In Sunday’s Parade magazine, Marilyn Vos Savant’s column posed a puzzle:
What four positive numbers have a sum that is equal to their product? Meaning: a + b + c + d = a x b x c x d.
Then she gives the answer as 1, 1, 2 and 4.
Uh, not to nitpick, but like, those are three numbers, and the solution would be better represented by a + a + b + c = a x a x b x c. Or, at least, her hint (“The numbers are all single digits, readers, so you don’t have to drive yourselves nuts.”) should have added that the numbers don’t have to be different.
Now, of course, I didn’t read her hint about “single digits” so I didn’t stick to whole numbers and did drive myself nuts. But I did find an answer that uses four different numbers, at least one with a fraction.
If you like driving yourself nuts, feel free. Or just click here to check out my solution. There may be others, too.