Present Dei Puzzler returns for a third year to challenge and to confound students and staff

Problem 1:  House Call

A hardware store has a puzzling way of charging for individual letters to spell out house number signs.  Mr. Stradley is waiting in line but there are three guys ahead of him.

  • The first customer buys the number ONE (O, N, E).  He pays two bucks
  • The next guy buys the number TWO and pays three bucks
  • The third guy buys the number ELEVEN, and he pays five bucks 

Mr. Stradley wants to buy TWELVE.  How much should he expect to pay based on the store’s pricing policy?

Problem 2:  What time is it anyway?

My watch loses 12 minutes every hour.  I set my watch this morning at 9:00 a.m. using an accurate clock.  The time on my watch now reads 2:00 p.m. What is the correct time?

Problem 3:  Cost Cutting

The letters C-O-S-T have been cut from the words below, with any resulting spaces closed up.  The letters C-O-S-T always appear in left-to-right order, although not necessarily consecutively.  What are these words?

Example:  ARTONI becomes CARTOONIST

1.  EYSEM

2.  VISIY

3.  BIAAL

4.  INOCLA

5.  AUIC

6.  SARANC

7.  RISAN

Rules:

Open to all Verbum Dei students, faculty and staff.  Deadline for submission of answers is Wednesday, November 26, 2014.  Turn in answers to Mr. Stradley, Mr. White, or Mrs. White.

Prizes:

Prizes to be paid by Mr. and Mrs. White.  $5 to the student who turns in the correct answer to any question first; $1 to any student who turns in a correct answer but is not the first to do so.  There are three questions, so it is possible to earn $15.  Any money not won by students will pass to faculty and staff members who submit correct answers.

 

Present Dei Puzzler offers a Lenten challenge

Current Verbum Dei gentleman and staff are encouraged to demonstrate their logical prowess in this latest contest.  “These are problems anyone can solve,” say the Whites.  “They do not require any particular level of mathematics or other knowledge.”

Rules:  Answers must be submitted to Mr. White, Mrs. White or Mr. Stradley by the end of the school day, April 11, 2014.

Prizes:  There will be a $5 award per problem to the first student with the correct answer.  Additionally, there will be a $1 award given per problem to a student whose name is drawn from the pool of correct answers.

Note to faculty and staff:  Feel free to enter to win bragging rights.  If no correct student answer is submitted, you will become eligible for the cash prize.

Problem 1:  What number am I?

What is the smallest whole number that:

when divided by 2, leaves a remainder of 1;

when divided by 3, leaves a remainder of 2;

when divided by 4, leaves a remainder of 3;

when divided by 5, leaves a remainder of 4;

when divided by 6, leaves a remainder of 5;

when divided by 7, leaves a remainder of 6;

when divided by 8, leaves a remainder of 7;

when divided by 9, leaves a remainder of 8;

and when divided by 10, leaves a remainder of 9.

Problem 2:  In honor of Lent

Each one-word answer to the eight clues listed ends in “lent.”  Each of the answer words begins with a different letter of the alphabet.

1.  Natural ability

2.  Kindly and charitable

3.  Excessively fat

4.  Cactus, for one

5.  Audaciously rude

6.  Lavish

7.  Highly infectious

8.  Well done!

Problem 3:  Magic Square

In this magic square, every row, every column, and both main diagonals add up to the same value, which you must determine.  There is only one way to complete the square.

December Winners

Student winners:

Brandon Williams/Nathan Mendoza (team):  split $5 for problem 1 and $1 for problem 2

Jon Parra:  $1 for problem 1

Faculty/staff winners:

Dr. O’Connell: problems 1 and 2

Fr. Michael Mandela: problems 1 and 2

Mr. Galloway: problems 1, 2 and 3

Ms. Cuellar-Villanueva: problems 1 and 2

Mr. Viens: problems 1, 2 and 3

Ms. Jimenez:  problem 1

 

 

 

Present Dei Puzzler warms minds in chilly air

Current Verbum Dei gentleman and staff are encouraged to demonstrate their logical prowess in this latest contest.  “These are problems anyone can solve,” say the Whites.  “They do not require any particular level of mathematics or other knowledge.”

