The Mathematician

The City! What a difference from the rest of the Island: tall buildings, lots of noise, too many people, shops everywhere…

“Excuse me,” you ask the befuddled individual standing before an enormous chalkboard in the city square. “Are you The Mathematician?”

“Certainly, indubitably,” mumbles the figure. “Identity property: anything is equal to itself.”

“Right… So, do you know when this island will go up in flames?”

“Oh, yes, yes, to be sure, I mean to say, yes, that is—no. Not exactly. As a matter of fact, I’m just working on it.” The Mathematician points to the chalkboard, on which you see: 19 x 19 = 519.

You frown. “There must be something wrong,” you announce. “Nineteen squared is 361.”

The Mathematician disagrees. “No, no, the math is correct; only I can’t remember what the symbols stand for.”

“You mean one isn’t one?” you ask, dumbfounded.

“Not necessarily,” replies the Mathematician. “It could be a 1 or it could be any of the other digits. Help me figure out the right numbers, would you? There’s a good chap. And there’s a small stipend for you if you get it: an obol.”

You examine the rest of the chalkboard. “I suppose those letters in this one should all be numbers,” you offer.


“Just so. Each letter stands for a single digit. I’m quite sure the math is right, but I’m so forgetful…”

“Yikes!” you exclaim. “There’s one here with no symbols at all—just blanks. And the quotient is missing!”

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“Yes, that’s the worst. I’ll give you three obols to solve that one, and two obols for the problem with letters. Can you help me?”

Find the missing numbers by submitting a solution

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