Quiz TV does add up (honest)

Hiding out on various obscure channels on Freeview, Sky and Cable in the UK can be found live phone-in quiz games. The premise is simple. A question is posed, and then viewers are invited to ring a premium rate line (75p a time) to possibly be randomly picked to answer the question on-air.

That’s right, your 75p is basically to enter a random draw, which gets you though to the studio so you can give the incorrect answer to the host.

Why do I say “so you can give the incorrect answer” – well, that’s because the solutions to the questions are so convoluted that not even a professor of Mathematics from Oxford University could get the answer to this one:

Add the pence, listed: Two pounds, 25p, £1.47, 16p and fifty pence.

The answer is of course, five hundred and six. Before you head over to the explanation in The Times, take a few minutes and a calculator to see if you could figure that out. I’ll save you a bit of trouble though…

Adding all the amounts together (the far too obvious solution) gives 438.

Adding any combinations which give smaller answers would clearly be wrong (with hindsight)

So clearly, the solution involves “finding” some more pence…

I won’t spoil the surprise – but there’s no way you’d figure it out without knowing the target to reach… remember, on the telly you’d be told “wrong” or “right” – not given any hint as to whether the answer was too low or high

These quizzes may not be a scam in law – but I suspect that there’s no way any reasonably minded person could be expected to solve it and win the prize.

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