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The Chain Smokers in our neighborhood are revered for their magical ability. They can use five cigarette butts to make a full cigarette. One day, they collected a 1000 cigarette butts. How many cigarettes can they make, at maximum?

Here's something pre-, THE ANSWER IS NOT 200

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  • $\begingroup$ This looks like a math problem rather than a real puzzle $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Sep 2 '16 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ I think it's fair to call it a puzzle, but it's a really old puzzle... $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Sep 2 '16 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan Pretty sure, some similar puzzle would be present in the archives of this site.... This is a pretty famous one, even for kids..., there you go... puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/33289/… $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Sep 2 '16 at 16:21
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They make

200 cigarettes from the 1000 butts, then
40 cigarettes from the resulting 200 butts, then
8 cigarettes from the resulting 40 butts, then
1 cigarette from the resulting 8 butts,
at which point they have four butts left and can't go further.

So the number is

249.

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  • $\begingroup$ You've got the cigar. $\endgroup$ Sep 2 '16 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ The usual answer to this puzzle is that he then borrows a cigarette butt to make one more cigarette, and after he smokes it he can return the resulting butt he borrowed. $\endgroup$ Jul 9 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ True. But there's no indication in the problem statement that anyone around is lending out cigarette butts, nor any [lateral-thinking] in the tags, so I maintain that my more straightforward answer is better. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jul 9 at 15:21

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