I have an ancient mayan friend who emailed me the other day:

From: BalajChanKawiil@google.az

To: puzzleguy@google.com

Subject: Hey!

Hey how are you!

I was wondering if you were feeling a little bored, living in 2017, and wanted a little change. If you do, try out my magic baktun wheel! If you've forgotten about what a baktun is, then just look here. Look at the attatchments for more info.

From Balaj.





Isn't that nice of him! I opened the image first:

Baktun Wheel


Welcome to the magical time-traveling baktun wheel from azsoft corp!

Here's how to get started:

You can choose any time period to travel to to live your life! All you have to do, is simply type in the name of the baktun eg. "thirteen" and you will be instantly transported! Of course there is more to the baktun wheel; it has the power to change your life-span. The number of the letters a, i, o, and u in the word determines how many baktuns you will live for (e is the only vowel that does not count towards your lifespan). For instance "four" has two life-letters ("o", and "u"), so you will be transported to the fourth baktun, and you will live for two baktuns, so untill the very end of the fifth baktun, having lived through baktuns four and five. You will live clockwise around the baktun wheel in numerical order, but when you get to baktun 19, something quite remarkable happens, you are transported all the way back to the original baktun 1.

Our software has cross-language support for all languages that use Latin characters so "one", "un", "uno", "eine" and many more are all accepted. Also alternate forms of the words eg. "zero", "nought" etc. So you can use phrases (with multiple words), and natural numbers, but actual numerals are disallowed. However, you must use denary numbers only, and you must use an actual phrase that people use to refer to the number be it "thirteen", "bakers dozen" etc. and you can not use phrases that identify to the number like "days in a week" to refer to 7.

Have fun!

That sounds like some pretty amazing technology! Now all I have to do is choose what Baktun to live in... Now I'm very into sci-fi and futuristic things so the later in time the better. In fact, I want to live through as many of the latest possible Baktuns. To make things easier, I will use a points system, the higher the better. The baktun's point score will be the same as the baktun. For instance, if I lived in Baktun 14 for a life-span of 3, the score would be 14+15+16 = 45 points.

I have opened up the program.


Baktun Program

What should I type in for the highest point score I can find? Whoever can find the highest scoring answer wins!

Include in your answer the NO points and language outside of the spoilers.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Marchhill Note that this site frowns on puzzles that don't have a clear definition and a clear "best answer". Your puzzle criteria need to be well-defined enough that you can clearly say whether any answer qualifies and whether it is "better" than another answer. There should be no need for people to ask whether a certain word/phrase is allowed, because it should be spelled out in the question. Failure to sufficiently define puzzle parameters will likely result in the question being closed as "too broad". $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Jan 12 '17 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ Is there a tag for a puzzle meant for light-hearted fun? I think some of us are enjoying this one, in spite of its broadness. $\endgroup$ – wildBillMunson Jan 12 '17 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Deusovi touchee $\endgroup$ – wildBillMunson Jan 12 '17 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Rubio a) yes b) yes c) no because this will break the question $\endgroup$ – Melkor Jan 12 '17 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Marchhill Please edit all of your rule clarifications into the question itself, so that people don't need to read through the comments in order to determine what the rules are. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Jan 12 '17 at 19:18

11 Answers 11


How about:

"marang-aynjaabugij marang-aynjaabugij wulal-wulal", which is 14 in Nunggubuyu language, contains 18 life-letters.

and scores:

14+15+16+17+18+19+1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12 =

177 points



  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is a valid answer and will be very tough to beat! $\endgroup$ – wildBillMunson Jan 12 '17 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ @wildBillMunson, thanks. It is a fun puzzle. :) $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Jan 12 '17 at 19:40
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    $\begingroup$ Math class must be tedious for Nunggubuyu speakers. $\endgroup$ – johannes Jan 13 '17 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ According to Wikipedia the word for nine is "maralibalinala mari wulawulal"—which actually has one more life-letter. $\endgroup$ – Nick Matteo Jan 13 '17 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @kundor Well, I guess Wikipedia is not the most reliable source. My source is another Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. I found another source. $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Jan 13 '17 at 20:13

I would type (in French)

Douzaine de boulanger (French translation of "baker's dozen", or thirteen)

which would given me

13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19

or 112 points.

