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Sunday Times Brain-Teaser 696 – The Browning Version

by BRG on March 4, 2021

by J E Kessel and J R Partridge

From The Sunday Times, 17th November 1974

You see, Inspector, the combination of my safe is a six-figure number. In case anyone needed to get into it while I was away, I gave each of my clerks (Atkins, Browning and Clark) one of the two-figure numbers which make up the combination. I also told each the position in the combination of the number of another clerk, but not the number itself.

Browning must have overheard me telling a friend that it is a coincidence that two of these numbers are squares and if you put them together you get a four-figure number that equals the other clerk’s number squared. I remember I also said something about whether or not the combination is divisible by this clerk’s number.

When he was caught, Browning said, “I can’t understand why the alarm went off; I know Clark’s is the first number”. I later realised that what I’d told my friend about whether or not that other number was a factor was wrong, which was lucky for me as Browning had got his own number in the right place.

What was the combination?

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  1. Brian Gladman permalink

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