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GOLD PACKING IN RUSSIA.

(Measuring, Weight, and Packing Puzzles.)
The editor of the _Times_ newspaper was invited by a high Russian
official to inspect the gold stored in reserve at St. Petersburg, in
order that he might satisfy himself that it was not another "Humbert
safe." He replied that it would be of no use whatever, for although the
gold might appear to be there, he would be quite unable from a mere
inspection to declare that what he saw was really gold. A correspondent
of the _Daily Mail_ thereupon took up the challenge, but, although he
was greatly impressed by what he saw, he was compelled to confess his
incompetence (without emptying and counting the contents of every box
and sack, and assaying every piece of gold) to give any assurance on the
subject. In presenting the following little puzzle, I wish it to be also
understood that I do not guarantee the real existence of the gold, and
the point is not at all material to our purpose. Moreover, if the reader
says that gold is not usually "put up" in slabs of the dimensions that I
give, I can only claim problematic licence.
Russian officials were engaged in packing 800 gold slabs, each measuring
121/2 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 1 inch deep. What are the
interior dimensions of a box of equal length and width, and necessary
depth, that will exactly contain them without any space being left over?
Not more than twelve slabs may be laid on edge, according to the rules
of the government. It is an interesting little problem in packing, and
not at all difficult.


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