MATHCOUNTS® Problem of the Week Archive

Back in Time – January 2, 2012  Problems & Solutions
This week we’re taking a trip back in time to 2004. Please enjoy these problems, originally  posted 12/27/04.  For the following problems we’ll use “04” to represent the year 2004.  The date of a day in 2004  will be written with three numbers representing the month, day and year.  Therefore, July 22,  2004 will be written as 07/22/04 and the three numbers that were used were 7, 22 and 4.  For how many dates in 2004 do all three of the numbers share a prime factor?  For example,  08/12/04 satisfies this condition because 8, 12 and 4 all have a factor of 2.
Since we know that the year 04 only has 2 as a prime factor, we can limit our search to months and days that also have a prime factor of 2; in other words, we’re only looking for even months and even days. The second month (February) has 28 days, so 14 of those days are even. This gives us 14 dates that satisfy the condition. One such date is 02/14/04. Each of the other five even months has either 30 or 31 days, and therefore, they each have 15 even days. This is an additional 5 × 15 = 75 dates that work, for a total of 75 + 14 = 89 dates.

For how many dates in 2004 do the three numbers form an arithmetic sequence?  For example,  06/05/04 satisfies the condition because 6, 5 and 4 form an arithmetic sequence with a  difference of –1 between each successive term.  Notice 5 – 6 = –1 and then 4 – 5 = –1.
An arithmetic sequence is a sequence of numbers in which the difference between consecutive terms remains the same. One such sequence was given in the problem: 06/05/04. You could either look at this as the terms decreasing by one from 6 to 4 or the terms increasing by 1 from 4 to 6. Since we’re stuck with using __/__/04, let’s start with the four and work our way to the left. Let’s now add two to get each to produce a sequence in which the common difference is −2. This leaves us with 08/06/04. Similarly, we could increase the difference to −3 and get 10/07/04. With a difference of −4 we get 12/08/04. We can’t go any further in this direction because there aren’t more than 12 months. Going in the other direction and subtracting 1 to get a sequence in which the common difference is 1, we have 02/03/04. We can’t subtract 2 because that would get us to month 0, which does not exist. This gives us a total of five dates that form arithmetic sequences.

We’ll define a “relatively prime date” to be a date in which (1) no two of the three numbers  share a prime factor, (2) the date is not the first day of a month and (3) the date is not in  January (the first month of the year).  For example, 03/13/04 is a relatively prime date since no  prime factor appears in any two of the three numbers and 01 is not used as the month or day.   The date 08/13/04, however, is not a relatively prime date since the 8 and 4 share a factor of 2.   How many dates in 2004 are relatively prime dates?
Again, because we’re limited to using 04 as the year, we know that we can’t choose a month with a factor of 2. We can only use odd months, but not January. If we start with the third month, we can only use days that don’t have a factor of 3 (since it’s the third month) or 2 (since the year is even). That leaves 10 dates. The fifth month has 12 days that don’t have a factor of 5 or 2. The seventh month has 13 days without a factor of 7 or 2. The ninth month only has 9 days without a factor of 3 (the only prime factor of 9) and 2. Finally, the eleventh month has 13 days without a factor of 11 or 2. This is a total of 10 + 12 + 13 + 9 + 13 = 57 dates.