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by Brian Gladman on April 13, 2019

Sunday Times Teaser 2951 – Imprismed

by Stephen Hogg

Published April 14 2019 (link)

A right regular prism has two ends with identical faces, joined by oblong rectangular faces. I have eight of them, with regular convex polygonal end-faces of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 sides (triangle, square and so on). They sit on my flat desk (on oblong faces), and each prism has the same height.

I chose three prisms at random, and was able to slide them into contact, broadside, in such a way that the middle one overhung both others (and could be lifted without disturbing them). Also, I was able to slide one outer prism to the other side, and the new “middle” prism was overhung by both others (and so vertically “imprisoned” by them).

I was able to do all this again with three randomly chosen remaining prisms.

Give the prior chance of this double selection (as a fraction in lowest terms)

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