Tag Archives: Presh Talwalkar

Shy Angle Problem

Here is yet another problem from Presh Talwalkar. This one is rather elegant in its simplicity of statement and answer.

“Solve For The Angle – Viral Puzzle

I thank Barry and also Akshay Dhivare from India for suggesting this problem!  This puzzle is popular on social media. What is the measure of the angle denoted by a “?” in the following diagram? You have to solve it using elementary geometry (no trigonometry or other methods).  It’s harder than it looks.  I admit I did not solve it. Can you figure it out?”

See the Shy Angle Problem.

Sum Of Squares Puzzle

Yet another interesting problem from Presh Talwalkar.

“Two side-by-side squares are inscribed in a semicircle.  If the semicircle has a radius of 10, can you solve for the total area of the two squares? If no, demonstrate why not. If yes, calculate the answer.”

This puzzle shares the characteristics of all good problems where the information provided seems insufficient.

See the Sum of Squares Puzzle.

Hard Geometric Problem

This is another problem from the indefatigable Presh Talwalkar.

_    _____Hard Geometry Problem
“In triangle ABC above, angle A is bisected into two 60° angles. If AD = 100, and AB = 2(AC), what is the length of BC?”

See Hard Geometric Problem

(Update 7/18/2020, 7/20/2020)  Alternative Solution Continue reading

Impossible Car Riddle

This is another intriguing problem from Presh Talwalkar.

“A car travels 75 miles per hour (mph) downhill, 60 mph on flat roads, and 50 mph uphill. It takes 3 hours to go from town A to B, and it takes 3 hours and 30 minutes for return journey by the same route. What is the distance in miles between towns A and B?”

See the Impossible Car Riddle

Parallelogram Cosine Problem

Another challenging problem from Presh Talwalkar. I certainly could not have solved it on a timed test at the age of 16.

One Of The Hardest GCSE Test Questions – How To Solve The Cosine Problem

Construct a hexagon from two congruent parallelograms as shown. Given BP = BQ = 10, solve for the cosine of PBQ in terms of x.

This comes from the 2017 GCSE exam, and it confused many people. I received many requests to solve this problem, and I thank Tom, Ben, and James for suggesting it to me.”

See the Parallelogram Cosine Problem

Putnam Octagon Problem

Here is a problem from the famous (infamous?) Putnam exam, presented by Presh Talwalkar. Needless to say, I did not solve it in 30 minutes—but at least I solved it (after making a blizzard of arithmetic and trigonometric errors).

“Today’s problem is from the 1978 test, problem B1 (the easiest of the second set of problems). A convex octagon inscribed in a circle has four consecutive sides of length 3 and four consecutive sides of length 2. Find the area of the octagon.”

My solution is horribly pedestrian and fraught with numerous chances for arithmetic mistakes to derail it, which happened in spades. As I suspected, there was an elegant, “easy” solution (as demonstrated by Talwalkar)—once you thought of it! Again, this is like a Coffin Problem. See the Putnam Octagon Problem.