Briefly

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Remember Alicia's remarkable experiences with the Cheshire cat, who had a habit of disappearing into the air until only her irresistible smile remained. When Alicia first saw her feline friend, she wanted to know what kind of animal she was, and as in Wonderland the questions are always asked in writing, she wrote her question.

But as in general, in Wonderland, things are read backwards or backwards, he wrote the question as seen in the illustration. This allows readers to start and finish where they want, just as they would in Wonderland.

The problem is: How many different ways can Alicia's question, "Was it a cat I saw" be read? (Was a cat what I saw?) Start with any of the W, move to the adjacent letters until you reach C and then return to the edge.

You can scroll up, down, right and left.

Extracted from the page www.librosmaravillosos.com.

Solution

Many good mathematicians made the mistake of trying to solve this problem on the basis that there are 24 starting points and the same number of endings. They assumed that the square of 24, that is, 576, was the number of possibilities.

They overlooked the side routes that offer 252 ways to reach center C, and since there are equal numbers of ways to return to the W, the square of 252 is the correct answer: there are 63,504 different ways.