A complicated proposal

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wedding_cake_2002Matt Snyder and Tanya Hein are getting married this Saturday in Madison. No, I don’t know them, but I read about Matt’s proposal in this afternoon’s Wisconsin State Journal. They’d been dating a few years and were both ready to get engaged, but Matt decided to make it special. And nothing says special like a mathematical treasure hunt. The first key (to one of several locked drawers in a treasure chest) led to a coded message, which ended up instructing Tanya to drive to another location. There she found another key, which fit into another drawer, which had another puzzle in it. Each puzzle, when solved, instructed her to go to a different location where there was another key to another drawer that held — you guessed it — another puzzle.

Each location had a reason — the J.T. Whitney’s parking lot was the site of their first kiss. Some of the encrypted messages, involving complex letter codes, linear algebra and trigonometry, were highly difficult to solve.

Presumably there was no partial credit for getting close to a solution. But neither was there a time limit — this was no weekend jaunt. It took two months before Tanya finally got to the proposal. Her response was to give Matt an envelope with a puzzle inside to decipher.

I can only imagine what their seating chart will be.

Speaking of proposals, are there really a thousand yellow daisies in this scene (about a minute in)? It says there are, and estimation is not my own personal strength in mathematics, but it still seems to me that there’s actually quite a few more than that. Anyone know?

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5 Responses to “A complicated proposal”

  1. Batman Says:

    I wonder if there’s a formal definition of “daisy” that mentions a certain number of flowers that could constitute a single daisy. I agree that there appear to be many more than 1000 individual flowers in the scene, but maybe there are 1000 plants…or something.

  2. TwoPi Says:

    Could there be 1000 vases?

    If each vas is 8″ in diameter, then 1000 of them would take up about 670 square feet of surface area (treating them as having square bases, even though I’m well aware that cylinders could be packed more efficiently etc….)

    Is 670 sq ft of surface area in the right ballpark?

    It is hard for me to gauge distances in that film clip.

  3. TwoPi Says:

    Oops, make that 450 sq ft (silly me).

  4. Ξ Says:

    There might be 100 vases. I was trying to estimate groups of ten, and then grouping that into ten tens. Another possibility is that there are 1000 stems, each with several daisies on them.

    And yet another possibility is that 1000 daisies sounds like a lot but really isn’t, and the point of this episode was that Max proposed, not that Max can’t count, so the producer just ordered a LOT of flowers and didn’t worry about the mathematical accuracy.

  5. Wedding Cake WIN « 360 Says:

    […] this isn’t even our first math wedding post (see this mathy proposal) although it’s the very first one involving […]

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