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Can you solve this tricky viral puzzle which has the internet divided?

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Dave Fawbert
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Can you solve this tricky viral puzzle which has the internet divided?

Get your maths hat on people, it’s time to crunch those numbers.

Another mathematical puzzle is going viral on the old internet and it’s a particularly strange one, as there’s a variety of different answers which people seem to be getting. And, as humans are wont to do, everyone who gets a different answer from them is getting angry at everyone else for getting that answer.

It’s basically like #thedress but in mathematical form.

Without further ado, here’s the puzzle - can you solve it?

Maths quiz

So, first, the ‘correct’ answer.

Which is…

(drumroll)

96.

And how do you get this? Well, it’s very simple. If you study the first three in the sequence, you’ll see that they obey:

a + b = a + (a x b)

Thus,

8 + 11 = 8 + (8 x 11 )

= 96

HOWEVER

Another method for the first three is to add the result of the previous entry to the two terms on on the left-hand side of the equals sign.

Like this:

1 + 4 = 5

(5 +) 2 + 5 = 12

(12 +) 3 + 6 = 21

So, applying this directly to the puzzle, you’d get:

(21 +) 8 + 11 = 40

HOWEVER

If you work your way down an ‘implied’ sequence using this method, you’ll arrive at 96 again:

1 + 4 = 5

(5 +) 2 + 5 = 12

(12 +) 3 + 6 = 21

(21 +) 4 + 7 = 32

(32 +) 5 + 8 = 45

(45 +) 6 + 9 = 60

(60 +) 7 + 10 = 77

(77 +) 8 + 11 = 96

HOWEVER

Some other clever clogs types have spotted another pattern in the puzzle:

The idea is to evaluate the sums in base 10, and then convert the answer into descending number bases 6, 5, 4, etc. line by line. So the pattern is:

1 + 4 = 5 (base 10) = 5 (base 6)

2 + 5 = 7 (base 10) = 5*1 + 2 = 12 (base 5)

3 + 6 = 9 (base 10) = 4*2 + 1 = 21 (base 4)

So if we do the same for the last line, we would need to use base 3 to get:

8 + 11 = 19 (base 10) = 9*2 + 3*0 + 1 = 201 (base 3)

We think it needs to be said though, if you managed to get 201 as your answer, then you should probably be off trying to cure cancer or get man to Mars rather than wasting time on internet maths puzzles, OK?

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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