2019 AMC 10A Problems/Problem 14

The following problem is from both the 2019 AMC 10A #14 and 2019 AMC 12A #8, so both problems redirect to this page.


For a set of four distinct lines in a plane, there are exactly $N$ distinct points that lie on two or more of the lines. What is the sum of all possible values of $N$?

$\textbf{(A) } 14 \qquad \textbf{(B) } 16 \qquad \textbf{(C) } 18 \qquad \textbf{(D) } 19 \qquad \textbf{(E) } 21$


It is possible to obtain $0$, $1$, $3$, $4$, $5$, and $6$ points of intersection, as demonstrated in the following figures: [asy] unitsize(2cm); real d = 2.5; draw((-1,.6)--(1,.6),Arrows); draw((-1,.2)--(1,.2),Arrows); draw((-1,-.2)--(1,-.2),Arrows); draw((-1,-.6)--(1,-.6),Arrows);  draw((-1+d,0)--(1+d,0),Arrows); draw((0+d,1)--(0+d,-1),Arrows); draw(dir(45)+(d,0)--dir(45+180)+(d,0),Arrows); draw(dir(135)+(d,0)--dir(135+180)+(d,0),Arrows); dot((0+d,0));  draw((-1+2*d,sqrt(3)/3)--(1+2*d,sqrt(3)/3),Arrows); draw((-1/4-1/2+2*d, sqrt(3)/12-sqrt(3)/2)--(-1/4+1/2+2*d,sqrt(3)/12+sqrt(3)/2),Arrows); draw((1/4+1/2+2*d, sqrt(3)/12-sqrt(3)/2)--(1/4-1/2+2*d,sqrt(3)/12+sqrt(3)/2),Arrows); draw((-1+2*d,-sqrt(3)/6)--(1+2*d,-sqrt(3)/6),Arrows); dot((0+2*d,sqrt(3)/3)); dot((-1/2+2*d,-sqrt(3)/6)); dot((1/2+2*d,-sqrt(3)/6));  draw((-1/3,1-d)--(-1/3,-1-d),Arrows);  draw((1/3,1-d)--(1/3,-1-d),Arrows); draw((-1,-1/3-d)--(1,-1/3-d),Arrows); draw((-1,1/3-d)--(1,1/3-d),Arrows); dot((1/3,1/3-d)); dot((-1/3,1/3-d)); dot((1/3,-1/3-d)); dot((-1/3,-1/3-d));  draw((-1+d,sqrt(3)/12-d)--(1+d,sqrt(3)/12-d),Arrows); draw((-1/4-1/2+d, sqrt(3)/12-sqrt(3)/2-d)--(-1/4+1/2+d,sqrt(3)/12+sqrt(3)/2-d),Arrows); draw((1/4+1/2+d, sqrt(3)/12-sqrt(3)/2-d)--(1/4-1/2+d,sqrt(3)/12+sqrt(3)/2-d),Arrows); draw((-1+d,-sqrt(3)/6-d)--(1+d,-sqrt(3)/6-d),Arrows); dot((0+d,sqrt(3)/3-d)); dot((-1/2+d,-sqrt(3)/6-d)); dot((1/2+d,-sqrt(3)/6-d)); dot((-1/4+d,sqrt(3)/12-d)); dot((1/4+d,sqrt(3)/12-d));  draw((-1/4-1/2+2*d, sqrt(3)/12-sqrt(3)/2-d)--(-1/4+1/2+2*d,sqrt(3)/12+sqrt(3)/2-d),Arrows); draw((1/4+1/2+2*d, sqrt(3)/12-sqrt(3)/2-d)--(1/4-1/2+2*d,sqrt(3)/12+sqrt(3)/2-d),Arrows); draw(dir(30)+(2*d,-d)--dir(30+180)+(2*d,-d),Arrows); draw(dir(150)+(2*d,-d)--dir(-30)+(2*d,-d),Arrows); dot((0+2*d,0-d)); dot((0+2*d,sqrt(3)/3-d)); dot((-1/2+2*d,-sqrt(3)/6-d)); dot((1/2+2*d,-sqrt(3)/6-d)); dot((-1/4+2*d,sqrt(3)/12-d)); dot((1/4+2*d,sqrt(3)/12-d)); [/asy]

It is clear that the maximum number of possible intersections is ${4 \choose 2} = 6$, since each pair of lines can intersect at most once. We now prove that it is impossible to obtain two intersections.

We proceed by contradiction. Assume a configuration of four lines exists such that there exist only two intersection points. Let these intersection points be $A$ and $B$. Consider two cases:

Case 1: No line passes through both $A$ and $B$

Then, since an intersection point is obtained by an intersection between at least two lines, two lines pass through each of $A$ and $B$. Then, since there can be no additional intersections, the 2 lines that pass through $A$ cant intersect the 2 lines that pass through $B$, and so 2 lines passing through $A$ must be parallel to 2 lines passing through $B$. Then the two lines passing through $B$ are parallel to each other by transitivity of parallelism, so they coincide, contradiction.

Case 2: There is a line passing through $A$ and $B$

Then there must be a line $l_a$ passing through $A$, and a line $l_b$ passing through $B$. These lines must be parallel. The fourth line $l$ must pass through either $A$ or $B$. Without loss of generality, suppose $l$ passes through $A$. Then since $l$ and $l_a$ cannot coincide, they cannot be parallel. Then $l$ and $l_b$ cannot be parallel either, so they intersect, contradiction.

All possibilities have been exhausted, and thus we can conclude that two intersections is impossible. Our answer is given by the sum $0+1+3+4+5+6=\boxed{\textbf{(D) } 19}$.

Video Solution 1


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See Also

2019 AMC 10A (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 13
Followed by
Problem 15
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 10 Problems and Solutions
2019 AMC 12A (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 7
Followed by
Problem 9
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions

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