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    $\begingroup$ The Italian would be "dozzina del fornaio" which would net the same score. $\endgroup$ – wildBillMunson Jan 12 '17 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ I will confess that this doesn't feel 100% kosher to me, since it's an idiomatic expression that doesn't necessarily translate literally. But hey, if the software accepts it... $\endgroup$ – Michael Seifert Jan 12 '17 at 18:54

For 124 points:

"Twelve" in Maori is kotahi tekau ma rua, and contains 8 "life-letters".


I propose a rule change. Let's accept answers in Italian. I accept the rule change. Here's my answer under these new rules:

quattordicesimo (Italian for 14th)

which gives me

6 Baktuns (14+15+16+17+18+19) = 99

99 Points

  • $\begingroup$ beating you by 26 points :P $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 12 '17 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ italian isn't supported unfortunately $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 12 '17 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ I edited the question to allow all languages using latin characters, I think this will allow for even more imaginative and varied answers! $\endgroup$ – Melkor Jan 12 '17 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ HAHA yes! I knew you would go for that!!!! :D $\endgroup$ – wildBillMunson Jan 12 '17 at 18:43

I would type

Decimocuarto (ordinal form of fourteen in spanish)

this will give me

5 baktuns - decimocuarto - meaning I will live in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth baktuns. 14+15+16+17+18 =

80 points

  • $\begingroup$ I think you meant the ordinal form. $\endgroup$ – wildBillMunson Jan 12 '17 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ @wildBillMunson that one. Thanks :P $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 12 '17 at 18:27

How about

diecicuatro - Spanish for Fourteen - 5 life letters.
14+15+16+17+18 = 80

80 Points Spanish

  • $\begingroup$ just edited to give that. ninja'd you :P $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 12 '17 at 18:26

How about


A Central Algonquian language from "Miami-Illinois" gives -

paraare palaani niišomeneehki for number 8


Total life letters = 11 Hence we get $8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18 = 143$

Credit - Wikipedia

  • $\begingroup$ I counted several times, I still get 11 life-letters. $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Jan 13 '17 at 11:10
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    $\begingroup$ Oops..Can I cheat and add an extra "a" somewhere? :D Thanks.. Let me edit.. $\endgroup$ – Techidiot Jan 13 '17 at 11:17

In English, my score can be very large (arbitrarily so if you allow unusual names). For example:

zero quadrillion, zero trillion, zero billion, zero million, zero thousand, sixteen.

This has 23 life-letters, so gives total $$16+17+18+19+(1+\cdots+19)=260$$

This gives 260 points.

  • $\begingroup$ Although this could be argued to be correct, it doesn't really fit with 'you must use an actual phrase that people use to refer to the number' $\endgroup$ – Melkor Jan 12 '17 at 22:38

In Brazil, the numbers for Bingo are usually not called out as numbers, instead they are called by a phrase (usually a question) whose answer is that number. Bingo is a common game in the catholic Quermesse, most of the questions are catholic in nature; So we have:

"A Nossa Bíblia Sagrada está dividida em quantas partes?" Is a phrase for the number 2, and has 17 life letters. (the answer is two: new and old testament)


A[1] no[2]ssa[3] Bí[4]bli[5]a[6] Sa[7]gra[8]da[9] está[10] di[11]vi[12]di[13]da[14] em qua[15]nta[16]s pa[11]rtes? So the sum of 2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19 = 170

170 points.


This is quite borderline about the "you must use an actual phrase that people use to refer to the number" rule, so I'll let you judge

"soltanto una singola, normalissima, noiosa unità" (Italian for "just a single, extremely plain, boring unit")

Scores 190 by starting at Baktun 1 and living all 19 Baktuns in order.


I said this is borderline because while obviously this sentence won't be used in all normal day conversations, you could still imagine it being uttered by someone wanting to be all theatrical while showing how small and plain a single 1 is. ("I asked you to write a number as big and weird as you wanted and you give me just this single, extremely plain and boring unit?")

  • $\begingroup$ If this was allowed then something like "only one? just one really?" would also be allowed, so sorry but no. $\endgroup$ – Melkor Jan 13 '17 at 17:06

If I use one of the (apparently many) alternate forms of Roman numerals then I can write


thus giving me a score of

19 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 + 18

190 points

(I don't know how in keeping with "an actual phrase that people use" this can be considered; it's an actual numbering system though that people have used)

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry but this isn't allowed. I have slightly modified the question to make this rule more clear "So you can use phrases (with multiple words), and natural numbers, but actual numerals are disallowed" $\endgroup$ – Melkor Jan 13 '17 at 17:19

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