## Creative Seating Charts

Suppose an organization is hosting a banquet with tables numbered 1 through 12, and they are looking for a fun, math-y way to get guests to their assigned table. So, when the guests arrive and find their name-card in the lobby, they must solve a simple math problem to determine their seating assignment.

It’s easy to figure out simple math problems whose answers are the numbers 1 through 12–the tough part is to do it in some uniform way, as with a theme. For example, a past theme for this event was to use mathematical expressions that only involved the number 4: thus, **( 4 / 4 )** would be table 1, or **( 4 ^ 4 – 4 / 4 ) / ( 4 + 4 – 4 / 4 )** would be table **x**.

My suggestion was to have a string of two of the four letters A,B,C, or D on each card in some order. A guest’s table number would then be that string’s position in the alphabetical order of all such strings (**AB **would be table 1, for example).

If you can think of something more interesting, the banquet isn’t until September. But it’s really 60 tables, not 12.

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This isn’t “more interesting,” but it just expands on your idea: Just use the alphabetical order of a string of three of the five letters A,B,C,D or E.

I say forget the “simple” constraint and make it fun by giving some AIME-type questions. That would definitely be interesting!

The order of the combination of three of the five letters {A,B,C,D,E} was my original suggestion.

At one point I was trying to figure out a way to involve an icosohedron, but now I can’t even remember what I was thinking.