Rules:  Answers must be submitted to Mr. White, Mrs. White or Mr. Stradley by Friday, December 19.

Prizes:  There will be a $5 award per problem to the first student with the correct answer.  Additionally, there will be a $1 award given per problem to a student whose name is drawn from the pool of correct answers.

Note to faculty and staff:  Feel free to enter to win bragging rights.  If no correct student answer is submitted, you will become eligible for the cash prize.

Problem 1:

The digits 1, 2, 3, and 4 can be arranged to form
many different four-digit numbers.  If these numbers are listed from least
to greatest, in what position is 3214?  (Note:  the least value is in
the first position; the next least is in the second position, etc.)

Problem 2:

Dr. O’Connell rolls a pair of dice and remembers the number. Then he
performs the following sequence of operations on that number, in this order:

Add 3.

Square the result.

Subtract 12.

Divide by 4.

Add 4.

Dr. O’Connell ends up with the number 50. What number did he roll on the dice?

Problem 3:

BEFORE
AND AFTER

Fill in the blank in each row with a word to form a common
phrase, name, or compound word with the word preceding and following it. For
example, given DANCE _____ WAX, the missing word is FLOOR, forming DANCE FLOOR
and FLOOR WAX. Moreover, the five missing words when considered together lead
to something famous. What are the words and what do they clue?

1. FIRE __________ WRESTLE

2. TRIPLE __________ PRINCE

3. BLOW __________ SONG

4. CLEANING __________ GAGA

5. PEARL __________ MASTER

November winners:

Congratulations students!  Student entries won all of the available money leaving the faculty and staff with only bragging rights.  “Keep up the good work!” say contest sponsors Mr. and Mrs. White.

Brian Martinez:  $5
each for problems 1 and 2

Brandon Williams/Nathan Mendoza (team), who split $5 for problem 3 and $1 for
problem 1

Miguel Gil:  $1 for
problem 1

Angel Mendoza:  $1
each for problems 1 and 2

Kevin Metelus:  $1
form problem 1

Christopher Clarkston:
$1 each for problems 1 and 2

Faculty/staff winners:

Dr. O’Connell: problems 1, 2 and 3

Fr. Michael Mandela: problem 1

Mr. Galloway: problems 1, 2 and 3

Present Dei Puzzler returns with 3 conundrums

Current Verbum Dei gentleman and staff are encouraged to demonstrate their logical prowess in this latest contest.  “These are problems anyone can solve,” say the Whites.  “They do not require any particular level of mathematics or other knowledge.”

Rules:  Answers must be submitted to Mr. White, Mrs. White or Mr. Stradley by Friday, November 15.

Prizes:  There will be a $5 award per problem to the first student with the correct answer.  Additionally, there will be a $1 award given per problem to a student whose name is drawn from the pool of correct answers.

Note to faculty and staff:  Feel free to enter to win bragging rights.  If no correct student answer is submitted, you will become eligible for the cash prize.

Problem 1:

Determine the logical number missing in each sequence. When you’ve finished, convert each of the six final numbers to a letter (1 = A, 2 = B, etc.) to form a six-letter word
reading down. What is this word?

 1 1 2 3 5 8 ___
169 121 81 49 25 9 ___
0 2 8 __ 32 50
14 15 13 16 12 17 ___
44 51 17 24 8 15 ___
2 5 8 11 14 17 ___

Problem 2:

How many numbers from 1 through 100 have names that contain at least one T when spelled out?

Problem 3:

There are three parts to this answer:

1.  Determine the least positive integer by which 2376 can be multiplied so that the product is a perfect square.

2.  Determine the least positive integer by which 2376 can be multiplied so that the product is a perfect cube.

3.  What is the difference of the values in parts 1 and 2?

The sole student $5 winner of the last contest was senior David Castillo, who answered one question correctly.  Staff winners included: Dr. O’Connell, Fr. Mandala, Mr. Viens, and Mr. Baez.

 

Present Dei Puzzler contest returns with a brain-teasing trio of mind-benders

Current Verbum Dei gentleman and staff are encouraged to demonstrate their logical prowess in this latest contest.  “These are problems anyone can solve,” say the Whites.  “They do not require any particular level of mathematics or other knowledge.”

