Monthly Brainteaser and May’s AnswerMonday, June 13th, 2011
Last month we asked what is the longest word you can form from letters on the top row of a standard typewriter keyboard. Well, a few of us who can remember typing our stuff on typewriters came up with the word “typewriter” and felt rather smug. A couple of our colleagues came up with “repertoire” and “proprietor”, which also have ten letters. But we have one smartypants who offered “rupturewort” (11 letters), which as I’m sure you know, is a caryophyllaceous plant, once thought to cure hernia. Yes, there’s one in every office – guess who’s elected to be on tea-making duty next month.
Now this month. The ancient city state of Sparta has had, for as long as anyone could remember, the same number of girls as boys. Possibly something to do with the water. The Spartans were a warrior race, always at war with someone and, although they valued women for “companionship” and for making their sandwiches, they nevertheless needed more boys to join their army and replace soldiers killed in battle. The army was all male, and boys joined the army for training at the age of ten. The city elders decided to do something about this problem. They passed a law that, whilst families could have as many children as they wanted and whenever they wanted, as soon as a woman gave birth to a girl, she would be given a potion that would prevent her from bearing any more children. Assuming that the birthrate pattern continued, what was likely to be the ratio of boys to girls after exactly ten years?
Answer next month. Enjoy the sunshine.