**From New Scientist #2419, 1st November 2003** [link]

Last week my two Norwegian nephews, Firs and Lars, stayed with me. To make them use their English and logic I played a little game with them. I told them that I had thought of a whole number from one up to and including their sister Randum’s age. I told them that I would whisper the first letter in the English spelling of the number to Firs and the last letter to Lars (so if my number had been 1, I would have whispered “O” to Firs and “E” to Lars).

So whispered the appropriate letter to each of them and then the conversation went as follows:

Firs: “I cannot work out the number.”

Lars: “I still cannot work out the number.”

Firs: “I still cannot work out the number.”

Lars: “Now I know what it is.”

Firs: “So do I.”

How old is Randum and what number did I choose?

[enigma1263]

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This Python program uses the

int2words()function from theenigma.pylibrary. It runs in 34ms.Solution:Randum’s age is 12. The number chosen is 10.