Le Monde puzzle [#13]

This week, Le Monde offers not one but three related puzzles:

  1. Is it possible to label the twelve edges of a cube by consecutive numbers such that the sum of the edge numbers at any of the eight nodes is constant?
  2. Is it possible to label the eight nodes of a cube by consecutive numbers such that the sums of the node numbers over the edges are all different?
  3. It possible to label the twelve edges of a cube by consecutive numbers except for two edges where the difference is two such that the sum of the edge numbers at any of the eight nodes is constant?

A first comment is that the lowest number amont the eight, twelve or fourteen can always be taken equal to zero. The problems are location invariant.

For the first problem, since the edges are labeled from 0 to 11, the sum of the numbers is 1+…+11 = 11×12/2. The sum of the values over all nodes is therefore 11×12, which should also be equal to 8xs, s being the constant sum at each node. Since 11×12 cannot be divided by 8, this is impossible.

For the second problem, were there a solution, an R resolution would be

 edges=rbind(c(1,1,1,2,2,3,3,4,5,5,6,7),c(2,4,5,3,6,4,7,8,6,8,7,8))
 le=11
 while (le<12){
 node=sample(0:7)
 le=length(unique(node[edges[1,]]+node[edges[2,]]))}
 

However, the R code does not produce an answer after a long wait, implying this is not possible.

For the third problem, there is a jump in the sequence of edge numbers at a>-1, then again at 10>b>a. Therefore the sum of the edge numbers is 11×6 + (b-a)+2x(11-b), i.e 88-a-b, which should be divisible by 4 when all the nodes have the same value. This occurs when a+b is divisible by 4, e.g. when a=6, b=10. This choice leads to the R code

b=sample(3:9,1)
a=sample(c(4-b,8-b,12-b),1)
while ((a<0)||(a>b)) a=sample(c(4-b,8-b,12-b),1)
newedge=sample(c(0:a,(a+2):(b+1),(b+3):13))
le=NULL
for (i in 1:8)
le=c(le,sum(newedge[((edges[1,]!=i)*(edges[2,]!=i))==0]))
while (length(unique(le))>1){
  b=sample(3:9,1)
  a=sample(c(4-b,8-b,12-b),1)
  while ((a<0)||(a>b)) a=sample(c(4-b,8-b,12-b),1)
  newedge=sample(c(0:a,(a+2):(b+1),(b+3):13))
  le=NULL
  for (i in 1:8)
    le=c(le,sum(newedge[((edges[1,]!=i)*(edges[2,]!=i))==0]))
   }

which produces a positive outcome

> le
[1] 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
> a
[1] 0
> b
[1] 8
> newedge
 [1]  9  8  3  7  4  0 13 12 11  6  5  2

3 Responses to “Le Monde puzzle [#13]”

  1. […] week Le Monde puzzle (I have not received this week issue yet!) was about deriving an optimal strategy in less than 25 […]

  2. Problem no.1. They don’t seem to indicate that the numbering has to start at 0 .

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