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Hint: Try breaking each cog size into prime factors.

Answer: 340 revolutions.

There are a number of ways of thinking about the solution, and we find this one the quickest way to find the answer.

The total number of teeth moved by Cog 1 will be wholly divisible by each cog in turn, therefore:

Revolutions x Cog 1 ÷ Cog2 is an integer
Revolutions x Cog 1 ÷ Cog3 is an integer
Revolutions x Cog 1 ÷ Cog4 is an integer

So we are after the first number of revolutions x 21 that is an integer after division by 17, 12 and 10.

Thus:

21 21 21
-- and -- and -- all need to be integers (and not fractions).
17 12 10

An easy way to do this would be to multiply by 17 x 12 x 10 = 2,040 revolutions, which would be a correct answer, but not necessarily the smallest answer.

A better way is to break each cog down into its prime factors, where Cog 1 has the largest number of teeth:

Cog 1 - 21 = 3 x 7

Cog 2 - 17 = 17
Cog 3 - 12 = 2 x 2 x 3
Cog 4 - 10 = 2 x 5

Using these prime factors we can write the fractions as:

3 x 7 and 3 x 7 and 3 x 7
----- --------- ----- and these need to be integers
17 2 x 2 x 3 2 x 5

We can now simplify one of the fractions to give:

3 x 7 and 7 and 3 x 7
----- ----- ----- and these need to be integers
17 2 x 2 2 x 5

To remove the 17 on the first fraction we can multiply throughout by 17 to give:

3 x 7 and 7 x 17 and 3 x 7 x 17
------ ---------- and these need to be integers
2 x 2 2 x 5

We can now ignore the first fraction as it is an integer.

To remove the 2 x 2 on the second fraction we can multiply throughout by 2 x 2 to give:

7 x 17 and 2 x 2 x 3 x 7 x 17
------------------ and these need to be integers
2 x 5

We can ignore the second fraction now as it is an integer, and then simplify the third fraction to give:

2 x 3 x 7 x 17 and this needs to be an integer
--------------
5

We now finally multiply by 5 to make the last fraction an integer.

We have therefore multiplied by 17, 4, and 5.

17 x 4 x 5 = 340 revolutions. As required.

The easy way from above of 2,040 is exactly 6 times this answer.

Puzzle 214

You have the misfortune to own an unreliable clock.

This one gains exactly 15 minutes every hour.

It is now showing 3.00am and you know that is was correct at midnight, when you set it.

The clock stopped four hours ago, what is the correct time now?

Hint: How many clock-minutes pass for each real hour?

Answer: 6.24am.

Since the clock is gaining 15 minutes every hour, for every real hour that has passed, the clock will show 75 minutes.

Since the clock shows 3.00am, we know that 180 clock minutes have passed.

This equals 144 real minutes (180 / 75 x 60), so the clock shows 2.24 am.

The clock stopped 240 minutes ago (4 hours), so the time must now be 6.24am. QED.

Puzzle 215

Using the BrainTracker grid below, how many words can you find? Each word must contain the central P and no letter can be used twice, however, the letters do not have to be connected. Proper nouns are not allowed, however, plurals are. Can you find the nine letter word?