Our puzzle this week was suggested by Marco Moriconi, a regular Numberplay contributor who makes his home in Rio, site of the upcoming Olympic Games. Marco is also a professor of physics at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, and writes a monthly math column for the Brazilian national science magazine, Ciência Hoje (Science Today), called Qual o Problema? (What’s the Problem?)
The Same Court Time
Basketball is one of the most popular team sports in this summer’s Olympic Games. The game is played with five players from each side on the court at the same time, and is played for four 10-minute quarters. The coach of the Brazil team has decided to give every one of her eight players the same court time. What scheme should she use to ensure this?
A Conversation With Marco Moriconi
I asked Marco about his experience in Rio with the Games coming up. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Gary Antonick: Rio’s been in the global spotlight a lot the last couple years. On top of it all — the 2016 Olympic Games. What’s the mood these days?
Marco Moriconi: Right now we are all concerned with the current political situation, which is having a very strong impact in the Brazilian economy. The acting president, Michel Temer, has made several backward decisions, among which I would mention the fusion of the science, technology and innovation ministry with the communications ministry. A huge mistake, by all accounts. We are fighting to revert this unfortunate decision, and give science, technology and innovation the respect — and budget! — they deserve.
I am pretty sure the city will be very warm with all the tourists and that the Games, as far as an entertaining event goes, will be successful. But life will go on after the end of the Games. And we will still be here.
G.A.: How apparent are preparations?
M. M.: You see construction sites everywhere. Hopefully things will be ready and set to go on time, certainly an issue. There are concerns about the security during the Games — more than the usual for events of this size.
G.A.: Are you going to attend some of the events?
M. M.: We did not get tickets for any events, something I think I will regret in the future. Maybe there’s still time, though! I have some friends coming to Rio for a few days, and I am sure it will be fun to all, like the World Cup in 2014.
Thank you, Marco!
With that we wrap up this week’s challenge. As always, once you’re able to read comments for this post, use Gary Hewitt’s Enhancer to correctly view formulas and graphics. (Click here for an intro.) And send your favorite puzzles to gary.antonick@NYTimes.com.
Check reader comments on Friday for solutions and a recap by Marco Moriconi.