Pamela Hathaway Harper

A Stitch In Time

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A Stitch In Time

It all started at last week's sewing club meeting, when Ernestine challenged the idea that one stitch in time would be enough to save nine. Then Maud pointed out that a watched pot must surely boil sometime, and Cloris questioned exactly how many eggs one could safely put into a single basket. As it turned out, no two of the seven women at the meeting (including Florence, Gertrude, Ida, and Sophie) had the same opinion about any of the three quantities. All the quantities suggested by the women, however, were whole numbers greater than zero. Can you figure out how many stitches each woman thought would save nine, how many minutes she believed a watched pot would need to boil, and how many eggs she felt safe putting in one basket?

  1. In each woman's case, two of the three numbers she believed to be correct added up to the third.
  2. If each woman sewed exactly as many stitches as she believed would save nine, they would sew 28 stitches in all.
  3. Gertrude (who would put just three eggs in one basket) thought a watched pot should boil in four minutes.
  4. Four of the women are: the one who thought a watched pot would boil in 11 minutes (longer than anyone else thought); the one would put nine eggs into one basket; and the two who thought that five and six stitches would be required to save nine.
  5. Florence would put twice as many eggs into one basket as Maud would, while Ida would put in twice as many eggs as Florence and Maud together.
  6. Cloris thought twice as many eggs could safely be put in one basket as Ernestine did.
  7. None of the women would put exactly eight eggs in one basket, nor more than ten; and no one thought a watched pot would boil in exactly one or eight minutes.
  8. Cloris's prediction as to the number of minutes a watched pot would take to boil was precisely equal to the sum of Ernestine's and Gertrude's predictions.
  9. The woman who thought a watched pot would boil in the least time wasn't Ida.