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I wasn’t keeping well – nothing too serious though – over the past few days, and going through a slight bout of depression doesn’t help very much either. I think I have recovered now. During such periods, it helps (I think) to keep the mind busy over some light puzzle(s) just so it remains active and healthy. Anyway, let me pose a nice puzzle that I first read in a book by Yakov I. Perelman many years ago, and I invite you to post your solutions. In keeping with the spirit of the puzzle, I will stick to Russian names and currency, even though the names I use below aren’t the same as the ones used in the original puzzle.

Anna, Bogdana and Calina are three young mathematicians who decide, one fine day, to go camping. During camping, in the evening they light a campfire to keep themselves warm and also to discuss (what else?) mathematics! Anna and Bogdana had brought with them three and five logs of wood, respectively, but unfortunately, Calina forgot to bring any log of wood with her. Instead, she gave 8 rubles to the other two girls. If Calina didn’t want any money back and if all the eight logs of wood were used for building the campfire, how should Anna and Bogdana distribute the 8 rubles between themselves in a fair manner?

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April 2008