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Donate A Bit Of Your Time To This SuperPAC (Puzzle)

Sunday Puzzle.
NPR
Sunday Puzzle.

On-air challenge:This week's puzzle is called "SuperPACs." Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with PA- and the second word starts with C.

For example: Official who oversees a city's green spaces --> PARKS COMMISSIONER.

Lastweek's challenge: This is a two-week challenge. Take the digits 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, in that order. Using those digits and the four arithmetic signs — plus, minus, times and divided by — you can get 1 with the sequence 5 - 4 + 3 - 2 - 1. You can get 2 with the sequence (5 - 4 + 3 - 2) x 1.

The question is ... how many numbers from 1 to 40 can you get using the digits 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 in that order along with the four arithmetic signs?

You can group digits with parentheses, as in the example. There are no tricks to this, though. It's a straightforward puzzle. How many numbers from 1 to 40 can you get — and, specifically, what number or numbers can you not get?

Answer: 39 numbers — the only number you can not get is 39.

Here are the answers submitted by this week's winner. Note: Many numbers have multiple possible equations:

1=5-4+3-2-1;
2=(5-4+3-2)*1;
3=((5+4)/3) * (2-1);
4=(5+4-3-2)*1;
5=5*(4-3)*(2-1);
6=5-4+(3*2)-1;
7=5+4-3+2-1;
8=(5+4-3+2)*1;
9=5+4+3-2-1;
10=5+4+(3-2)*1;
11=5+4+3-2+1;
12=(5+4-3)*(2*1);
13=((5+4-3)*2)+1;
14=(5+4+3+2)*1;
15=5+4+3+2+1;
16=5+4+(3*2)+1;
17=5+(4*3)*(2-1);
18=5+(4*3)+2-1;
19=(5*4)-3+(2*1);
20=(5*4)-3+2+1;
21=(5*4)+3-(2*1);
22=(5*4)+3-2+1;
23=(5*4)+3*(2-1);
24=(5*4)+3+2-1;
25=(5*4)+3+(2*1);
26=(5*4)+3+2+1;
27=(5*4)+(3*2)+1;
28=5+(4*3*2)-1;
29=5+(4*3*2*1);
30=5+(4*3*2)+1;
31=((5*4*3)/2)+1;
32=5*(4+3)-2-1;
33=5*(4+3)-(2*1);
34=5*(4+3)-2+1;
35=5*(4+3)*(2-1);
36=5*(4+3)+2-1;
37=5*(4+3)+(2*1);
38=5*(4+3)+2+1;

(no equation for 39);

40=5*(4+3+2-1)

Winner: Margaret Gibbs of Littleton, Mass.

Next week's challenge, from listener Peter Gordon of Great Neck, N.Y.: Think of a name in the news that has a doubled letter. It's a person's last name. Change that doubled letter to a different doubled letter, and you'll get the commercial name for a popular food. What is it?

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz has appeared on Weekend Edition Sunday since the program's start in 1987. He's also the crossword editor of The New York Times, the former editor of Games magazine, and the founder and director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (since 1978).
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