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Enigmas & puzzles

By Ian Stewart   November 2006

Census and censusability

Willy and Wally Woolley were brothers, and they were sensitive about their ages. So when they had to fill in the census form, they left their ages blank. The census official pointed out that they were obliged by law to provide the information, but still the brothers hesitated.

The official could see that Willy was older than Wally, which was, he supposed, a start. “What’s your total age?” he asked, hoping at least to get an estimate, but the brothers were having none of it.

“Twelve times the difference between our ages,” said Willy cautiously, hoping…

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