## Breaking up can be sweet solution

Submitted by plusadmin on May 1, 2004## Breaking up can be sweet...

I can't wait for Easter to get here, so I have bought myself a block of chocolate to tide me over. It is a normal rectangular-shaped block with 5 rows, and 4 pieces of chocolate to a row, making 20 pieces of chocolate ready for the eating. I want to eat all of it right now, but I want to savour each piece.

What is the least number of clean snaps necessary to break the block of chocolate into the 20 individual pieces?

What about for a block with *n* rows of *m* pieces?

## The solution

The solution to this puzzle is really pretty simple - but, as usual with maths, only if you think about it the right way!

Each snap creates exactly one extra piece, therefore to break a bar with *K* squares of chocolate into all its constituent pieces will require *K*-1 snaps. So if the block has *n* rows of *m* pieces, it will take *n**m*-1 breaks.

And that's all there is to it!

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