Rules:  Answers must be submitted to Mr. White, Mrs. White or Mr. Stradley by Friday, October 25.

Prizes:  There will be a $5 award per problem to the first student with the correct answer.  Additionally, there will be a $1 award given per problem to a student whose name is drawn from the pool of correct answers.

Note to faculty and staff:  Feel free to enter to win bragging rights.  If no correct student answer is submitted, you will become eligible for the cash prize.

Problem 1:

Ms. Odom painted each rung of her
ladder a different color and leaned the ladder against a wall. The middle rung
is blue, the yellow rung is 3 rungs above the blue rung, the green rung is 7
rungs below the yellow rung, and the red rung is 11 rungs above the green rung.
The red rung is also 3 rungs from the top rung. How many rungs are there on Ms.
Odom’s ladder?

Problem 2:

Suppose the positive even numbers
are grouped in the following way:

{2}, {4,6}, {8,10,12},
{14,16,18,20}, …

What is the sum of the numbers in
the 15th group?

Problem 3:

Form six 9-letter words by combining two 3-letter blocks below with the endings in the
grid.  All blocks will be used.  If you do it correctly, two of the vertical columns will spell a common two-word phrase.

 

Drake’s third release Nothing Was the Same not a game-changer, yet has glimmers of hope

MUSIC REVIEW

By Dylan Juarez, Staff Writer, Arts and Entertainment

“Nothing Was the Same” is Young Money’s recording artist Drake’s third studio album. Drake, one of Hip Hop’s most known new age artists has made his presence known in the past five years. His previous album “Take Care” was loved world-wide. The lead singles for this album are “Started from the Bottom,” “All Me,” Featuring 2 Chainz and Big Sean, “Hold on We’re Going Home,” and “Pound Cake.” Most artists on their third album tend to either get bigger or are forgotten. An example would be Eminem. His third album “The Eminem Show” was a success and even won him a Grammy. On the other end, Soulja Boy’s third album “The DeAndre Way” was his worst selling album, and he has not released an album since. Can Drake make magic happen again or will his career never be the same after this release?

The first song “Tuscan Leather” begins with a song being played backwards, but it is very mesmerizing. Drake is opening up to how he feels since his last album and to events that have taken place since becoming famous. “Furthest thing” is at a lower tempo then the first song, but it is very enjoyable. It changes beat, and it turns into a very soulful rhythm. He sounds happier, but more aggressive at the same time. “Started from the Bottom” is a song many people hated because Drake never had a struggle. He used to be a child star, so how did he start from the bottom? The song does not fit its placement. It possibly could have fit if it were near the end or even in the middle, but not this early in the album.

“Wu-Tang Forever” is another song for which Drake has been getting a lot of hate. The main reason being that he doesn’t really represent the Wu-Tang Clan in this song at all. The Wu-Tang Clan was an aggressive rap group, and this song is very slow. It talks about how Drake is facing difficult choices involving friends and a girl. This song was a disappointment. The fifth song “Own It” starts off with this very creepy vibe to it. It is a song that tries to have a story, but it feels forced. The chorus also sounds like it says “On It” instead of “Own It.” “Worst Behavior” makes Drake sound hungry and very egotistic. This song feels the right fit for the album as if he is saying “Hey nothing is gonna be the same because I’m Drake, and that’s the only reason you need.” This is a very different sounding Drake, but it is very enjoyable. His third verse also pays homage to Biggie’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” song.

The song “From Time,” Featuring Jhene Akio is great. Jhene Akio’s vocals are so bright and sweet. It gives this song a very sad feeling to it. Drake also takes this opportunity to revel his problems with family, especially with his uncle, dad, and mom. “Hold on We’re Going Home” fits the vibe of the song before it. After such a deep song like “From Time,” the album still needs to feel calm, and this song is so very relaxing that it can be played in the background during dinner. The ninth song “Connect” begins with the very soothing vibe of the previous two songs. It starts very slow, but builds the beat up and the whole vibe changes.

