# ♦ Series - Getting a free donut

### Introduction

There is a way to get a free donut at a coffee shop near the Stack Exchange offices.

However, you are required to solve a phrase and convert it into a single number.

### Codes

You watch as a cashier says:

Do not use the toilets here. We're washing them.

And then the person replies:

$$38$$.

They get a free donut.

Next, another person walks in and you listen again. The cashier says:

Donuts by the dozen are $3. The person replies: $$20$$. Once again, the cashier gives the person a free donut. You go back the following day and watch as more people get their own free donuts. The cashier says: Donuts are mentioned somehow as a secret here, and thus, this is a -related question. The person replies: $$20$$. Once again, they get a free donut. The cashier says to another customer: Your donuts aren't considered free yet. The customer replies: $$50$$. This is also correct, and the cashier gives them free donuts. You go up to the counter and the cashier says: No donuts right now. We're making some more. You come up with a random number: Hmm... $$44$$? She replies: Sorry, but I do not know what you are talking about. (You saw some donuts being handed to a paying person later, so you know she wasn't telling the truth when she said there were no donuts) You are really hungry and want to get a free donut. What number should you say when you come back? You have promised her you will come back with the correct number (although she just shrugs) ### Hints • Hint 1: Donut ignore the pun in this hint. • Hint 2: Do you nut see a tasty treat hidden in this? • Hint 3: Why do you nut take what the cashier said literally? "Donuts are mentioned somehow as a secret here, and thus, this is a -related question." • Hint 4: $$6+2+7+2+8+2+9+2+10+2 = 50$$. • It's re-misspelled in the latest edit. Accidental? Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 1:58 • It isn't accidental, or it isn't misspelled? (Because it is misspelled, o instead of a.) Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:01 • Unfortunately, this question seems to be of the "Guess what I'm thinking" type. OP has now shot down two answers that fit all the clues with Sorry not what I had in mind. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 12:40 • If you're really that hungry, why not just pay for the donut? :P Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 13:25 • @Peanut: When they were really hungry when the question was first asked, they must be starved by now. :) Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 5:19 ## 7 Answers You should have answered 40 to begin with, but now you can answer 149 to get a free donut. The pattern is as follows. You need to spell the word "donut" using the letters the cashier used, in order. Then, add up the word positions and absolute character positions. Donut must be spelled in order, using the order of the characters that the cashier uses. Do not use the toilets here. We're washing them.  D = First word, first character = 1, 1 O = First word, second character = 1, 2 N = Second word, fourth character (including spaces!) = 2, 4 U = Third word, eighth character = 3, 8 T = Fourth word, twelfth character = 4, 12  1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 4 + 3 + 8 + 4 + 12 = 38  Donuts by the dozen are$3.
D = 1, 1
O = 1, 2
N = 1, 3
U = 1, 4
T = 1, 5
 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 5 = 20

Donuts are mentioned somehow as a secret here, and thus, this is a steganography-related question.
D = 1, 1
O = 1, 2
N = 1, 3
U = 1, 4
T = 1, 5
 1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 5 = 20

Your donuts aren't considered free yet.
D = 2, 6
O = 2, 7
N = 2, 8
U = 2, 9
T = 2, 10
 2 + 6 + 2 + 7 + 2 + 8 + 2 + 9 + 2 + 10 = 50

No donuts right now. We're making some more.
D = 2, 4
O = 2, 5
N = 2, 6
U = 2, 7
T = 2, 8
 2 + 4 + 2 + 5 + 2 + 6 + 2 + 7 + 2 + 8 = 40

So, you should have answered 40 to begin with. Now, the cashier has said another sentence which we can apply the rule to:

Sorry, but I do not know what you are talking about.
D = 4, 14
O = 4, 15
N = 5, 17
U = 8, 33
T = 10, 39
4 + 14 + 4 + 15 + 5 + 17 + 8 + 33 + 10 + 39 = 149

So now, you may answer with 149 to get your free donut.

Bonus confirmation pointed out by Arth, shown in a comment on flu's answer:

I can see a hint, but donut ignore that I still see steganogrophy-related in the text.
D = 7, 23
O = 7, 24
N = 7, 25
U = 7, 26
T = 7, 27
 7 + 23 + 7 + 24 + 7 + 25 + 7 + 26 + 7 + 27 = 160

• I was just about to start writing out something close to this answer, glad I saw the update before I did! Looks good and is also backed up by the comment answer 'I can see a hint, but donut ignore that I still see steganogrophy-related in the text.' - 160 (23+7+24+7+25+7+26+7+27+7)
– Arth
Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 16:34
• @Arth I was taking them way too literally at first, trying to find the number of "donuts" (letters with holes) in each sentence. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 17:10
• Oh my goodness thank you, @MorganG, for putting this one to rest. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 17:13
• Congratulations, you finished this puzzle! Just wondering, but did you use any of the hints? Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 17:17
• @Peanut, Yes. I've been obsessing over this for a week or so but had nothing solid until the hint you posted last night. The first three hints didn't really give me any additional information though. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 17:20

