Enigmatic Code

Programming Enigma Puzzles

Enigma 531: Petits fours

From New Scientist #1683, 23rd September 1989 [link]

“Four-armed is four-warmed,” declared Professor Törqui as he placed the petits fours in the oven in his lab at the Department of Immaterial Science and Unclear Physics. “There are 4444 of them: a string of 4s. By which I mean, naturally enough, a number in base 10 all of whose digits are 4. Do you like my plus fours? [*] Speaking of 10s and plus fours, you can hardly be unaware of the fact that all positive integral powers of 10 (except 10¹, poor thing) are expressible as sums of strings of 4s.”

“The most economical way of expressing 10² as a sum of strings of 4s (that is, the one using fewest strings and hence fewest 4s) uses seven 4s:”

10² = 44 + 44 + 4 + 4 + 4.

“The most economical means of expressing 10³ as a sum of strings of 4s requires sixteen 4s:”

10³ = 444 + 444 + 44 + 44 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4.

“Now, it’s four o’clock, and just time for this puzzle: Give me somewhere to put my cakestand and I will make a number of petits fours which is an integral positive power of 10 such that the number of 4s required to write it as a sum of strings of 4s in the most economical way is itself a string of 4s.”

What is the smallest number of petits fours Törqui’s boast would commit him to baking? (Express your answer as a power of 10.)

[*] £44.44 from Whatsit Forum.

[enigma531]

2 responses to “Enigma 531: Petits fours”

1. Jim Randell 23 December 2019 at 7:23 am

We can denote a repdigit consisting of n repeats of the digit 4 as: 4[n].

Now, if we consider a power of 10, say 10^k (for sufficiently large k).

Then we can subtract the repdigit 4[k] from it twice, leaving: 11…12 (with (k – 1) 1’s).

From this we can subtract the repdigit 4[k – 1] twice, leaving: 22…224 (with (k – 2) 2’s).

From this we can subtract the repdigit 4[k – 2] five times, leaving 4.

So we get:

10^k = 2×4[k] + 2×4[k – 1] + 5×4[k – 2] + 4

The number of times the digit 4 is used is thus:

2k + 2(k – 1) + 5(k – 2) + 1 = 9k – 11

And we see that 10² requires 9×2 – 11 = 7 digits and 10³ requires 9×3 – 11 = 16 digits, as given in the puzzle text.

So we need to find when (9k – 11) is a repdigit composed entirely of 4’s.

4[2] + 11 = 55, is not divisible by 9
4[3] + 11 = 455, is not divisible by 9
4[4] + 11 = 4455 = 9×495

Hence 10^495 can be expressed using 4444 copies of the digit 4.

Run: [ @repl.it ]

```from enigma import irange, inf, repdigit, div, printf

# consider increasing repdigits
for k in irange(2, inf):
r = repdigit(k, 4)
n = div(r + 11, 9)
if n is not None:
printf("10^{n} = {r} digits")
break
```

Solution: The smallest possible number is 10^495.

This is an infeasibly large number of cakes to bake.

We can see that the repdigits of 4, plus eleven are:

4[k] + 11 = 44…4455 (with (k – 2) 4’s)

The number will be divisible by 9 if the sum of its digits is:

4(k – 2) + 10

Which is divisible by 9 if:

4(k – 2) = 8 (mod 9)

So:

k – 2 = 2 (mod 9)
k = 4, 13, 22, …

From which we can calculate the increasing powers of 10 that solve the puzzle:

(4[4] + 11) / 9 = 495
(4[13] + 11) / 9 = 493827160495
(4[22] + 11) / 9 = 493827160493827160495

In general the solutions can be characterised as:

(4[9k + 4] + 11) / 9 = 49 382716049[k] 5

So the possible powers of 10 get even more ludicrously huge very quickly.

2. Paul Cleary 28 December 2019 at 12:39 am

This problem would also work for the repdigits 1, 2, 5 and 8 giving a total of 5 possible ways, {1, 2, 4, 5, 8}.

I reduced the problem to 5 functions that would generate the powers for each digit varient, namely:-

Repdigit 1 is (1/81*10^(9 n) – 8) – 10/81
Repdigit 2 is (1700 + 10^(9 n))/4050
Repdigit 4 is 4/81*(10^((9 n) – 5) – 1) + 11/9
Repdigit 5 is 5/81*(10^((9 n) – 5) – 1) + 7/9
Repdigit 8 is 8/81*(10^((9 n) – 8) – 1) + 19/9

For all n. Which generates the following numbers for n = 1 to 4

Repdigit 1 , {0,123456790,123456790123456790,123456790123456790123456790}

Repdigit 2 , {246914,246913580246914,246913580246913580246914,246913580246913580246913580246914}

Repdigit 4 , {495,493827160495,493827160493827160495,493827160493827160493827160495}

Repdigit 5 , {618,617283950618,617283950617283950618,617283950617283950617283950618}

Repdigit 8 , {3,987654323,987654320987654323,987654320987654320987654323}

For the Repdigit 1 we have 9k + 1, simplifies to 9k + 1
For the Repdigit 2 we have 4k + 5(k-1) + 1, simplifies to 9k – 4
For the Repdigit 4 we have 2k + 2(k-1) + 2(k-2) + 1 simplifies to 9k – 11
For the Repdigit 5 we have k + 8(k-1) + 1 simplifies to 9k – 7
For the Repdigit 8 we have k + (k-1) + 2(k-2) + 5(k-3) + 1 simplifies to 9k – 19

A test for the digit 2, first solution 246914, we have the number of 2’s as (4*246914) + (5*246913) + 1 = 2222222

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