Here at the heart of the City, a magnificent palace rises above common buildings. Dominated by a delirious dome, mounted by multitudes of minarets, and garnished with glamorous gems, this alliterative masterpiece is the home of Islandia’s Queen, Penthesilea. If anyone knows the truth about the crisis confronting the island, it must be her.
Your chances of speaking to her today, however, are slim. It is tax day, and all the minor lords of the realm have gathered to pay tribute. An elaborate scale with two balanced plates has been constructed to measure each addition to the royal treasury.
At the moment, however, things have come to a standstill. As you look closer, you notice that the balance is bent beyond repair. A beautiful golden idol sits upon one of the balance’s trays; the other tray is empty. The court is a-flurry.
“What’s going on?” you ask an important-looking woman trying to fix the balance.
“The Queen is trying to determine the value of the idol,” comes the response. “The Lord Dromio presented the Queen with three golden medallions and the idol instead of paying in obols. So we did two quick measurements: all three medallions and the idol weighed as much as 12 thalers, which (as you know) are also solid gold. So Dromio paid enough; but we still need to know the value of each separate item for our inventory.”
“What happened to the balance?”
“We had just balanced the idol against eight thalers. But then we realized that a medallion had been left on the tray with the thalers by accident. We were about to remeasure the idol when a freak earthquake opened up and destroyed the balance. What can we do?”
You think for a moment. “If I solve your problem, could you get me an audience with the Queen?” you ask.
“Certainly,” comes the response. “I am Hermione, the Queen’s sister and chief attendant. If you truly can help, I can guarantee the Queen’s personal thanks.”
Determine the value of each item (idol and medallion) in thalers by submitting a solution…