Tantalizer 446: Unready reckoners
5 September 2018
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From New Scientist #997, 22nd April 1976 [link]
Mrs Green and Mrs Brown were conversing about their young in honeyed tones. The topic was prowess at simple arithmetic. Under a mantle of mutually admiring words, they had soon agreed to a duel. The offspring were summoned from the sand pit and set the task of adding seven, three and two.
Little Willie Green wrote done 7 + 3 + 2 = 12 in barely the time it takes to boil an egg. Tommy Brown was still chewing his pencil. Several minutes elapsed before he arrived at SEVEN + THREE + TWO = TWELVE. But Mrs Green’s consoling noises were short lived. Young Tommy, it emerged, had treated the problem as one in cryptarithmetic, with each different letter standing for a different digit.
What was his (correct) numerical rendering of TWELVE?