by NM '20
Solvers of last week’s puzzle (in order):
1. David Hla
2. Liam Chalk
3. Matthew Chalk
4. Luke Dougherty
5. Maggie Wang
6. Jonathan Merril
7. Mr. Rick DuPuy
8. Robert Shekoyan
Answer to and commentary on Puzzle #3:
Classification: Medium / Hard. Though the problem could be solved deductively by limit approximation, the best way to solve it was algebraically. First, we must solve for the nested fraction. The form 18/(7 + 18/(7 +18/(7 +18(/... can be evaluated with the equation y = 18/(7 + y). Solving quadratically gives the possible solutions 2 and -9, of which 2 is the only nontrivial solution (we are assuming the solution is real). Now, to solve for the nested radical:
we must solve for x = √(2 + x). Solving quadratically gives the possible solutions 2 and -1, of which 2 is the only possible solution, assuming a real number value for x.
NM (email redacted)
This week’s puzzle: Analytics / Logic. Aer O’Plane is a mischievous air traffic controller in Dublin, Ireland. He wants to prevent his old friend, Aer O’Port, from successfully completing a ‘round Ireland journey from Dublin to Cork, Shannon, Kerry, and Knock (in no particular order, save that the journey must start and end in Dublin) by canceling exactly one of O'Port's flights. That is, O’Port is trying to visit each of the aforementioned towns at least once in a single day (starting and ending in Dublin) by flying between them, and O’Plane is trying to make this impossible by canceling one of O’Port’s flights. Your task: find the exactly one flight that O’Plane must cancel to make it impossible for O’Port to visit all of the five airports in a day, using the following flight timetable (assume all flights last 1 hour and that at least 10 minutes are required for each of O’Port’s connections).
Hint: Be organized!
by Street Roberts '20
Coming off a hard-fought 1-0 victory, the St. Albans soccer team looked to continue their momentum against a tough St. Stephen's and St. Agnes squad. After an exciting NCS victory over Bullis, the Bulldogs took the field under the sweltering afternoon sun. The team came out flying and nearly scored several times in the first couple minutes. However, the Saints’ defense prevailed, and the game slowed down to a deadlock after the first ten minutes. The ‘Dogs struggled to break down the Saints’ defense, but, finally, a nifty finish by senior midfielder Liam “Shifu” Schaberg broke the stalemate, sending the Beef Club into a frenzy. Chants of “We got Shifu” rung across the field, and the Bulldogs carried this energy into the second half. Despite the fatigue that started to set in, the ‘Dogs were able to take a commanding lead behind a fantastic cross-and-finish between Mikey Brady (‘20) and senior Nick Kim (‘19). Slowing the game down, the team was able to hold off the Saints and leave with another IAC victory. Stay tuned for more difficult away IAC matchups against Bullis on Wednesday and Georgetown Prep on Friday. Until then, Roll Beef.
by Liam Warin '20
BEEP BEEP BEEP! My alarm blares as I struggle to get out of bed. My early morning grogginess subsides as I fumble for my iPhone hidden carefully under the bed. I regain my senses, grab my device and end the awful noise. It is 8 AM, my phone reads, meaning I have to be at school in one hour before the Saint Albans and National Cathedral School Cross Country teams journey to Kenilworth Park to compete for glory in the hot and muddy trenches. Dragging myself through the motions, I get dressed and scarf down a breakfast sandwich before getting in my car. I eventually reach the buses and fall asleep as we hit the road.
Suddenly, I jolt up and realize that half the team has left the bus, and I scramble to grab all of my belongings and exit frantically.
We set up camp just off the road. To accompany my trek, I bring a chair, a cooler filled with Dasani Water, my school materials, and extra clothes for after the tiring race. The chair immediately comes in handy, as the seat’s comfort makes me feel like a king. In the shade, I lounge and relax without a care on my mind.
That all changes one hour before my race.
My alarm strikes again, this time to indicate the upcoming event. Unfortunately, I am enjoying a delicious pizza. It’s hard to part ways with my savory lunch, but I do it for the team. I rise with several others and run our warmup loops around the small field near our base. With every step I take, I know I am one step closer to the race. Its presence in my mind haunts me throughout my stretching, and just like that, it is time to put my spikes on and go to the starting line.
My hand starts to tingle. I am ready… or so I think. The crack of the gun signals the start of the race. My fellow comrades and I sprint through the thick grass, jostling for position like soldiers running away from an explosion. Only a few minutes in, and I can already feel the heat bearing down on me. It is going to be a long race.
Throughout the race I ponder the same question: Why do I do Cross Country? Without a good answer, I continue to pace myself around the bend and up the small hill, passing supporters. What is there to cheer on in Cross Country? It’s literally just running! Angry with myself, I keep running, and running, and running. Just like that, I’m on the second loop.
