2017 AIME II Problems/Problem 5

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$\textbf{Problem 5}$ A set contains four numbers. The six pairwise sums of distinct elements of the set, in no particular order, are $189$, $320$, $287$, $234$, $x$, and $y$. Find the greatest possible value of $x+y$.

$\textbf{Problem 5 Solution}$ Let these four numbers be $a$, $b$, $c$, and $d$, where $a>b>c>d$. $x+y$ needs to be maximized, so let $x=a+b$ and $y=a+c$ because these are the two largest pairwise sums. Now $x+y=2a+b+c$ needs to be maximized. Notice $2a+b+c=3(a+b+c+d)-(a+2b+2c+3d)=3((a+c)+(b+d))-((a+d)+(b+c)+(b+d)+(c+d))$. No matter how the numbers $189$, $320$, $287$, and $234$ are assigned to the values $a+d$, $b+c$, $b+d$, and $c+d$, the sum $(a+d)+(b+c)+(b+d)+(c+d)$ will always be $189+320+287+234$. Therefore we need to maximize $3((a+c)+(b+d))-(189+320+287+234)$. The maximum value of $(a+c)+(b+d)$ is achieved when we let $a+c$ and $b+d$ be $320$ and $287$ because these are the two largest pairwise sums besides $x$ and $y$. Therefore, the maximum possible value of $x+y=3(320+287)-(189+320+287+234)=\boxed{791}$.

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