Solution to Puzzle #130: The Plato Riddle

Thanks again to Sirisha for this wonderful puzzle. As I mentioned this was more of a teaser, and a play with words more than math. I only got two correct answers – One from Girish Tutakne and another from Vikas Jangra – well done both!

If you read the puzzle again, pay attention to the following:

  • Read every “a” as a variable a
  • Read every “be” and “bee” as a variable b
  • Circle stands for ‘0” (the number zero)
  • combine means + i.e. addition
  • a^2 is not 0 and b^2 is not 0 => neither a nor b are zero
  • If you read carefully, the answer is given in “one negativity” which stands for “-1

Putting all of this together (copying the answer from Girish Tutakne)

Any combination of a and b where a*b = -1 is the answer.

a^2.b^2 + a^3.b^3 = 0
a, b both not equal to 0.

a^2.b^2.(1+a.b) = 0
Hence, a*b = -1

Hope you all enjoyed the puzzle!

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