every week usually begin to form during the weekend, take final shape in the beginning of the week and come out on Wednesday. This week, the Sensex upset the rhythm, choosing Monday to go off on a trip with steep gradients and downhill curves. This called for a change of subject, so I shelved my original puzzle and took up the rupee instead.

A friend of yours is travelling to the United States. You go to a bank and submit Rs 10,000, in return for which you get dollars and cents. These you hand to your friend, along with a list of obscure books and movies to find and buy.

Weeks later, she returns with a DVD bought at a sale for $3, a videocassette obtained at a discount for $2.36, and a tattered book swung at a bargain at $1. “That’s $6.36,” she tells you, “and here’s the rest of your money back.”

In the refund in whole numbers of dollars and cents, you spot trends. The number of dollars returned, for example, is twice the number of cents (after the decimal) that you had given her originally. Again, the number of cents refunded (after the decimal) is one-fourth the earlier number of dollars.

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For weeks, the cash remains at your home. Then August 24 happens, and it strikes you that the dollars and the cents will be worth more now. At the bank, you find to your surprise that the exchange is worth exactly Rs 10,000. So you are richer by one book and two movies without having spent a single rupee; never mind notional values.

Puzzle#25A: How many dollars and cents did you get for the original Rs 10,000? And how many did you deposit to get back Rs 10,000?

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you will find an easier puzzle on currencies. In between, here is a musical interlude.


What you wrote

Two self-confessed Beatlemaniacs have dropped in just because last week’s puzzles were about the Beatles. Here are parts of both emails.

Dear Kabir, I was brought up listening to The Beatles. I even have a poster of the Shea Stadium concert, which you referenced, on my bedroom door at my parents’ house! And I used to play rhythm in a Beatles cover band called The Blackbirds back in college. So, here goes.
Puzzle#24A (i) Which Beatles song is also the name of a fashion brand?
• Penny Lane
(ii) Which Bond girl in ‘Quantum of Solace’ shares her name with part of a Beatles title?
• Strawberry Fields
(iii) This woman keeps something in a container near the door and puts it on when she goes to the window. Who, what?
• Eleanor Rigby, and her ‘face’
(iv) In the attire of Loretta’s mother, what is high and what is low?
• High-heel shoes and low-neck sweater
(v) “I Wanna Hold your Hand,” one song says, but another says he doesn’t want to do that. What would he rather do?
• “Dance with you”
(vi) Translate: “Madam, you have so many children that we wonder how you survive.”
• “Lady Madonna, children at your feet… Wonder how you manage to make ends meet”

— Pierre Mario Fitter (Gurgaon)


Dear Kabir, I have a go at your puzzles regularly, but have never had the enthu to mail you the answers — it needed the Beatles to actually push me to mail you!
Puzzle#24A (vii) What colour is the vessel the Beatles live in?
• Yellow (Submarine)
(viii) From which US city does a Beatle catch a return flight to the Soviet Union?
• Miami
(ix) Apart from ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, which other song has “Lucy in the Sky”?
• “I am the Walrus”
(x) Among the words “Om”, “Jai”, “Rama”, “Krishna”, “Brahma”, “Vishnu” and “Maheshwara”, which is common to a Beatles song and a George Harrison solo?
• Krishna (“I am the Walrus”/”My Sweet Lord”)
(xi) With what weapon does a medical student commit three murders?
• Silver hammer (Maxwell)
(xii) Who demands a 19:1 split of your earnings?
• The taxman

— Avinass Kumar (Mumbai)

Two of these questions have alternative answers. For the first one, Sanjay Gupta suggests “Julia” or “Revolution” as the fashion brand. Anindita Basu, Sampath Kumar V, Biren Parmar and M Natrajan all suggest “Blackbird”. Natrajan, who solved the puzzles with his colleagues Anandh and Vivek, mentions “Penny Lane” too.


The 10th is the other such question. Sanjay cites “Om” from “Across the Universe” and from George Harrison’s “Om Hare Om (Gopala Krishna)”. Sampath and Biren both say “Jai”, common to “Across the Universe” and a little Harrison solo called “It is ‘He’ (Jai Sri Krishna)”.

And here is how you filled last week’s crossword, with KARNATAKA and TAMIL NADU interchangeable.

Problematics 2

Solved all Beatles puzzles: Pierre Mario Fitter (Gurgaon), Avinass Kumar (Mumbai), Sanjay Gupta (New Delhi), Anindita Basu (IBM India, Allahabad), Biren Parmar (Texas A&M University)

Got 11 out of 12: M Natrajan (IIM Calcutta, batch of 2009), Sampath Kumar V (IIM Kozhikode alumnus)

Solved crossword: Kamalpreet Singh (Barnala), Phani Bhushan Tholeti (Synaptics, Hyderabad), Sanjay Gupta, Sampath Kumar V, Biren Parmar


More money

Before the British introduced a decimal currency system, £1 used to be 20 shillings, with each shilling being 12 pence. Lewis Carroll, mathematician and Wonderland creator, writes of a diversion with these currency units. I quote from his complete works:

“Put down any number of pounds not more than 12, any number of shillings under 20, and any number of pence under 6. Under the pounds put the number of pence, under the shillings the number of shillings, and under the pence the number of pounds, thus reversing the line. Subtract. Reverse the line again. Add.”


Puzzle#25B: The answer is always 12 pounds 18 shillings 11 pence, Carroll points out. See my example in the illustration on top of this page. Explain why it must always be 12-18-11.

Please mail your replies to:

First published on: 26-08-2015 at 13:04 IST
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