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by Christopher J. Burke
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1574: The Secret Mathematical Significance of Pi Day
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Mr. Michael Keegan, Math Teacher

I solved this puzzle fair and square!

This was inspired by last week's Challenge on The Puzzle with Will Shortz on NPR -- and the fact that I got the answer is the matter of a few seconds.

The letters themselves aren't all that meaningful for the simple reason that just about every letter of the alphabet is used for something in math class. On the other hand, if it's a math problem, then I probably needed numerical values. What was the most obvious values to attach to letters that are not Roman Numerals? Using a 1 - 26 substitution, of course.

Surprisingly, it yields five square numbers. And with only 26 letters in the alphabet, that's all you're going to find.

I can't say for certain that this is the first time I've seen this, but I don't remember encountering it before. But my memory has passed many primes.

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