For the known-good answers we have so far [EDITED to add: ... but more answers have since been added to the question], the number equals

the number of letters in the cashier's utterance, plus one

with the proviso that

you somehow need to know that "$3" is a symbol and a digit rather than, say, "t-h-r-e-e b-u-c-k-s". In that case, depending on whether we take the cashier's last utterance as a "prompt" or an "error message", it seems like you need to say either 34 or 40 (if I've counted right). • This is not the answer I'm looking for. However, why are the resulting numbers different depending on if the cashier's last utterance was taken as a prompt virus an error message? Also, I've added a hint. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 1:39 • @Peanut It's different depending on whether you're supposed to respond to the original prompt or the new utterance. – f'' Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:16 • @f", the rule has stayed the same this whole time. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:24 • @Peanut The rule in this answer is the same, but the different numbers are because one is applying the rule to the original message ("No donuts right now..."), while the other one comes from applying the rule to the new response ("Sorry, but I do not know..."). – f'' Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:30 • I hereby confirm that f'' has understood me correctly. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 10:10 My answer is 38 Reasoning I think each digit of the answer represents a different aspect of the phrase uttered by the cashier. The first digit gives the position of the first word in the phrase which shares less than two letters with the word "donut". The second digit is not a digit but rather a representation of a generalised donut whose genus (number of holes) is given by the number of sentences uttered by the cashier. Do not use the toilets here. We're washing them. The first word in the sentence which shares less than 2 letters with "donut" is use which is at position 3. The cashier utters two distinct sentences and 8 is the genus two shape. Donuts by the dozen are$3.

The first word in the sentence which shares less than 2 letters with "donut" is by which is at position 2.

The cashier utters one sentence which corresponds to the simple genus one donut 0.

Donuts are mentioned somehow as a secret here, and thus, this is a steganogrophy-related question.

The first word in the sentence which shares less than 2 letters with "donut" is are which is at position 2.

The cashier utters one sentence which corresponds to the simple genus one donut 0.

Your donuts aren't considered free yet.

The first word in the sentence which shares less than 2 letters with "donut" is free which is at position 5.

The cashier utters one sentence which corresponds to the simple genus one donut 0.

No donuts right now. We're making some more.

The first word in the sentence which shares less than 2 letters with "donut" is right which is at position 3.

The cashier utters two sentences which corresponds to the genus two donut 8.

Also,

This explains the cashier's confusion as 4 is not a legitimate answer for the second digit.

Seems like the question was edited since I posted my answer. So I've adjusted.

Re: What number should you say when you come back?

35. Which is the count of letters and numbers modulus 60. But not including symbols, spaces or punctuation. So "we're" would count as 5, after being expanded to "we are". And "\$3" would simply count as 1. The misspelling of steganography is assumed as well, and counted as 12 letters.

• The misspelling of steganography was a mistake on my part. I've since updated the post and fixed that error, along with adding a hint. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 1:40
• I can see a hint, but donut ignore that I still see steganogrophy-related in the text. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 3:47
• To include the hint in any answers that use counting the letters, maybe "donuts" becomes "do not", so 5 letters instead of 6.
– mbjb
Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 8:09
• The resulting number of that message, @ericm301, would be 160. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 2:19

20.

Explanation:

Any answer with "donuts" in it is 20

• This is not the answer I was looking for, nor is it a complete answer. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 1:44
• I knew it was too simple, why doesn't 20 work? Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 1:53
• I'd have to reveal the correct answer to you to explain that. Your reasoning is wrong; 20 can be right or wrong. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:01
• This fits all the current clues. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:02
• @Peanut Yep, just saying that it's consistent and thus is a reasonable guess. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:05

Possibly a partial:

It appears that when the cashier says 'Donut(s)' the answer ends in a 0, which at least one of my Maths teachers referred to jokingly as a donut. And when the cashier says 'Do not' it ends with an 8 at least from the one sample. This could be seen as a 0 with a line through it in calculator font.

'No donuts right now. We're making some more.':

You could answer x0 as 'donuts' is mentioned, possibly 50 as this response earned free donuts not a singular donut and I'm greedy.

'Sorry, but I do not know what you are talking about.'

For the second statement I'd guess x8, as 'do not' is mentioned, possibly 38 as this answer was rewarded before.

Not solved:

The first digit.

Crazy guess:

The first digit comes from the first digit of an HTTP response code, 2 for status ok, 3 for a redirect 4 for not found and 5 for an error code. This would make sense for 38 (redirected to the toilets), two 20s (info about donuts), 50 (error for donuts not free). The correct responses could be 40 (no donuts found) and 58 or 48 (don't know what you are talking about).