The coffee stain, the archeologist and the reverend


1) The coffee stain

**
When I visited an old friend of mine, with his laptop out of order, he had just completed a simple multiplication with pencil and paper. Unfortunately, I spilled some coffee over it. Can you pelase help him to complete the multiplication again?
Incomplete multiplication exercise 1

2) The missing digits puzzle

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In his “Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, tricks and conumdrums” American puzzle master Sam Loyd presented the following puzzle:
Sam Loydd missing numbers puzzle

Sam Loyd tells a long story about Mormon rock, and in his reprint Martin Gardner skipps this part. I will not follow his example in order to preserve the history, but I do not want to offend anyone, and one should take notice that Sam Loyd was also a master in inventing stories, as can be illustrated with the example on the Swiss flag. Don’t take anything he tells seriously.

Once again discussion has been revived concerning the meaning of the hieroglyphic numbers engraved on Mormon Rock. Mormonism originated only so far back as 1830, so if these weather beaten figures have anything to do with the Latter Day Saints there should be thousands of persons qualified to tell all about them, unless, as some claim, they pertain to the hidden mysteries.
The Mormons migrated in 1838 From Kirtland, O., to Nauvoo, the “City of Beauty” in Illinois and to Salt Lake in 1848. When they left Nauvoo they boasted that their line of march would be twenty four miles long, and was te be headed by a printing press to issue the daily orders of the prophet. It was stated that they were divided up into numerous companies, each one headed by one of the prophet’s wives, and the mysterious fiugures on the Mormon Rock were supposed to give the number of pilgrims in each division.

The figures look like a sum in division engraved upon a sandstone rock. Most of the numbers are illegible, but as some are sharp and clear it is to be assumed that the others were erased maliciously or for a purpose. It is now claimed that either through accident or design the eight legible numbers furnish a key to the mystery, and that the whole is a sum in long division which tells just how many pilgrims marched with each division, and incidentally gave a clue to the number of the prophet’s patrimonial ventures.

It is a remarkable coincidence that the remaining numbers furnish a cluse which easily solves a most interesting historical puzzle, for if you write down the sum in long division, mixing stars with the legible figures as shown, you should speedily be able to guess the numbers which have been erased so that the sum will prove. It reaaly looks as if there should be scores of correct answers, and yet so far as I am aware, but one satisfactory restoration of the missing numbers has been suggested.

Just in case the illustration is not clear, here is a more abstract image of the problem:

Sam Loyd archeologist missing digits

3) Dudeney

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In his “536 problems” British puzzle master Henry Dudeney presents the following problem:
incomplete division dudeney 144

He tells it was send to him by the reverend E.F.O. It is, he tells, the first example he has seen of one of those missing-figures puzzles.

You can find these and other puzzles like these in the second edition of my e-book with numbers puzzles.

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One thought on “The coffee stain, the archeologist and the reverend

  1. As 999 x 9799 has seven digits, this puzzle is impossible. I think you meant to illustrate the division 1213836 / 124 = 9789. In that case the final part of the array is displaced to the right.

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