Spoiler alert: I’m about to give away the nitty-gritty details of last week’s contest! If you’ve not solved it yet, go check it out before continuing on! Seriously. I’m going to put a paragraph of completely unrelated material in the next paragraph just so that you don’t accidentally spoil yourself.
The Ross–Littlewood Paradox: The problem starts with an empty vase and an infinite supply of balls. An infinite number of steps are then performed, such that at each step balls are added as well as removed from the vase. The question is then posed: How many balls are in the vase when the task is finished? To complete an infinite number of steps, it is assumed that the vase is empty at one minute before noon, and that the following steps are performed: The first step is performed at 30 seconds before noon. The second step is performed at 15 seconds before noon. Each subsequent step is performed in half the time of the previous step, i.e., step n is performed at 2−n minutes before noon. This guarantees that a countably infinite number of steps is performed by noon. Since each subsequent step takes half as much time as the previous step, an infinite number of steps is performed by the time one minute has passed. At each step, ten balls are added to the vase, and one ball is removed from the vase. The question is then: How many balls are in the vase at noon? [Lovingly taken from Wikipedia. Seriously, go read about this.]
Okay, so last week, you were tasked with finding something sponsored that could continue the theme. Astute solvers noticed that four companies were similarly clued (and placed symmetrically in the grid): AT&T, MASTERCARD, BALLANTINE, AUDI. Great. So what?
A number of solvers spotted ALAMO, a car rental giant, in the grid and submitted it as their answer. Unfortunately, the theme is deeper than just companies… and I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue that Alamo is sponsored.
Only the most clever of solvers thought to consider the logos of the four companies. Each features an increasing number of interlocking circles or rings. AT&T’s logo is a circle (that’s decorated to look like a sphere), MasterCard uses two overlapping circles, Ballantine used three interlocking rings, and Audi uses four. So what has five interlocking rings and is sponsored? Why that would be the Olympics! (How timely!) For your perusal: all five logos, followed by some notes and the randomly selected winner:
A grand total of 68 solvers submitted the correct answer. Among them was John L. Wilson, who observed, “If only it didn’t give the game away so badly, Ringing Endorsement would have made a perfect title for this puzzle.” I only wish I had thought of that one, John!
However, the randomly selected winner is Tyler Hinman of San Francisco, California. Tyler will receive
a 5 minute head start in the ACPT finals my puzzlefest, The Games People Play. If you haven’t already picked up a copy for yourself, get one here!