# Opinion: Brainteasers to celebrate Walter Cronkite’s centennial birthday

By Aziz Inan | November 2, 2016 7:10pm

Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was an American broadcast journalist who was born on November 4, 1916 in Saint Joseph, Missouri and died on July 17, 2009 in New York City at age 92. Cronkite was best known for his service as the CBS Evening News anchorman for 19 years between 1962 and 1981 and during this period, he was often cited as “the most trusted man in America” [1].

From 1937 to 1981, Cronkite reported many important events including bombings in World War II, the Nuremberg trials, combat in the Vietnam War, Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the Dawson’s Field hijackings, Watergate, the Iran Hostage Crisis, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr., and Beatles musician John Lennon.

Friday, November 4, 2016 marks Cronkite’s centennial birthday and on this special occasion, I prepared the following birthday brainteasers in his memory:

1. If numbers 1 to 26 are assigned to the letters of the English alphabet as A being 1, B being 2, C being 3, etc., the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Walter Leland Cronkite Junior equals 309. Coincidentally, the 309th day of 2016 is Cronkite’s centennial birthday, November 4! Isn’t this fun?

2. Cronkite was also born on the 309th day of 1916 because just like 2016, 1916 is a leap year too.

3. Moreover, 309 signifies Cronkite’s 100th birthday in an additional way: 309 equals 3 times 103 where these two prime factors differ by 100.

4. The sum of the prime factors of 309 results in 106 which is twice 53 where the reverse of 53, namely 35, equals the sum of 19 and 16 which are the left- and right-halves of 1916, the year when Cronkite was born.

5. Additionally, the reverse of 106 is 601 where 601 is the 110th prime number. Interestingly enough, Cronkite died 110 days before his 93rd birthday.

6. The sum of numbers 110 and 93 gives 203 and four times 203 equals the difference of 1104 and 1916, which when put side by side make 11/04/1916, Cronkite’s full birthday.

7. Also, 203 equals 7 times 29 where 7 represents the number of years since Cronkite passed away in 2009 and 29 is the reverse of 92, Cronkite’s age at the time of his death. Also note that the digits of 92 differ by 7. Further, 6 times 29 results in 174 which corresponds to the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Walter Cronkite.

8. Further, the reverse of 203, namely 302, times ten equals 1104 plus 1916, the left- and right-halves of 11041916.

9. The difference of 2009 and the reverse of 203, namely 302, yields 1707 which coincides with 17 July (17/07), the day Cronkite died in 2009.

10. Cronkite died 255 days after his 92nd birthday where twice the reverse of 255, namely 552, yield 1104, Cronkite’s birth date (11/04) in 1916. Also, if 255 is split as 2 and 55, the product of these two numbers equals 110 where Cronkite died 110 days before his 93rd birthday.

11. Cronkite died 7 years ago in 2009 on 7/17 where 17 is the 7th prime number. Further, the 17th prime number is 59 with reverse 95 which equals the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Cronkite. In addition, three times 59 results in 177 which coincides with 17 July (17/7), the day when Cronkite died. Also, the sum of the digits of 95 (Cronkite) equals twice 7.

12. Additionally, the prime factors of 2009, namely 7 and 41, add up to 48 which equals the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Cronkite’s middle name, Leland. Also, the sum of the left- and right-halves of 2009, namely 20 and 09, equals 29 with its reverse being 92, Cronkite’s age when he died.

13. Lastly, the digits of 1916, the birth year of Cronkite, add up to 17 and again note that, 17 is the 7th prime where 7 and 17 side by side make 7/17, the day Cronkite died and so on (see item 11).

“And that’s the way it is” Walter Cronkite, and happy 100th birthday!

[1] Walter Cronkite, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Cronkite

Aziz Inan is an electrical engineering professor teaching in the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering and can be reached at ainan@up.edu.

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