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Here's a addictive and frustrating puzzle that will likely make you tear your hair out. Even I do not yet have a perfect solution, but due to the endless possibilities of the english language, I'm sure it can be done.

Suppose we assign a value (in U.S. cents) to each letter of the alphabet. $A$ is worth $1$¢, $B$ is worth $2$¢, and so on, and $Z$ is worth $26$¢. Let the value of a word or phrase be equal to the sum of the values of its letters. For example, DOG is worth $26$¢, and CAT is only worth $24$¢.

Can you find a phrase that expresses (in English) the same amount of money as it is worth (using the cent values assigned to its letters)?

Here are some near misses that I've come up with:

(off by $4$¢)

ONE DOLLAR $\to$ $96$¢

(off by $3$¢)

DOLLAR BILL $\to$ $97$¢

(off by $2$¢):

THREE DOLLAR BILLS AND TEN PENNIES $\to$ $312$¢

(off by $2$¢):

THREE DOLLAR BILLS AND ONE PENNY $\to$ $299$¢

(off by $2$¢):

THREE DOLLAR BILLS AND NO PENNIES $\to$ $302$¢

For an extra challenge, one you have found a correct answer, try finding an answer that is worth less money.

Edit: I need to add some more rules to prevent answers that are too easy to formulate. In an answer, if more than one different units of currency are being used, the unit must be specified before it is listed in the answer. For example, BUCK ADD TWO would be interpreted as three dollars instead of a dollar and two cents, whereas BUCK ADD TWO CENTS would be interpreted as the latter.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can we use slang terms for dollars and things (e.g. 'a buck') $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 21 '17 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes you can. I'm making it pretty flexible, because it's still really hard. $\endgroup$ – Franklin Pezzuti Dyer May 21 '17 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ It is pretty hard. Closest I have is 'SINGLE BILL' which is 101 $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 21 '17 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ Wow... that's pretty close. Also, another idea, which I have yet to try, is to use the currencies of other countries (Euros, Pesos) to get within a fraction of a dollar of a correct answer (due to currency conversions). $\endgroup$ – Franklin Pezzuti Dyer May 21 '17 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that's a good idea as they are constantly changing $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 21 '17 at 20:20
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Found three:

The current winning one (based on smallest amount) is:

BILL ADD TWO = $102$
35+ 9 + 58
44+58
=102

A very close smaller one:

A BUCK ADD THREE = 103
1 + 37 + 9 + 56
47+56
=103

And a bigger one

THREE DOLLAR BILLS ADD FIVE PENNIES = $305$

So you don't have to check:

20+8+18+5+5 4+15+12+12+1+18 2+9+12+12+19 1+4+4 6+9+22+5 16+5+14+14+9+5+19
56 + 62 + 54 + 9 + 42 + 82
118 + 63 + 124
181+124
= 305

Rubio also found

THREE DOLLARS AND FIFTY SIX PENNIES

Couple of close shaves:

Off by one cent:

SINGLE BILL = 101
BUCK ADD THREE = 102

Off by two cents:

BUCK ADD TWO = 104
BUCK ADD FOUR = 106
BUCK ADD ELEVEN = 109
BUCK ADD DOZEN = 110

Off by three cents:

SINGLE BUCK = 103

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  • $\begingroup$ Not that I'm biased (ok I'm totally biased ...) but people don't say "bill add two" or "three dollars add five pennies". My solutions are ways people might actually express monetary amounts in real usage. Maybe that should be a criterion of the question? $\endgroup$ – Rubio May 21 '17 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio perhaps. I've gone with their first comment where we can use slang and that they've made it flexible. $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 21 '17 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Some near misses: THREE HUNDRED SIXTY ONE US CENTS = 362, THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN US CENTS = 389, TWO POUNDS AND TUPPENCE = 266 ~~ 204p at time of writing. This one could be true in the future if GBP rises. THIRTY SEVEN POINT OH FIVE HONG KONG DOLLARS = 476 ~~ 37.0578 HKD at time of writing. (The smallest legal tender HKD denomination is 0.1 HKD, so this really wouldn't be valid at all.) $\endgroup$ – edderiofer May 22 '17 at 12:48
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Here are my solutions so far --

95 1,2

Half a dime off ace.sense 6
$= 27 + 1 + 31 + 27 + 9 = 95$

100 1,2

A half ace, doubled.
$= 1 + 27 + 9 + 63 = 100$

156 3

A buck fifty-six.
$= 1 + 37 + 66 + 52 = 156$

356 1,3

Three dollars and fifty-six pennies.
$= 56 + 81 + 19 + 66 + 52 + 82 = 356$

1 Appears to qualify under current rules
2 Definitely not something people would actually say
3 Something people might actually say

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  • $\begingroup$ Huzzah indeed! Nice find! $\endgroup$ – Franklin Pezzuti Dyer May 21 '17 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ You momentarily beat me, now I have 'BUCK ADD TWO' = 102. Sorry :P $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 21 '17 at 20:50
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Made this small program: https://codepen.io/anon/pen/pPqzJa to help calculating the letters (just type your phrase in the box and it will show the sum), but it's still quite tricky to find a good match.

I only found one so far:

three dollars and sixty six cents = 366

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