The following is a puzzle from *Rational Amusements from Winter Evenings *(1821) by John Jackson:

If from six ye take nine, and from nine ye take ten

(Ye youths, now the mystery explain;)

And if fifty from forty be taken, there then,

Shall just half a dozen remain.

Can you figure out what’s going on? This is not an easy one so you may take your time.

## Solution

Have you figured it out? Simple arithmetic alone won’t solve this. You must apply your knowledge of math, Roman numerals, and wordplay to crack this puzzle.

Here’s the solution:

SIX – IX = S

IX – X = I

XL – L = X

There are more puzzles similar to this in the abovementioned book. If you like this kind of puzzle, then let me know and I’ll post a few more of them.

holy shit… I am bad at math, so it’s said at least, but I figured it out in one go??? I got into some severe trouble with my math teacher earlier, when I figured out the most difficult question on the sheet in a test, but left all other easy questions unanswered, due to no time, but she would not believe it. She rather thought I was about to anger her… Well, I still would think I am the most stupid pupil of all and of all time. I just had some other info, did I ? Who knows.. . I don’t even know myself. ☻♦

I always read words in other/different meanings and take it quite far, so there is always a solution at hand…

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Good for you. Specialized mathematical fields like number theory and topology badly need people with that kind of mindset.

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Your sarcasm is always so sweet…. ;-)

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No, I’m serious.

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Yes, but there is another solution. From 6 take 9, you’re left with -3. From 9 take 10, you’re left with -1. So we have -4. From 50 take 40, leaves 10 … 10-4=6 and 6 is half a dozen.

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It would have worked if that’s the case (-3 + -1 + 10 = 6). However, the puzzle states: “And if fifty from forty be taken”. So, it’s 40 – 50 which is equal to -10.

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Clever!

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This was awesome 👍

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My partner liked the challenge, & enjoyed playing round with roman numerals. He would be happy for you to post more!

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I’ll post it on Saturday then :)

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It is so good to know that somebody remembers Roman numerals.

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It seems that many people nowadays only know up to X or less.

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Nice brain teaser to try to solve over morning coffee. Thank you!

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You’re welcome

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Nice puzzle. I tried working with Roman numerals, but didn’t get the trick of using them in conjunction with actual words. That was very sneaky!

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That’s the hard part.

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I enjoy puzzle like this. Thanks for sharing.

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Glad you liked it

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Lovely puzzle!! Enjoy and learnt both

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:)

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Holy Schnikes 🤪

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wow :D

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