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mathematical limerick

I thought this was wonderfully clever. Standard limerick form: first, second, and fifth lines are longer, and similar in rhyme and meter; third and fourth lines are shorter, and similar in rhyme and meter. The toughest part is figuring out how the first and last lines rhyme.


11 thoughts on “Limerick

  • October 21, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Mike? I know it’s like asking someone to explain the punchline of a joke, but I don’t get this limerick. Could you solve the equation and show your work?
    Mathematically Challenged,


  • October 22, 2007 at 12:02 am

    As an example: one line might be, “divided by seven,” and the next might begin, “plus. . .”

  • October 22, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks, Professor Edwards.

  • October 23, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Okay, I see how two lines rhyme: “divided by seven” and “five times eleven” but that’s as far as I’m getting and I don’t know if I wanna try any harder.

  • October 24, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Bradley’s got it: the third and fourth lines are

    divided by seven
    plus five times eleven

    and, well, OK, I’ll point out that a synonym for 20 rhymes with “four,” which might indicate that there are other synonyms in the first line, as well — like for 144 and 12.

    (And for the last line: what’s a one-syllable word for ‘equals’?)

  • October 24, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Score! Gross! Dozen!

    line one: one dozen, one gross and one score
    line two: plus three times the square root of four
    line three: divided by seven
    line four: plus five times eleven
    line five: equals 9 squared and no more!

    That must be it! Right?!?!?! It works, I think.

  • October 25, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Absolutely right on target, my friend. Perhaps rhythm’s a matter of personal taste — I’m kinda partial to

    A dozen, a gross and a score
    Plus three times the square root of four
    Divided by seven
    Plus five times eleven
    Is nine squared and not a bit more.

    So yeah, you totally got it. I so totally love the idea of math limericks, and I want to invent some, but I have no idea whatsoever where I’d begin. Does that take a sudoku kind of brain?

    What do you think, Joanna?

  • October 25, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Quote the Howard: “Not a bit more. . . .”

    Seriously, I’m impressed with both of you–it’s like you’re bilingual, writing poems with words and numbers.

  • October 25, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    I didn’t even try to get the meter. I was just trying to make sense of the dang thing. If it takes a sodoku brain to make these things up, don’t call me Will Shortz or however he spells his name. It was quite exciting to get it though. I felt smart!

    I didn’t get the one syllable for equals part until now.

  • October 26, 2007 at 8:22 am

    You get humility points, Brad.

  • October 30, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    The really impressive thing is that it does, of course, equate the way it says it does. I could probably string together numbers and mathematical operators into euphonious phrases, but to actually have it be correct…wow.

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