Miss Pendlegast’s clock stop conundrum!

We uncover another of Detective Mathema’s famous cases!

detective-mathemaWelcome Mathematicals to another story about Algebrus Mathema, the most famous mathematical detective in the world.

Whether it’s sequences or time, weights or algebra, Detective Mathema has the power to solve the puzzles.

One morning Miss Pendlegast woke up to find that her only clock had stopped working. The plug had been pulled out of the socket! Can you imagine such a thing?

Now Miss Pendlegast didn’t have a watch, radio, telephone, television or anything else to give her the right time, because she considered these things to be vulgar. Her nearest neighbour, Minnie Pincer, lived over 2 miles away. Minnie Pincer had plenty of clocks and could be counted upon to give Miss Pendlegast the right time. The trouble was that Minnie Pincer was also known to be mean, and seldom permitted friends to borrow clocks, not even in extreme situations such as this.

Another vexation was that the only way that Miss Pendlegast could get there was by walking – across three fields no less. If Minnie Pincer told her the correct time to set her clock by, it would be wrong after the long walk home.

“Oh dear what shall I do” cried Miss Pendlegast as Sir Sidney Chirrup walked by. “I’d love to help,” he said “But I’m in a bit of a hurry you see, I’m off to buy some pigeons!”
Later that day, Sir Sidney returned and found Miss Pendlegast sitting in her kitchen, having a cup of tea with Detective Mathema. Sir Sidney noticed her clock was now working. “How did you get the right time” he asked.

“Detective Mathema helped me out” she said, smiling.

Detective Mathema chipped in: “All I did was suggest to Miss Pendlegast that she walked to her neighbour’s house after starting her clock at home and noting the time it said. And when she arrived there, she was to note the correct time from her neighbours clock and walk back at the same speed.

When she returned home, by looking at her own clock, she would see how long she was away and could work out the length of her journey home by dividing that in half. By simply adding her journey time to the time she noted at Minnie Pincer’s, she could reset her own clock”.

“He’s right,” commented Miss Pendlegast. “Before I left home, I re-started my clock – it read 8.00. When I got to Minnie’s, I noted that her clock read 10.15. I walked back at the same speed, and found my clock now read 9.20. I had been walking 80 minutes – 40 minutes each way. All I had to do was add 40 minutes to 10:15, and therefore I knew, per Detective Mathema’s advice, to reset my clock to 10:55. Job done! Fancy a cuppa tea?”

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The Adventures of Detective Mathema with support from The Ernest Cook Trust.


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