## Archive for March 25, 2016

### Mathegories

In case you missed it, the following mathy challenge was presented by Will Shortz as the NPR Sunday Puzzle on February 28:

Find two eight-letter terms from math that are anagrams of one another. One is a term from geometry; the other is from calculus. What are the two words?

The irony of this puzzle (for me) appearing on that particular Sunday is that five days later, I delivered the keynote presentation for the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference, and I had included the answer to this puzzle as one of my slides. I wasn’t trying to present an answer to the NPR Puzzle; I was merely showing the two words as an example of an anagram. The following week, Will Shortz presented the answer as part of the NPR Sunday Puzzle on March 6.

SPOILER:

**Slide from My Presentation**

(aka, the answer)

What I particularly enjoyed about the March 6 segment was the on-air puzzle presented by Shortz. He’d give a category, and you’d then have to name something in the category starting with each of the letters W, I, N, D, and S.

I’ve always heard that **good teachers borrow, great teachers steal**. So I am going to blatantly pilfer Shortz’s idea, then give it a mathy twist.

I’ll give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in that category starting with each of the letters of M, A, T, and H. For instance, if the category were *State Capitals*, then you might answer Madison, Atlanta, Topeka, and Harrisburg. Any answer that works is fine. But for many of the categories, you’ll earn bonus points for mathy variations. For instance, if the bonus rule were “+1 for each state capital that has the same number of letters as its state,” then you’d get two points for Atlanta (Georgia) and Topeka (Kansas), but only one point for Madison (Wisconsin) and Harrisburg (Pennsylvania).

There are nine categories listed below, and the maximum possible score if all bonuses were earned would be 79 points. I’ve listed my best answers at the bottom of this post, which yielded a score of 62 points. **Can you beat it?** Post your score in the comments.

Want to play this game with friends or students?Download the PDF version. |

**Movie Titles**

(+1 for a math movie)

M _____

A _____

T _____

H _____

**Historical Figures**

(+1 if the person is a mathematician or scientist)

M _____

A _____

T _____

H _____

**Games**

(+1 if the game is mathematical)

M _____

A _____

T _____

H _____

**School Subjects**

(+1 for mathematical subjects)**
**M _____

A _____

T _____

H _____

**Words with One-Word Anagrams
**(+1 if it’s a math term)

**M _____**

A _____

T _____

H _____

**Words Containing the Letter “Q”
**(+1 if it’s a math term)

**M _____**

A _____

T _____

H _____

**Math Terms
** (+3 if all four terms are related, loosely defined as “could be found in the same chapter of a math book”)

**M _____**

A _____

T _____

H _____

**Words Containing the Letters M, A, T, and H**(+1 if the letters appear in order, though not necessarily consecutively; +2 if consecutive)

**M _____**

A _____

T _____

H _____

**Words with a Single-Digit Number Word Inside Them
**(such as

*asi*, but -1 if the number word is actually used numerically, such as

**nine***; +2 if the single-digit number is split across two or more syllables)*

**four**thsM _____

A _____

T _____

H _____

*The following are my answers for each category.*

**Movie Titles
**

*Moebius*,

*Antonia’s Line*,

*Travelling Salesman*,

*(A) Hill on the Dark Side of the Moon*

(8 points)

**Historical Figures
**Mandelbrot, Archimedes, Turing, Hypatia

(4 points)

**Games**

Mancala, Angels and Devils, Tic-Tac-Toe, Hex

(8 points)

**School Subjects**

Mathematics, Algebra, Trigonometry, History

(7 points)

**Words with One-Word Anagrams
**mode (dome), angle (glean), triangle (integral), heptagon (pathogen)

(8 points)

**Words Containing the Letter “Q”
**manque, aliquot, triquetrous, harlequin

(6 points)

**Math Terms**

median, altitude, triangle, hypotenuse

(7 points)

**Words Containing the Letters M, A, T, and H**

ma

**t**c

**h**, aro

**math**erapy,

**th**e

**ma**tic, ho

**m**eop

**ath**ic

**(8 points)**

**Words with a Single-Digit Number Word Inside Them
**mezza

**nine**, ar

**two**rk, t

**one**, h

**eight**

(6 points)