Numberplay by Gyles Brandreth

By Gyles Brandreth

Booklet by way of Brandreth, Gyles

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100 tuns of wine ... 1 pipe of hippocras ... 104 oxen 6 wild bulls 1000 sheep ... 304 calves ... 304 'porkes' ... 400 swans . . 2000 geese ... 1000 capons ... 2000 pigs ... 104 peacocks . . 13500 birds of other sorts . . 500 + stags, bucks and roes ... 1500 hot venison pasties ... 608 pikes and breams ... 12 porpoises and seals ... ... 1300 dishes of jelly, cold baked tarts, hot and cold custards and 'spices sugared delicates, and wafers plentie' . . And all this was required for a mere 600 official guests!

For division by thirteen a) This method is similar to the one used for seven. So write out your number in sets of three, starting as the end and working backwards with alternating plus and minus signs. b) Work through this sum. c) If your answer can be divided by 13, then you know that the larger number can be evenly divided by 13 also. Watch: a) Your number is, say, 5618197 b) Grouped in sets it is: 5 - 618 + 197 c) Work through this and it equals - 416 d) Divide this by 13 and it equals - 32.

The next time you're faced with a larger number that you want to divide by either seven, 11 or 13, save yourself a little trouble by checking quickly whether your divisor will go into the number without leaving any remainders. This is how you do it: For division by seven a) Write down the number you want to divide. b) Beginning with the last digit, group the number in sets of three digits with a plus sign and a minus sign alternating between the sets to form a sum. c) Work through this sum. d) Look at your answer and see if this can be divided evenly by seven.

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