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Today is the 27th of July.

Twenty-seven is the cube of three, and is equal to the sum of the digits of its own cube:

273 = 19683; 1+9+6+8+3=27

Twenty-seven is the smallest integer expressible as the sum of three squares in two dist- inct ways:

27 = 32+32+32 = 52+12+12

Another thing to do with 27 is the Syracuse process: Take a number; if odd, multiply it by 3 and add 1, if even, halve it. Apply the same process to the result, and continue ad nauseam.

For example, 7, 22, 11, 34, 17, 52, 26, 13, 40, 20, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1. As far as is known, though it has never been proved, the process eventually leads always to the repeating 4, 2, 1, 4 sequence. And if you start with 27, it takes 111 steps and reaches a peak of 9232.


Man's top speed is 27 mph;

Twenty-seven plastic bottles yield enough PVC yarn to make one pullover;

There are (some sources say) 27 Inuit words for snow.

Competition: More "26 L of the A" (Letters of the Alphabet) teasers, with three Chambers Thesaurus prizes for correct answers opened on 8 Aug. A T of 2 C

T as 2 S P

11 D S (W the C L)

27 V of A the C at S

1,000,000 H E D S B M H

Entries to: Pastimes, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

13 July answers and prizes:

5 Toes on a Foot; 6 Feet in a Fathom; 81/2 Film by Fellini; 26 Fortnights in a year; 32 Degrees Fahrenheit at Which Water Freezes. Winners: Mrs Jan Perfect, Mrs C Devey, Tom Empson.