Car Talk puzzler analysis – Limerick equation

Car Talk’s puzzler of the week has some mathematical interest.
See Car Talk’s transcript of the question.

In brief, we are given the equation…

(12 + 144 + 20 + 3√4) / 7 + 5(11) = 92 + 0

(which holds true, by the way)
… and asked to transcribe it as a limerick.

The last line of the limeric is given: “Is nine squared, and not a bit more.”

The answer, ROT13’d for your convenience until the Car Talk folks reveal it:

N qbmra, n tebff, naq n fpber
Cyhf guerr gvzrf gur fdhner ebbg bs sbhe
Qvivqrq ol frira
Cyhf svir gvzrf ryrira
Is nine squared, and not a bit more.

This is not the only equation to be immortalized in a limerick. There’s also this old chestnut. It
relies on pronouncing the letter z as “zee” (rather than “zed”,) as well as reading “log base e” (usually spelled “ln”) for “log”.

The integral z2 dz
From one to the cube root of three
All times the cosine
Of three pi over nine
Equals log of the cube root of e.

This equation also holds true.

There’s also this classic from Lewis Carroll which waxes a bit philosophical:

Yet what mean all such gaieties to me
Whose life is full of indices and surds
x2 + 7x + 53
= 11/3.

Perhaps fittingly, this last equation has only imaginary solutions.

Comments (2)

  1. Tom Fiorillo says:

    Twelve plus one forty four

    Plus twenty plus the square root of four

    Divided by seven

    Plus five times eleven

    Is nine squared, and not a bit more.

  2. Craig says:

    A dozen, a gross, and a score

    Plus three times the square root of four

    Divided by seven

    plus five times eleven

    is nine squared, and not a bit more