2012 AMC 10A Problems/Problem 8

The following problem is from both the 2012 AMC 12A #6 and 2012 AMC 10A #8, so both problems redirect to this page.

Problem

The sums of three whole numbers taken in pairs are 12, 17, and 19. What is the middle number?

$\textbf{(A)}\ 4\qquad\textbf{(B)}\ 5\qquad\textbf{(C)}\ 6\qquad\textbf{(D)}\ 7\qquad\textbf{(E)}\ 8$

Solution

Let the three numbers be equal to $a$, $b$, and $c$. We can now write three equations:

$a+b=12$

$b+c=17$

$a+c=19$

Adding these equations together, we get that

$2(a+b+c)=48$ and

$a+b+c=24$

Substituting the original equations into this one, we find

$c+12=24$

$a+17=24$

$b+19=24$

Therefore, our numbers are 12, 7, and 5. The middle number is $\boxed{\textbf{(D)}\ 7}$

Solution 2 (Faster)

Let the three numbers be $a$, $b$ and $c$ and $a. We get the three equations:

$a+b=12$

$a+c=17$

$b+c=19$

We add the first and last equations and then subtract the second one.

$(a+b)+(b+c)-(a+c) = 12+19-17 \Rightarrow 2b=14 \Rightarrow b = 7$

Because $b$ is the middle number, the middle number is $\boxed{\textbf{(D)}\ 7}$