Thursday, 4 June 2009

A math problem

The things I get asked in the pub!

"Oh - Andy, can you help me with this little problem? I've tried but I got stuck. It's from the Indian mathematician Mahavira, from about 900AD."
Seriously, I was asked this whilst sat at the bar. I like this place!
Three traveling merchants find a purse full of gold coins on the road.

The first merchant says “If I had the purse, I would have twice as much money as you two put together.”

The second says “If I had it, I would have three times as much as both of you put together.”

The third merchant says “If I had it, I would have five times as much as you both put together.

How much did each merchant have and how much was in the purse?
It took me a side of A4 to get the answer but I'm sure it can be done more succinctly... anyone?

Please show your workings.
I'll post my solution tomorrow.


yorksnbeans said...

can you give a hint?

NobblySan said...

You bugger, Holroyd!

I've already got some simultaneous equations going, and they're not compatible with my half-finished bottle of wine.

I'll have to try again tomorrow.

Andy Holroyd said...

yorksnbeans, you want a hint? OK - there are infinitely many correct answers. Hope that helps :)

yorksnbeans said...

sorry, still stumped. :-(

darn I feel stupid.

if this has something to do with a play on words.....