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The Three Motor-cars


Pope has told us that all chance is but "direction which thou canst not see," and certainly we all occasionally come across remarkable coincidences—little things against the probability of the occurrence of which the odds are immense—that fill us with bewilderment. One of the three motor men in the illustration has just happened on one of these queer coincidences. He is pointing out to his two friends that the three numbers on their cars contain all the figures 1 to 9 and 0, and, what is more remarkable, that if the numbers on the first and second cars are multiplied together they will make the number on the third car. That is, 78, 345, and 26,910 contain all the ten figures, and 78 multiplied by 345 makes 26,910. Now, the reader will be able to find many similar sets of numbers of two, three, and five figures respectively that have the same peculiarity. But there is one set, and one only, in which the numbers have this additional peculiarity—that the second number is a multiple of the first. In other words, if 345 could be divided by 78 without a remainder, the numbers on the cars would themselves fulfil this extra condition. What are the three numbers that we want? Remember that they must have two, three, and five figures respectively.

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