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Word Problems
by M. V. Montgomery

1. Bill and Julie are seeing one another. Bill has angered Julie and she has been rather curt with him on the phone, claiming she is busy. They live 100 miles apart. It would be possible for Bill to reach Julie in 2 hours if he averages 50 miles per hour in his car. But he doesn’t know if Julie will welcome a visit and so queries with an e-mail first. Julie doesn’t reply, so he sends another e-mail later the same day and cc’s it to 2 other addresses. He also leaves 3 voice mails, 2 in the evening and 1 the next morning. Later he tries calling Julie at work but is told she is in a meeting. This is Tuesday. The question is, how many days will Julie stay mad at Bill?

2. Bill is trying to lose weight by cutting calories. He is very fond of the Jimmy’s Titanburger, which contains layers of bacon, fried eggs, and suet and tips the scales at circa 6000 calories. Bill weighs 286 pounds and has a size 48 waist. His BMI is a whopping 38.8 and his LDL cholesterol is nearly 200, although this latter number is skewed by the fact that Bill can never fast 12 full hours before his check-ups. After 7 or 8 hours, he hears a Titanburger calling his name and makes for the all-night drive-through like he is fleeing a robbery in a getaway car. Using his calorie calculator, Bill discovers that he must lower his intake to 2898 per day just to reach the “maintenance level” and 2288 to reach the “fat-burning level.” The question is, how can he do this without sacrificing his daily Titanburger? Also, if Bill does lose weight, will Julie find him more attractive?

3. Bill likes to drive to work contemplating his retirement account. He is 40 years old and has let this matter slide. Using his 401K account calculator, he discovers he will need to save the maximum of $500 a month for the next 10 years, then an additional $100 under the “catch up” provision after he turns 50 in order to retire comfortably at age 80. The problem is, Bill can only afford to put $50 in his retirement account per month and layoffs are looming at work. Bill wonders whether he should stow money away in a short-term “emergency” fund earning 0.67 % interest instead. Even if he loses his job and health care, he calculates that by the end of 4 years, he will have enough money saved to pay for a short ride to a hospital in an ambulance. The question is, how will he then be able to sneak out of the room to avoid paying his bill with all those tubes sticking out of his arm? Also, what is the probability of Julie’s ever coming to visit?


1. She will file a restraining order after 11.5 days.

2. a) Bill must learn to chew without swallowing.
2. b) n/a

3. a) Bill must remove the tubes first.
3. b) < 0