## Archive for June 21, 2013

### How Much Does Your Name Cost?

Here’s a contrived yet fun math problem that I shared with my sons recently:

A local hardware store sells bronze letters. However, the letters vary in price; some are more expensive than others. When I was at the store the other day, four people purchased the letters in their names. Their names and the prices they paid were:

Aiden \$491  •  Ned \$225  •  Dane \$399  •  Ed \$135

The price of a name is equal to the sum of the prices of its letters. The price for uppercase and lowercase letters is the same, and there is no additional surcharge or tax. How much would the following people pay to buy the letters in their names?

Those of you who know a little algebra will have no trouble with that problem. Those of you who don’t shouldn’t have too much trouble, either.

But then, I realized I could extend the problem for some added fun. And who am I to keep fun things to myself? So, here ya go.

At first, I thought the store was engaging in human trafficking. But then I realized that \$269 was the price for the bronze letters that had been used to spell the name Eli. Inside the store was a price list for other names:

 AIDEN – 491 AL – 248 ART – 267 BEA – 290 EARL – 415 DANE – 399 ED – 135 ELI – 269 FAY – 220 GABI – 289 HAL – 284 IVY – 143 JACK – 234 JAY – 232 KO – 60 KAI – 283 LEXI – 272 MAVIS – 363 MAX – 215 NED – 225 PAT – 210 PERRI – 330 QI – 93 QUIN – 199 SAMMY – 338 WILL – 243 ZENO – 243

The store didn’t have a list of prices for the individual letters, but then I realized that I didn’t need one. From the table above, I could figure out how much my name  would cost.

Can you figure out how much your name would cost?

You can download both of these problems for use in a classroom (or at a mathy party) from the following link:

Name Letters (PDF)

Name Letter Form

For what it’s worth, the longest name ever — according to Wolfe + 585, Senior, who has a pretty long name himself — is Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams. Her entire name name would have cost \$4,073 at this store — an astounding \$2,359 for her first name, \$1,119 for her middle name, and a veritable bargain at \$595 for her tame-by-comparison last name. (Incidentally, this is the name that appeared on her birth certificate. As the story goes, her father later increased her first name to 1,019 letters and added an additional 36 letters to her middle name. You know… just in case the name wasn’t long or unique enough already.)

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

## MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.