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The eight ladies maths problem

Eight ladies go to eight shops at eight o'clock in the morning. Each lady wants to buy eight spiders. For each spider, eight spider shoes must also be bought. But they only have eight pounds between them. With each spider costing eight pence and each spider shoe costing an eighth pence each, will the ladies have enough change for the bus home? A journey costing eight pence per stop and made up of eight stops.


Eight ladies having 8 pounds between them would mean that they had 800 pence total, or 1920 pence pre-decimalisation. The ladies would need 640 pence in total (Eight ladies times the cost for each lady, which is sixty-four pence for eight eight-pence spiders, plus eight pence for all the spider shoes (each shoe costing an eighth of a pence means that each spider's eight shoes cost one pence), bringing the total to seventy-two, plus eight pence for their bus stop for a total of eighty pence). This means that, assuming the question takes place after 1971, the ladies are actually £1.60 up, or five pounds two shillings otherwise.

  • I can see why this bugs you so much, seeing how everything else on that show is so accurate.
    • Edited to add: The journey home consists of eight stops with each stop costing eight pence, which means that the bus home actually costs 64 pence in total.
  • It depends whether the "journey costing eight pence per stop" means that each woman pays 8p per stop or 8p is the total cost for all their tickets (i.e. the tickets cost 1p per stop per person. Obviously this is freakishly cheap for a bus ticket but it's a world where you can buy spider shoes so whatever) So the journey either costs 64p [8p per person] or £5.12 [(8p x 8 stops) per person]. They've spent 72p each on spiders and shoes which is £5.76 so they might have change or might not depending on how you read the bus stop part of the question. (I've assumed decimalisation because I'm young and stupid and don't understand old timey money.)
    • The show is set in the late 1970s, and decimalisation took place in 1971. Plus the coinage shown is clearly decimal.


What are they?
  • Who knows? You might as well ask the same question of water.
    • I would assume they're a bit like magnets.


The answer to "How tall is Imhotep?" is "Imhotep is invisible." In spite of the fact that it's possibly the funniest thing in the episode, it doesn't tell you how tall Imhotep is. Even invisible people have a height.
  • I heard from the bartender at my mathematics club that his brother is part of the show's CGI crew, and he saw a script that said Imhotep was indivisible. This, of course, means that everyone else is less than one Planck Length tall apiece, and therefore have no discernible height amongst them. Hard to believe for an educational show with such high production values, but any show finishing its airing without a single mistake is nigh impossible.

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