“The Language” is definitive proof that the vibe has changed, but the changed vibe is very arrogant. His flow sounds like his flow on “Versace.” It is nothing impressive just the same flow and same topics. The eleventh song is “305 to My City.” It is a garbage song; it can be skipped. “I hope you don’t fall, ‘cus you on top of the ceiling” is a line he says and just proves his writer must have wanted him to fail. “Too Much” starts off with a very smooth, but unknown, male vocal performance. This song gives the album a lot more hope that it can still be good even this late in the game. It is a hungry Drake again, but now he seems less arrogant. He to opens up more with problems of family, but it is not sad.

The thirteenth song “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2” featuring Jay Z, is very interesting because it has samples from Wu-Tang Clan. It is surprising that this song was not “Wu-Tang Forever” because this is the hungry Drake and it would fit. Jay Z’s verse is not great, but it was enjoyable. The “Paris Morton Music 2” is a small song, but is a celebration song. Drake talks about how people expect him to act at events and how to take awards without looking stupid. He also begins to brag about how fame has made him happier in life and recalls events before his fame. The fourteenth song “Come Thru” is a song about picking up a girl and telling her to come over to chill and maybe even more. Yet near the end of the song it turns into Drake talking about how he feels lonely repeating “Why has it been so long?” The Last song is “All Me,” featuring 2 Chainz and Big Sean. It is a radio song that brags about the money and women that stereo typical rappers have. It is not a great way to end an album. The ending should have been “Paris Morton Music 2.”

This album was over hyped. Drake had enjoyable songs, but he did not deliver in the end. He lacks in so many songs and even copied a flow he had on a remix for Migo’s song “Versace.”. That isn’t going to work. Close listening people will catch that. His production was better than usual. Where Drake lacked, his instrumentals picked up the slack. This album is a 4/10. His album may not be what most people expected, but hopefully Drake’s next album is better. He might not be as loved as Eminem, but he will not be forgotten as quickly like Soulja Boy.

Big Sean’s latest: “Hall of Fame” or “Hall of Lame”?

MUSIC REVIEW

By Dylan Juarez, Staff Writer, Arts and Entertainment

“Hall of Fame,” the sophomore album from Big Sean, the Detroit rapper, was released the 27th of August. His first project “Finally Famous” made many people keep their ear open to him, but will this one make the cut?   This album is rumored to have been approved by Eminem because of the influence of one Detroit rapper upon another. The leading singles are “Beware,” featuring Jhene Akio and Lil Wayne, “Guap,” and “Fire.” Did the Detroit rapper give us another album to keep our eyes on Detroit or did he let his city down?

The first track is “Nothing is Stopping You.” The song doesn’t hook the listener; it leaves one kind of empty, expecting him to go a bit stronger. His flow on the song was good, but his execution was not. The mixing on this song was done poorly as well. The chorus is sampled, but instead of sounding like “Nothing is Stopping You,” it sounds
like “Nothing is Stalking You.” The second song is the single “Fire.” He should
have made this his introduction. It is well executed, and his flow is well. It
picks up where his first song lagged. “10 2 10” is the third song. One would
think from the title would be a specific date, but it means he works from 10 to
10. His word play is weak, and his references make no sense. For example he
says “Call me a Mexican ‘cus I work from 10 2 10”. It lacks the punch of the
previous song.

The fourth song “Toyota Music” is an average song but nothing great. The fifth song “You Don’t Know” was okay-another just average song. It seems like he is doing the bare minimum in this part of the album, which no artist should ever do because the listener will then not care for the song and soon forget it. The sixth song is “Beware,” his other single. This song is a great single. It’s very catchy, and it is a song people
will catch themselves singing during the chorus. Jhene Akio’s vocals are what
make the song and the chorus. Big Sean also did his part and got out of the
ditch he dug in the album, but the thing that kills this song is Lil Wayne’s
part – it is so unimpressive. The song can do without it. The seventh song “First
Chain: featuring Nas and Kid CuDi, is good. The song talks about how Big Sean
saw his heroes wear a chain, and when he finally got his, he was proud of
himself. Nas’ past was good, but it wasn’t impressive like other Nas verses. Kid
CuDi did deliver in his verse, and it completed the song.

