Sunday, 3 May 2009

True or False?

I'm reading "Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities" at the moment, and enjoying it hugely. I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't hate maths, which I appreciate is a fairly small group. But there you are.

Anyway, I'm going to offer this one as a taster. Not especially mathematical, so it may have a wider appeal. And I enjoyed it.

The question is whether the following sentence is true or false:

"Thare are five mistukes im this centence."

Answers in the comments, please. I'll leave it for a while and post the answer in due course.


  1. True

    "Thare are five mistukes im this centence"

    missing full-stop

  2. b****r. I knew I'd make a typo, so I cehcked, re-checked..

    There should have been a full stop, so I've edited it to add that. So degadar gets an honorary beer voucher (redeemable in person).

    Any other suggestions?

  3. Topolgy or tautology? Probably both.

  4. Nope; far more cunning than that, Measured.

  5. Well the 'centence' itself doesn't make sense, so the perceived meaning of the random jumble of letters there is indeed true (the fifth being the fact that the entire sentence isn't a sentence).

    Otherwise though, there's no answer because it makes no sense at all.

    Am I close?

  6. You're thinking laterally, so you're on the right lines.

    Clue: there are four spelling mistakes.

  7. ohhhh I get it!
    haha that's genius.

    There are four spelling mistakes, and the fifth one is the fact that it should say 'four'!

    So the sentence is both true and false - true when you assume that the fifth mistake is that there should be four, but that also renders it false when you correct it!
    It can also start off false when you assume that it really should say 'five' when in fact there are only four mistakes!

    Very clever - that must be right? Do I get a prize?

  8. False

    Four mistakes, one innaccuracy.


    No mistakes, you wrote the entire sentence quite deliberately.


    Oh I don't know. It's my brother who's the Maths teacher, not me.

    Have you ever read 'How to Cut A Cake, and other Mathematical Conundrums'?

  9. Oh darn. That'll teach me to spend seven hours in town and doing other thing between writing a comment and clicking the publish button...

  10. Very clever - that's exactly right!

    Your prize is a virtual beer voucher - to redeem it you just have to catch me at a bar. Also, you are awarded that special sense of intellectual satisfaction.

  11. (Stu and I cross-posted; my comment was in reply to the evidently clever and perceptive Mr Howes...)

    Stu - thanks for the reading suggestion. Oh, and as an LD PPC you'll need to be *a lot* quicker off the mark in future ;-)

  12. Actually Stu, your second suggestion is quite cunning. You get half a virtual beer voucher.

  13. Why thankyou, patently, and well done Anton :-)

    You might appreciate this tweet from @KuraFire as well...

  14. Why thank-you Patently! :) and well done Stu.
    hmmm good tweet - you can draw a table for that I think...

  15. Woops, I just commented as another person!

  16. Oh well, some comments just go straight over the heads of some.

    (What's more I thought my answer was amazingly clever as the 'five mistakes' is inside the sentence.........and to give the answer outright would have been mutually exclusive to others continuing the game.)

  17. Stu, do demand a complete beer voucher...& oi, better make that a real one! ;-)

    (and as for me, I am go to lie in bed all night thinking about injustice.)

  18. Ah, Measured, that is indeed the risk inherent in offering too cryptic an answer!

    Oh well, you know whether you were right or not, even if the rest of us were all too daft to spot it.