# Fun with digits

Fun with digits
Fun with digits
Start with the sequence of non-zero digits 123456789. The problem is to place plus or minus signs between them so that the result of thus described arithmetic operation will be 100.

12 + 3 – 4 + 5 + 67 + 8 + 9 = 100

and suggested there existed at least one more. I do not claim to have made an exhaustive search but there appear to be more than just two answers. One of this is

123 + 4 – 5 + 67 – 89 = 100

I am sure there it at least another one. Want to find it?

You may allow for operations other than addition and subtraction. This leads to a completely new set of problems with numbers having fractional parts. Variations include setting targets other than 100. Here, for example, a representation of one that uses all ten digits:

1 = 148/296 + 35/70

There are many ways to merrily spend time solving arithmetic problems. One way is to attempt representing numbers with limited means. For example, I can represent 100 with five threes as 100 = 33×3 + 3/3. It’s surprising how many numbers could be represented this way.

In the 1960s another kind of number puzzles have become very popular. Cryptarithms are brain teasers obtained when digits in numerical calculations have been replaced by letters. Customarily, distinct letters stand for different digits. Stars substitute for any digit and are not related to each other.

Fun with digits
Start with the sequence of non-zero digits 123456789. The problem is to place plus or minus signs between them so that the result of thus described arithmetic operation will be 100.

12 + 3 – 4 + 5 + 67 + 8 + 9 = 100

and suggested there existed at least one more. I do not claim to have made an exhaustive search but there appear to be more than just two answers. One of this is

123 + 4 – 5 + 67 – 89 = 100

I am sure there it at least another one. Want to find it?

You may allow for operations other than addition and subtraction. This leads to a completely new set of problems with numbers having fractional parts. Variations include setting targets other than 100. Here, for example, a representation of one that uses all ten digits:

1 = 148/296 + 35/70

There are many ways to merrily spend time solving arithmetic problems. One way is to attempt representing numbers with limited means. For example, I can represent 100 with five threes as 100 = 33×3 + 3/3. It’s surprising how many numbers could be represented this way.

In the 1960s another kind of number puzzles have become very popular. Cryptarithms are brain teasers obtained when digits in numerical calculations have been replaced by letters. Customarily, distinct letters stand for different digits. Stars substitute for any digit and are not related to each other.

I received the following letter from Belgium:

From: Gui et Nicole RULMONT
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 17:02:44 +0200

Dear Cut-the-Knot,

First please excuse my English. I am Belgian and I am very interested by your site!

You wrote in “Fun with digits”: Start with the sequence of non-zero digits 123456789. The problem is to place plus or minus signs between them so that the result of thus described arithmetic operation will be 100.

Some years ago, il found in the french magazine Science et Vie the 11 solutions:

1 + 2 + 34 – 5 + 67 – 8 + 9 = 100
12 + 3 – 4 + 5 + 67 + 8 + 9 = 100
123 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 + 8 – 9 = 100
123 + 4 – 5 + 67 – 89 = 100
123 + 45 – 67 + 8 – 9 = 100
123 – 45 – 67 + 89 = 100
12 – 3 – 4 + 5 – 6 + 7 + 89 = 100
12 + 3 + 4 + 5 – 6 – 7 + 89 = 100
1 + 23 – 4 + 5 + 6 + 78 – 9 = 100
1 + 23 – 4 + 56 + 7 + 8 + 9 = 100
1 + 2 + 3 – 4 + 5 + 6 + 78 + 9 = 100

If we put a “-” before 1, we have one more solution:

-1 + 2-3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 78 + 9 = 100

Using the “.” decimal separation 1 + 2.3 – 4 + 5 + 6.7 + 89 = 100

What about 987654321 ? There are 15 solutions, said Science et Vie:

98 – 76 + 54 + 3 + 21 = 100
9 – 8 + 76 + 54 – 32 + 1 = 100
98 + 7 + 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 + 2 – 1 = 100
98 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 + 3 + 21 = 100
9 – 8 + 76 – 5 + 4 + 3 + 21 = 100
98 – 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 = 100
98 + 7 – 6 + 5 – 4 + 3 – 2 – 1 = 100
98 + 7 – 6 + 5 – 4 – 3 + 2 + 1 = 100
98 – 7 + 6 + 5 – 4 + 3 – 2 + 1 = 100
98 – 7 + 6 – 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 – 1 = 100
98 + 7 – 6 – 5 + 4 + 3 – 2 – 1 = 100
98 – 7 – 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 100
9 + 8 + 76 + 5 + 4 – 3 + 2 – 1 = 100
9 + 8 + 76 + 5 – 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 100
9 – 8 + 7 + 65 – 4 + 32 – 1 = 100

Write the sign “-“, three solutions:

-9 + 8 + 76 + 5-4 + 3 + 21 = 100
-9 + 8 + 7 + 65 – 4 + 32 + 1 = 100
-9-8 + 76 – 5 + 43 + 2 + 1 = 100

With the decimal point: 9 + 87.6 + 5.4 – 3 + 2 – 1 = 100

91 + 7.68 + 5.32 – 4 = 100
98.3 + 6.4 – 5.7 + 2 – 1 = 100
538 + 7 – 429 – 13 = 100
(8×9.125) + 37 – 6 – 4 = 100 etc etc etc ….

1 + 2 + 3 – 4 + 5 + 6 + 78 + 9 = 100 could be a little modified without changing the result: 1! + 2! + 3 – 4 + 5 + 6 + 78 + 9 = 100

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.