The eighth song “Mona Lisa” is just a basic rap song of money, women, and drugs. I think this song fits Sean’s personality, but it was not a good add to the album.  He just climbed out of a ditch, so why dig another one? The ninth song “MILF” featuring Nicki Minaj and Juicy J is led into by a snippet called “Freaky.” It was comic relief for the album, and the snippet fit the song well. It is catchy and good compared to other songs. Nicki and Juicy J’s verses add to the song. The tenth song “Sierra Leone” is good. It calms one down from the comic relief and brings the listener to this state of
lovey dovey and how Big Sean has the hook up to make sure his girl feels good.
The eleventh song “It’s Time,” featuring Jeezy and Payroll has a very strong
beat, but the first verse takes time to get going. Jeezy’s verse is good and is
not off-beat as he is in some of his features. Payroll lacks in this song just
like Big Sean.

The twelfth song “World Ablaze,” featuring James Fauntleroy, slows everything down and it suggests how Big Sean struggled in his area and how Detroit use to be a great city but fell off. The thirteenth song “Ashley,” featuring Miguel, keeps this slow feeling. Big Sean’s flow is very well performed and Miguel’s vocals help make a good song. It could do without Big Sean’s small singing parts, but it is still a good song. The
fourteenth song “All Figured Out” was a more serious song about his struggle in
life before the fame and during fame. He admits that just because he is famous
does not mean that he has all the answers. The fifteenth song “Mula Remix,”
featuring 2 chainz, Meek Mill and Earlly Mac, is a club song that will have
people dancing. This feels like Big Sean just added this on the album for more
sales. “Switch Up” the sixteenth song is just mediocre and not impressive. The
Last song is “Guap,” and it is a good radio song, and was the first single to
get listeners excited for the album.

This album at the end of the day is average. There are only six stand-out songs, and this isn’t an album someone can go back and listen to repeatedly. It is more of an album that one hears once, and that’s what it was good for: a one-time listen. To answer my own question if he let down Detroit, the answer is not really. He did improve from his last album, but it was not a huge improvement to have me say this is album of the year.  It is a 5 out of 10.

New face Machine Gun Kelly offers more inspiration than fright in his debut “Lace Up”

MUSIC REVIEW

By Dylan Juarez, Staff Writer, Arts and Entertainment

When someone says the name Machine Gun Kelly, most people will have a confused face and ask, “Who?” Machine Gun Kelly also known as MGK is a Cleveland-bound rapper who signed with Bad Boy Records. The record label possibly sounds familiar because it is the record label that Notorious BIG was signed to and also is a label owned by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

Named “Lace Up,” this is MGK’s first studio album. The reason behind the name is the movement that he started. Now, do remember this is his first album. The first song in the album is “End of the Road,” and it is a story that the artist is pulling together of how he was before he came up and how it is different now. “On My Way” is such an inspirational song; it speaks of when MGK was kicked out, but he made the best out of it with his best friend and began to make music. The line that sticks out to me is when MGK says “My team throws up L’s, but now we just winning.”  In the middle of the song, he starts to talk about memories before all of the fame.

Another inspirational song is “Runnin.”  The vocals for the chorus are good and on-key and flow smoothly. “All We Have” features vocals from Anna Yvette. She helps the chorus run very smoothly. MGK speaks of overcoming problems, no matter how hard they are at the given time. “What I Do” blows away the inspirational feel and has a pumped up feeling; it gets a listener to do something. “Lace Up,” the album’s self-titled track, is an average one. It’s not his best, and I feel that the “Lace Up” from his mix tape was more to the meaning. However, the cut does fit with the hard feeling he had. The song, “Save me” is embellished by appearances of the guitarist and vocalist from the Avenged Sevenfold. The song is very inspirational, and Kelly talks about how his EST will still be together no matter what. “Invincible,” the album’s lead single, is so inspirational and just blows me away with the vocals of Ester Dean. “Edge of Darkness,” featuring Tech Nine and Twista, can get some one pumped and is inspirational – both elements that make up the album combined into a song.

“D3mons” is scary and is part of the hardcore rap. It sends me into the uncomfortable place that makes me want to stop the track but not enough to skip it or stop it. DMX is on the track, and it is a great add-on to the whole feel of the song. “See my Tears” is another inspirational song, but it was featured on one of his past mix tapes, which does confuse me a bit. “Stereo,” the final song, features Fitts of the Kickdrums. It is a heart lifter and is a good way to end the album. All around I feel in love with this album. I give it a 9 out of 10. People should listen to this album because it is a big up-lift for Hip-Hop.

