Can You Defeat the Detroit Lines?

This week’s Riddler Express features a challenge drawn from the world of football analytics: In the Riddler Football League, you are coaching the Arizona Ordinals against your opponent, the Detroit Lines, and your team is down by 14 points. You can assume that you have exactly two remaining possessions (i.e., opportunities to score), and that Detroit will score no more points. For those unfamiliar with American football, a touchdown is worth 6 points.

By Benjamin Soltoff in R

January 8, 2022

More Menorah Math!

This week’s Riddler Express deals with some menorah math that provides a good application for combinatorics: Tonight marks the sixth night of Hanukkah, which means it’s time for some more Menorah Math! I have a most peculiar menorah. Like most menorahs, it has nine total candles — a central candle, called the shamash, four to the left of the shamash and another four to the right. But unlike most menorahs, the eight candles on either side of the shamash are numbered.

By Benjamin Soltoff in R

December 15, 2021

Time travel for the lottery

Today’s Riddler Express features an interesting optimization problem: Channeling your inner Marty McFly, you travel one week back in time in an attempt to win the lottery. It’s worth $10 million, and each ticket costs a dollar. Note that if you win, your ticket purchase is not refunded. All of this sounds pretty great. The problem is, you’re not alone. There are 10 other time travelers who also know the winning numbers.

By Benjamin Soltoff in R

October 10, 2021

Can you bake the radish pie?

Today’s Riddler Express was an interesting application of sequences and convergence:1 I recently came across a rather peculiar recipe for something called Babylonian radish pie. Intrigued, I began to follow the directions, which said I could start with any number of cups of flour. Any number? I mean, I had to start with some flour, so zero cups wasn’t an option. But according to the recipe, any positive value was fair game.

By Benjamin Soltoff in R

September 17, 2021

How low would a batter’s chances of reaching base have to be for you to expect one perfect game per season?

The recent Riddler Express deals with the increasing rate of no-hitters in the MLB: As of this week, there have already been six no-hitters this MLB season, well on pace to break the record for no-hitters for a season in the modern era, which stands at nine in 1990. To achieve a no-hitter, a pitcher must pitch a complete game (recording 27 outs over nine innings) without allowing a hit (i.

By Benjamin Soltoff in r

June 2, 2021