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Jail break


There are 100 prisoners in 100 separate locked cells. During the night each of 100 prison officers visits the cells. The first officer visits every cell. The second officer visits cells 2,4,6,... etc (every 2nd cell), the third officer visits cells 3,6,9,..etc (every third cell), the fourth officer visits every fourth cell, and so on until the 100th officer visits the 100th cell. On a visit each officer unlocks the door if it is locked or locks the door if it is unlocked. If the cell remains unlocked after all officers have completed their rounds, the prisoner can escape. In the morning, how many prisoners have escaped and why?

This puzzle was contributed by John Rowland, an IT officer who also provides maths tuition, preparing students for examinations at GCSE and A level.

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