The Word Game, Part 2

Stimulated by this discovery, he looked in his mind to the letters again. SPEED. Double E, another set of fives, D makes four, fghij, that’s ten, klmno fifteen, that makes P sixteen, qrs gets to nineteen. A four, two fives, 16, 19 — is there an equation somewhere? 14, no help there, 16 and 4 makes 20 — divide the fives to get 1, subtract, there’s the equation!

Fully engaged now, he turned his attention to LIMIT. Twelve, two nines yes, 13, 20. Divide the nines to get 1, that worked last time. Twenty-five, still five off — and there’s five letters in the word! Multiply by 1, subtract five, solved!

Of course, his solution for LIMIT forced him to revisit his SPEED equation. Need to work in the five for the letters. Now it’s three fives, the four, 16, 19. Divide the four into 16, get the four back. Now what? Can get to 20 by multiplying the four and one of the fives — then divide the remaining two fives, 20 minus 1 is, yes, 19!

“What’s that?” his mother asked. He turned quickly to his mother in surprise, and only then realized that yes had been said, or more accurately exclaimed, aloud.

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