# 2009 AMC 12A Problems/Problem 20

The following problem is from both the 2009 AMC 12A #20 and 2009 AMC 10A #23, so both problems redirect to this page.

## Problem

Convex quadrilateral $ABCD$ has $AB = 9$ and $CD = 12$. Diagonals $AC$ and $BD$ intersect at $E$, $AC = 14$, and $\triangle AED$ and $\triangle BEC$ have equal areas. What is $AE$?

$\textbf{(A)}\ \frac {9}{2}\qquad \textbf{(B)}\ \frac {50}{11}\qquad \textbf{(C)}\ \frac {21}{4}\qquad \textbf{(D)}\ \frac {17}{3}\qquad \textbf{(E)}\ 6$

## Solution

### Solution 1

Let $[ABC]$ denote the area of triangle $ABC$. $[AED] = [BEC]$, so $[ABD] = [AED] + [AEB] = [BEC] + [AEB] = [ABC]$. Since triangles $ABD$ and $ABC$ share a base, they also have the same height and thus $\overline{AB}||\overline{CD}$ and $\triangle{AEB}\sim\triangle{CED}$ with a ratio of $3: 4$. $AE = \frac {3}{7}AC = 6\ \boxed{\textbf{(E)}}$.

$[asy]pathpen = linewidth(0.7);pointpen = black; pair D=MP("D",(0,0)),C=MP("C",(12,0)),A=MP("A",C+14*expi(145*pi/180),N),B=MP("B",A+(9,0),N),E=IP(A--C,B--D);MP("9",(A+B)/2,N);MP("12",(C+D)/2); fill(A--D--E--cycle,rgb(0.8,0.8,0.8));fill(B--C--E--cycle,rgb(0.8,0.8,0.8));D(A--B--C--D--cycle);D(A--C);D(B--D);D(E); [/asy]$

### Solution 2

Using the sine area formula on triangles $AED$ and $BEC$, as $\angle AED = \angle BEC$, we see that

$$(AE)(ED) = (BE)(EC)\quad \Longrightarrow\quad \frac {AE}{EC} = \frac {BE}{ED}.$$

Since $\angle AEB = \angle DEC$, triangles $AEB$ and $DEC$ are similar. Their ratio is $\frac {AB}{CD} = \frac {3}{4}$. Since $AE + EC = 14$, we must have $AE = 6$, $EC = 8\ \textbf{(E)}$.

### Solution 3 (which won't work when justification is required)

Consider an isosceles trapezoid with opposite bases of $9$ and $12$ and a diagonal of length $14$. This trapezoid exists and satisfies all the conditions in the problem (the areas are congruent by symmetry). So, we can simply use this easier case to solve this problem, because the problem implies that the answer is invariant for all quadrilaterals satisfying the conditions.

Then, by similar triangles, the ratio of $AE$ to $EC$ is $3:4$, so $AE=6$