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bouncing balls

Last week our village had a fête. One of the competitions on offer was to guess the number of balls in a bag. There were N balls in the bag, and they were numbered 1, 2, 3, …, N. To help competitors make a sensible guess, they were allowed to take out four balls and note the numbers on them.

When I took part, I pulled out balls numbered 24, 87, 14 and 35.

There is a prize for the person who guesses the correct number exactly. How many balls should I estimate are in the bag?

Send your answers to Explain to us how you came up with the solution, as we may publish a selection of correct entries (if received by 7 March 2022).

  • Puzzle set by Michael Fletcher and published in the February 2022 issue of Significance.
  • Try your hand at Michael’s previous puzzle, “Classroom bingo“, and read the solution in our latest issue (magazine subscription required).