# Ask Marilyn

Can you put 50 coins into 10 envelopes such that each envelope contains a different number of coins? —Brian James, Dallas, Texas To think about this yourself, readers, pause here. The answer is in the next paragraph.

It’s impossible. Envision putting one coin in one envelope, two coins in another and so forth. By the time you put nine coins in the ninth envelope, you would have used 45 of the 50 coins. So you wouldn’t have enough coins to put a different number in the 10th envelope.

Note: Solutions that cheat are possible. For example, you could put one envelope inside another envelope, thereby using the same coins more than once.