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Three Boys



 

Puzzle ID:#769
Fun:*** (2.66)
Difficulty:*** (2.3)
Category:Other
Submitted By:peterbradfor**
Corrected By:MarcM1098

 

 

 



Two mathematicians, who are old friends, meet in the street.

Alan: Hi, Bill. I hear you just adopted three boys. How old are they?
Bill: If you multiply their ages together you get 36.
Alan: I can't work it out from that.
Bill: Well, if you add their ages together, you get the number of the house you used to live in when you lived in Salisbury.
Alan: Hmm, I still can't work it out.
Bill: Well, the eldest boy plays the harpsichord.
Alan: Ah! Now I know.

How did Alan work out the ages of the three boys, and what are their ages?


Hint

Look at all the combinations of ages that give 36 when multiplied together - there's not as many as you might think.
Even though WE don't know the number of Bill's old house, presumably he and Alan do.

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Comments

toby
Oct 12, 2001

There could still have an eldest even if two were aged 6
peterbradfor
Nov 01, 2001

If the three boys had been Bill's natural children, we could be sure that at 1, 6 and 6 there would still be an eldest--even if only by a few minutes.
However, don't forget we are told they are adopted and hence it is possible that two 6-year-olds could be IDENTICAL in age. Only with 2, 2 and 9 can we be sure there is an eldest.
Mike1313*
Nov 01, 2001

There could be, but it is not a sure thing.
(user deleted)
Feb 05, 2002

Or the 3 boys were all aged 12
Drunky*ca
Apr 04, 2002

no becuz then it wouldnt multiply to 36
joe8049
Aug 13, 2002

What about 4-9-1
oldest boy is then 14...could be the house number.
metallicman*us*
Nov 14, 2005

I got 2 3 and 6 2 times 3 is six six times six is 36
anyways, good teaser, thoroughly enjoyed.
morning_rain08Aus**
Jan 06, 2006

I was thinking the same thing as metallicman...
calmsaviorAus*
Aug 27, 2006

i already solved this from a math textbook. i hope it still counts.
LeafFan4life*
Mar 06, 2007

wait why couldnt he just tell him why did he have to ay all this stuff and make him figure it out isnt that kind of mean?

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