A Tangled Tale, by Lewis Carroll

Answers to Knot 5

Problem. — To mark pictures, giving 3 x’s to 2 or 3, 2 to 4 or 5, and 1 to 9 or 10; also giving 3 o’s to 1 or 2, 2 to 3 or 4, and 1 to 8 or 9; so as to mark the smallest possible number of pictures, and to give them the largest possible number of marks.

Answer. — 10 pictures; 29 marks; arranged thus:

          X   X   X   X   X   X   X   X   X   O
          X   X   X   X   X       O   O   O   O
          X   X   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O


Solution. — By giving all the x’s possible, putting into brackets the optional ones, we get 10 pictures marked thus:

          X   X   X   X   X   X   X   X   X  (X)
          X   X   X   X  (X)
          X   X  (X)


By then assigning o’s in the same way, beginning at the other end, we get 9 pictures marked thus:

                                         (O)  O
                                 (O)  O   O   O
             (O)  O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O


All we have now to do is to run these two wedges as close together as they will go, so as to get the minimum number of pictures — erasing optional marks where by so doing we can run them closer, but otherwise letting them stand. There are 10 necessary marks in the 1st row, and in the 3rd; but only 7 in the end. Hence we erase all optional marks in the 1st and 3rd rows, but let them stand in the end.

Twenty-two answers have been received. Of these, 11 give no working; so, in accordance with what I announced in my last review of answers, I leave them unnamed, merely mentioning that 5 are right and 6 wrong.

Of the eleven answers with which some working is supplied, 3 are wrong. C. H. begins with the rash assertion that under the given conditions “the sum is impossible. For”, he or she adds (these initialed correspondents are dismally vague beings to deal with: perhaps “it” would be a better pronoun), “10 is the least possible number of pictures” (granted): “therefore we must either give 2 x’s to 6, or 2 o’s to 5”. Why “must,” O alphabetical phantom? It is nowhere ordained that every picture “must” have 3 marks! Fifee sends a folio page of solution,which deserved a better fate: she offers three answers, in each of which 10 pictures are marked, with 30 marks; in one she gives 2 x’s to 6 pictures; in another to 7; in the third she gives 2 o’s to 5; thus in every case ignoring the conditions. (I pause to remark that the condition “2 x’s to 4 or 5 pictures” can only mean “either to 4 or else to 5”: if, as one competitor holds, it might mean any number not less than 4, the words “or 5” would be superfluous.) I. E. A. (I am happy to say that none of these bloodless phantoms appear this time in the class-list. Is it Idea with the “D” left out?) gives 2 x’s to 6 pictures. She then takes me to task for using the word “ought” instead of “nought”. No doubt, to one who thus rebels against the rules laid down for her guidance, the word must be distasteful. But does not I. E. A. remember the parallel case of “adder”? That creature was originally “a nadder”: then the two words took to bandying the poor “n”, backwards and forwards like a shuttlecock, the final state of the game being “an adder”. May not “a nought” have similarly become “an ought” Anyhow, “oughts and crosses” is a very old game. I don’t think I ever heard it called “noughts and crosses”.

In the following Class List, I hope the solitary occupant of III will sheathe her claws when she hears how narrow an escape she has had of not being named at all. Her account of the process by which she got the answer is so meagre that, like the nursery tale of “Jack-a-Minory” (I trust I. E. A. will be merciful to the spelling), it is scarcely to be distinguished from “zero”.

Class List
I.

Guy.
Old Cat.
Sea-Breeze.

II.

Ayr.
Bradshaw of the Future.
F. Lee.
H. Vernon.

III.

Cat.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/carroll/lewis/tangled/answers5.html

Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37