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Beginner puzzle

This puzzle is intended to be suitable for people who are new to puzzle solving.

Clarification: Both experienced solvers and new solvers are welcome to post solutions to this puzzle.


The number 606 is written on a sheet of paper. What operation must be performed to make the number 50% greater?


This puzzle is from the July/August 1992 issue of Quantum magazine.

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    $\begingroup$ I, for one, am disappointed with the down votes. The OP made it very clear that this is a beginner puzzle. It is a fun puzzle. On this site we should welcome puzzles with all kinds of flavor and difficulty. Not only very clever or complicated puzzles that need a lot of time and effort to solve. My 2 cents $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Commented Apr 21 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ @DrD Long time no see. I don’t think it is the difficulty rating, it seems way too open for competing interpretations and invites speculative responses that is why I think people have an issue with it. $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Commented Apr 21 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ @DrD I was reloading the page yesterday, when I noticed someone downvoted the all answers at once. And people are getting really pedantic on what constitutes "one" operation or not. For example, the cutting answer, is is a single operation? Or many, considering you have to use the scissors more than once. I think we should apply the rule of cool, instead of spreading grief on a fun puzzle. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ @RogerA the Tautology Club wants to invite you for a keynote. xkcd.com/703 $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24 at 11:48
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    $\begingroup$ @MacGyver88 Here is the current problem: if I try to moderate the answers (e.g. flag, downvote, comment), then I am told that because they are funny they are OK. Which means that they are accepted. Then, since barely-fitting joke answers are accepted, I tried to moderate the question (closevote, comment), and then I am told that the problem is with the answers and I shouldn't do anything about the question. So which is it? Is there support for deleting joke answers? Then the question is fine. Is there no support for deleting joke answers? Then the question is insufficiently specified. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Apr 25 at 21:09

8 Answers 8

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'50 percent greater' means

the current value is increased by an additional half. In other words, the resulting value is 1.5 times bigger than the original value.

Hence the answer we are looking for is

606×1.5=909

Since the number 606 is written on a sheet of paper, we can achieve the result by an operation called

Rotation.

(rotate the paper 180 degrees)

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    $\begingroup$ I would imagine that this was the intended solution when the puzzle was first published. It's great to see the lateral-thinking alternative answers, too. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22 at 10:49
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Even pre-internet there were complicated ways to solve simple problems.

Even then you could increase font size.

You only needed the scissors tool.

enter image description here The operation is called cutting.

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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't call that "greater", I would call it "bigger" or "larger". $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Apr 21 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ @bobble the title of the question says "bigger", though $\endgroup$
    – Notso
    Commented Apr 22 at 4:34
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The sheet of paper with the number 606 is a check.

Invest it on Argentina's economy for roughly 3 months.

Given that it had

211% inflation rate in 2023, the 606 dollars will grow by ~50% in 3 months.

The operation is called,

Compound Interest.

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    $\begingroup$ that was funny :) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ This is clearly not in the spirit of the puzzle, and you are adding more non-insignificant qualities to the paper. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Apr 25 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ bobble here's the fun part. You can make any piece of paper a money order (a check), so long the bank agrees with you that it is a valid money order. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble I think this answer is fine. It's hard to draw a line in lateral-thinking questions. For me this one is fine, while the Maga-ification is not fine. $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Commented Apr 26 at 14:52
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Get two flat mirrors.

Place them standing up on the paper reflective side facing the numbers, making a 90º angle between them, with the number 606 in the rectangle formed by extending the two mirrors. If you look in the correct way, you'll see the number 909 in the reflection of the two mirrors.

The operation is called:

Reflection

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  • $\begingroup$ You just need one mirror. $\endgroup$
    – dr_
    Commented Apr 24 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ @dr_ no. Because with one miror in the vertical (sideways), the loops of the sixes will remain in the lower part. To make them nines, you need the second mirror to reflect them along the second axis. If you put the mirror in the horizontal (facing the viewer), then you'll have the nines backward. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, yes. You're right. My mistake. $\endgroup$
    – dr_
    Commented Apr 24 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ @dr_ NP. Have fun and thanks for participating. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24 at 14:12
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Put the paper in one of those...

... Xerox [1] machines. Set the amplification rate to 150% and press the copy button.

[1] No endorsement intended on either part.

The operation is called:

Photocopy.

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Draw a red hat on the numbers, with the saying:

Make Arithmetics 150% Great Again.

The operation is called,

Maga-ification. Though it might only work on imaginary numbers or if you put it in a radical expression. YMMV.

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    $\begingroup$ Make the number HUGE! Best number you ever saw. Trust me, I've seen a lot of numbers. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22 at 23:32
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't that called Trump-isation? Making things great again? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23 at 12:26
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    $\begingroup$ @bobble, did you miss the lateral-thinking at the foot of the question? For one, I'm enjoying the creative answers outside the "spirit" of the original. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry for the downvote, but I did it since it doesn't explain why the number 606 specifically was chosen $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Commented Apr 25 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, you can bring rot13(gur pnc) into your answer, and it is technically correct and it uses lateral thinking, but it was introduced out of nowhere. There are details that can be used that are more relevant to the puzzle. I think there comes a point where one thinks too outside the box and has to come a bit closer to the box. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Commented Apr 25 at 17:37
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Moving. In particular, bringing the piece of paper closer to your eyes.

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On the other side of the paper, write "606" using figures 50% larger than on the first side.

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    $\begingroup$ It speaks of one operation. $\endgroup$
    – haxor789
    Commented Apr 22 at 11:04
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    $\begingroup$ It's a two-part operation. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ By the logic any action would be a multi-part operation. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Apr 25 at 1:43

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