你能解决吗? Gods of snooker

My cultural highlight of recent weeks has been the brilliant BBC documentary Gods of Snooker, about the time in the 1980s when the sport was a national obsession. Today’s puzzle describes a shot to malfunction the Romford Robot (above left) and put the Whirlwind (above right) in a spin.

Baize theorem

A square snooker table has three corner pockets, as below. A ball is placed at the remaining corner (bottom left). Show that there is no way you can hit the ball so that it returns to its starting position.

The table is a mathematical one, which means friction, damping, spin and napping do not exist. 换句话说, when the ball is hit, it moves in a straight line. The ball changes direction when it bounces off a cushion, with the outgoing angle equal to the incoming angle. The ball and the pockets are infinitely small (i.e. are points), and the ball does not lose momentum, so that its path can include any number of cushion bounces.

我会在英国下午 5 点带着解决方案回来. (Do check it out, it presents a lovely ‘wow’ moment.) 请不要剧透. But feel free to comment about snooker.

UPDATE: To read the solution click here

One extra puzzle, for language lovers. When I lived in Brazil, I discovered that the Portuguese for ‘snooker’ is sinuca, pronounced ‘snooker’ even though the English and Portuguese words only share two letters, the ‘s’ and the ‘n’. 换句话说, 只要 2/6, 或者 1/3 of the letters in the translated word are in the original English word.

Does anyone have an example of an English word that has entered another language, and retains its English pronunciation, but has less than 1 在 3 of the original letters? Maybe there is an English transliteration that shares no letters with the English word at all?

(I don’t know if there are any, but would be intrigued to find out. Please post suggestions below the line.)

Thanks to Dr Pierre Chardaire, associate professor of computing science at the University of East Anglia, who devised today’s puzzle.

我每两个星期在这里设置一个难题. 我一直在寻找很棒的谜题. 如果您想提出一个建议, 给我发邮件.

我是几本难题的书的作者, 最近 语言爱好者的拼图书. 我还给学校讲数学和拼图 (限制允许). 如果您的学校有兴趣,请 保持联系.

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