Goo Goo Ga Joob
if yoU reaD tHis ColUmn regUlarly, it should come as no
surprise to discover that not everything i say is true. some of the stories i tell are truer than others, of course, but thus far they have been
almost entirely not true. However, this particular paragraph is entirely
true. the rest of the puzzle won’t be, although parts of it will be. But i
won’t be pointing out which parts are which (although it won’t be hard
to tell them apart, really). the true part of this puzzle is this: i have
chickens. yes, indeed, i am an urban chicken rancher, or, if you asked
my neighbors, a kook and a nuisance. still, as i told my wife the other
night, “i am the egg man.”
I don’t have a lot of chickens for a small
suburban neighborhood yard—just 12.
That’s more than allowed by local ordinance, but so long as I supply my
neighbors with eggs, they don’t complain to the city.
Now, in order to get a puzzle as well
as eggs out of them, I have to let you
know that this is no ordinary flock. I
bought them from a special feed store,
where you can select chickens based on
how many eggs they lay at a time. That is,
you can get a regular-style chicken that
lays one egg, or you can get a monstrous
oversized chicken that lays 97 eggs at a
time, or a chicken that lays any number
in between. The remarkable thing is the
consistency—if you get a 21-egg chicken,
it will lay 21 eggs every time.
When I was selecting the chickens,
I thought it would be fun if each chicken
laid a different number of eggs. I started
with a regular one-egg chicken, then a
two-egg chicken, and (you can call me
predictable) a three-egg chicken and a
But the next chicken was not a five-egg chicken. You see, at that point it
occurred to me that each of the bigger
chickens laid exactly and uniquely the
number of eggs of two of the smaller-laying chickens: 1+ 2= 3 and 1+ 3= 4. But if
I got the five-egg chicken, it would be
worth two different sets of the lower
chickens: 1+ 4= 2+ 3= 5. So I took it as a little challenge to pick my chickens from
then on in a way that each chicken’s laying power was uniquely the sum of two
previously selected chickens.
The puzzle is this: First, how many
eggs can each of my 12 chickens lay?
Second, to prove you understand the
concept, if you kept going with the
sequence, what’s the largest number under 100, under 1,000, and under 10,000.
that’s part of the sequence?
I admit that the first part is pretty
easy and could be done by hand (after
all, I told you the first four values, and
you know the next value is not five).
However, I would recommend you use
a computer to assist with your solution
to the second part.
Solutions may be e-mailed to the
In order to make the solver list, your
solutions must be received by
Nov. 30, 2009.
narvikk, Jetfoto, gloBalP, e-Person / istoCk, Bonotom stUDio
previous issue’s puzzle
This month’s puzzle concerns a recent
election in the Ancient and Elevated In-
dustrial Order of Underwriters, more
commonly known as the AEIOU. Let me
reassure you that this recently formed
group has nothing to do with insur-
ance underwriting. Rather, they are all
supporters of public radio. And inciden-
tally, please consider supporting your
local public radio station in its fall pledge
drive—you don’t want to leave the future
of public radio up to this particular group.