2017 AIME II Problems/Problem 5
A set contains four numbers. The six pairwise sums of distinct elements of the set, in no particular order, are , , , , , and . Find the greatest possible value of .
Let these four numbers be , , , and , where . needs to be maximized, so let and because these are the two largest pairwise sums. Now needs to be maximized. Notice that . No matter how the numbers , , , and are assigned to the values , , , and , the sum will always be . Therefore we need to maximize . The maximum value of is achieved when we let and be and because these are the two largest pairwise sums besides and . Therefore, the maximum possible value of .
Let the four numbers be , , , and , in no particular order. Adding the pairwise sums, we have , so . Since we want to maximize , we must maximize .
Of the four sums whose values we know, there must be two sums that add to . To maximize this value, we choose the highest pairwise sums, and . Therefore, .
We can substitute this value into the earlier equation to find that .
Note that if are the elements of the set, then . Thus we can assign . Then .
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