Kanye West assembles variety of talent for a largely memorable, danceable Cruel Summer

MUSIC REVIEW

By Dylan Juarez, Staff Writer, Arts and Entertainment

With so much radio play, Cruel Summer has a lot of singles. Expecting a lot is not wrong because the singles were great. The public got a song to get a person pumped up: with “Mercy,” to make other groups afraid to make comments about the group with the “Clique” ft. Jay-Z, “Cold” to show that Kanye is the group leader and do not try to push him, with getting one used to Pusha T’s flow on “New God Flow,” and then make the audience know what they “Don’t Like”. Those are just the singles to mesmerize one to buy the album, but now to the album exclusives.

The start of the album is with “To the World” ft R.Kelly, this song stands out to start og with it because it sets the stage for the next few songs with this slow mesmerizing beats. R. Kelly’s vocals are soothing and actually make the song listenable even after Kanye’s part. “The Morning” ft Raekown and D’Banj has a clean chorus, strong verses from the members of the group, and a lil extra. “Higher” goes back to the slow feel of the first song.

The album has a chill feel with nothing. “Sin City” was one of the weakest songs because of its flow and how it tried to come across. Reminding me of “Champion” by Kanye, “The One” has a very inspirational feel to it. The rappers on this song have a feel of telling some what the back story of their fame. “Creepers,” the song with only Kid Cudi, is just okay. The reason is that while the beat is very danceable or something someone can listen to so they can think, Cudi’s verses aren’t as strong as in other songs. The song “Bliss” would have been a great way to end the album. Yet they end with “Don’t Like.”  Back to “Bliss” –  the song was very well written and performed. It made me feel like it would be that song people choose when they want to remember old, great times. Overall, the album was great.  Two bad songs out of 12 songs – I give the album an 8 out of 10.

Inaugural choir concert “Christmas at the Verb 2011” features harmonic and melodic sparkle

PERFORMANCE REVIEW

by John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei

Verbum Dei choirs “The Blue Notes,” “The Golden Keys,” and soloists set the Christmas season to a melodic and harmonic start Friday evening, December 2 before an audience of nearly 200.  “Christmas at the Verb 2011,” the first-ever Christmas concert at VDHS was a delight, featuring strong vocal performances, a tight rhythm section, comedy, and even a sing-along of holiday favorites.

In spite of the fact that this was an inaugural event, the harmonies and choreography throughout the evening gave the impression that the participants were veteran performers; the voices were strong and bold, stage presence was not affected, and a good natured, non-pretentious confidence pervaded the concert.  These qualities were most apparent in the performances of the soloists. Darrin Cottrell, Jesus Real, Reynaldo Cartagena, and Ellis Smith, whose solo during the finale was both powerful and moving, were at ease before the microphone, connecting with the audience with ease, grace, and, occasionally, with humor.

Director EJ Vierya, who accompanied many soloists on electric piano, assembled an eclectic blend of songs for the concert which included a number of traditional carols and popular pieces, seasoned with an original composition and “Betelehemu,” a Nigerian Christmas song.

Showcasing the senior’s vocal and instrumental talent, Cartagena’s “No More Love Songs” provided a holiday-tinged respite from the seasonal music and featured a rap bridge.  Junior Christian Rubi, the percussionist of the accompanying trio, provided jazzy and rocking backbeats on several numbers and a Latin beat with the cajon on others.  Senior Ashton Patt’s soulful “This Christmas” featured Cartagena on a restrained yet engaging electric-acoustic guitar solo.  Academic Dean George Favell accompanied the combined choirs on electric piano for a soaring rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Vocalists sported black slacks and jackets accented by festive red ties while a lone Christmas tree provided ambiance.  As strong as this performance was in all respects, further attention to stage dressing would have contributed to the holiday atmosphere.  Admittedly, maintaining the fine balance between setting and performance is a challenge, but emphasis at this first concert was, perhaps intentionally, placed squarely on performance.

Commenting on the success of the performance, director Vieyra alluded to the possibility of a spring concert.  With the strength and style of this performance still fresh in the memory, there is much melody and harmony lingering in the air to heighten the anticipation. Come spring!