The examples below are considered Unambiguously Questionable Numbers:

8 to 7 is 8
23 to 22 is 5
628 to 626 is 2
3969 to 3943 is 3
7712 to 7701 is 9
19824 to 19823 is 5
19897 to 19870 is 18
32236 to 32235 is 1713
32378 to 32377 is 31
40808 to 40806 is 5106
42939 to 42891 is 18

Explain what is the "to" operator and find the Unambiguously Questionable Number for the equation below (find X):

X to 44493 is X

Answer to @humn's question in the comment:

There are numerical values of a and b such that:
a > 0 and b > 0 and a != b and the value of a to b does not exist.


there are quite a lot of them. For example all possible values of a and b from 1 to 100 are already presented by the first two equations.

  • $\begingroup$ Is there a secret meaning to the "is" or it is the same as "="? $\endgroup$ Oct 18, 2016 at 7:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @stack reader you could replace the "is" with "=" if this is more readable for you. $\endgroup$
    – oleslaw
    Oct 18, 2016 at 7:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not 100% sure if the "lateral-thinking" tag fits this question, but I feel it is more accurate than "calculation-puzzle" or "mathematics" $\endgroup$
    – oleslaw
    Oct 18, 2016 at 9:09
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    $\begingroup$ Very interesting additional hint about what is (not) missing from the examples. I was gearing up to ask that exact question. Also interesting is that the very first example, "8 to 7 is 8," is similar in form to the mystery statement. $\endgroup$
    – rotta
    Oct 18, 2016 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


In the expression X to Y is Z,

Y is the question number on this site, X is the post number of the accepted answer, and Z is the numerical answer to the question itself. Only questions with numerical answers can be fit to this pattern.

For example,

in 3969 to 3943 is 3, 3943 refers to this question, 3969 refers to this answer, with the numerical answer three.


44501 to 44493 is 44501, because this answer's post number is 44501, which is both the post number and the numerical answer.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't get Z, where does it come from? $\endgroup$
    – fdr
    Oct 18, 2016 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ Z is the actual answer to the puzzle, contained in comment Y. $\endgroup$
    – djb212
    Oct 18, 2016 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ Could you give a further explanation as to how you reached this conclusion. How is X=44501? $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Oct 18, 2016 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ Awesome, nicely done! @Sid If you click the "share" link at the bottom of this answer, you'll see that it is post #44501 on this site. $\endgroup$ Oct 18, 2016 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ @djb212 I tidied up the explanation a bit so it was clearer. Hope you don't mind, and welcome to Puzzling! $\endgroup$ Oct 18, 2016 at 18:17

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