Somehow, the second loop is worse than the first. I try to think of things that could distract me from thinking about my fatigue, but the only things that distract me are things about running, which puts me in even worse shape. I think of songs, pacing my breathing to music I listened to before my race. However, it is quite difficult to keep a consistent breathing pattern to the tune of “Levels” by Avicii. I’m able to set it to “Hotel California,” but that makes me think of eagles, which makes me think of NCS, which makes me think of Cross Country. Nothing works, I think to myself, but I will embrace the pain and continue.
All of the sudden, I am at the track. It’s time to give my everything, which is what I’ve been doing for the last three miles, so I slightly speed up.
I am done. I am past the finish line. It is over. So many cliches can describe this triumphant moment. Nonetheless, my race is concluded; my journey, completed; my intentions, changed. I know why I do Cross Country. I do Cross Country for the refreshing cup of water after the 5K.
by Addie Sears '20
If you are a Latin student, I’m sure that you are no stranger to the unsolicited harassment from so-called “friends” about choosing to take a “dead language.” Comments like these are honestly quite unfortunate, considering that without Latin, said “friends” wouldn’t even be taking whatever language they’re in now. Alas, peers who are tremendously misinformed about Latin’s purpose in the world continue to slander the language. Some common remarks you might hear in your day to day life range from: “Latin will never help you,” to questions like “What will you do when the whole world is speaking Spanish?” And of course the notorious “There’s not even vocab on the SAT anymore.” To combat this unadulterated abuse, here are a few reasons why Latin is definitely NOT dead, and is completely, 100%, prevalent in everyone’s lives.
Do you have any idea how many english words originate from Latin? No? You don’t? That’s funny. The answer is: a lot. Over 60% of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. How does it feel to know that the word: “stupid,” as in, Latin is stupid, comes from the noun stupidus? With this in mind, a fun little game you could all play is when you try to insult people without using words with latin origins. Spoiler alert! You probably won’t be able to. As for vocabulary in the science and technology realm, the percentage raises to 90%. Hey, STEM boys and girls! Latin dominates your lives and interests as well. So fun.
Another reason to take Latin is the overwhelming enjoyment it can bring to your life. The highlight of my day is always when I get to spend hours on hours rewriting declension endings I should’ve memorized years ago. It’s always super wonderful to know that the time it takes me to memorize basic grammar rules is the same as how long I need to crank out a five-paragraph paper. The endless, time-consuming, upkeep necessary to keep my grade from plummeting to uncharted depths always reminds me of what a fantastic language Latin is.
Super Fun History
One great thing about Latin is that to make sense of bizarre translations that a student may come across, it’s necessary to have a good grasp on some of the history of that time period. This is especially fun because not only do we get to take a break from drilling verb tenses into our brains, but we get to hear about some arguably ~abstract~ customs of the Roman Empire. A particularly family-friendly one is when gladiators were thrown into the Colosseum to try and hold their own against terrifying, enraged, ravenous animals. Sounds thrilling. If you ever have a spare moment, I would definitely recommend becoming acquainted with Roman traditions like this and see which ones you like the best.
Although this list is on the shorter side, I could honestly go on forever about how much I’ve personally benefited from studying Latin. It’s been a really fun and great experience so far, and I’m beyond excited to continue on this wild educational ride. For any of you that bully your friends about their language choice, I hope you spend some time reminiscing on this article, and how your slander is irritating and unappreciated. Sic semper tyrannis.
by Priya Phillips '19
Attention, Close-wide community: the most exciting event of the year is almost upon us! Now, for the freshmen and other-wise ill-informed students of the close, you might be thinking, “Christmas isn’t for another 85 days, that’s not soon at all!” and you’d be right because the time I’m talking about is even sooner than Christmas. Is it Thanksgiving? Wrong again. This event is infinitely more fun than eating dry turkey while your family argues over politics. Well then, surely I must be talking about Halloween? Incorrect! Surprisingly enough, the event I’m referring to forces you to spend even more money on transforming yourself into a completely different person. Haven’t guessed it yet? I’m talking about a night filled with glamour, dancing, and sweating out your $45 drybar blowout: Saint Albans Homecoming!
Similarly to many other students on the Close, I have been anticipating (dreading?) this night ever since last year’s homecoming, and not just because I’ve been meticulously planning how to fix everything that went wrong the last time around. However, as we approach the three-week countdown to the beautiful and memorable night that is STA Homecoming, I have to become more realistic about my expectations and plans for this night. As a junior, I have come to terms with the fact that my dances on the Close will not resemble the perfect formal dance scenes which flood my favorite teen movies. Remember the prom scene in Mean Girls, when Caddy showed up late, won Homecoming queen, and then broke the crown so everyone could be a winner? Yeah, you're not getting that at STA Homecoming. Doors to this dance close promptly at 8:30, there is no homecoming queen and king, and the only people who really win are the select few fortunate enough to avoid being mauled during “Everytime We Touch”. Now I’m not saying this to crush your dreams about having the perfect formal dance experience, I’m just giving you a reality check. STA Homecoming is fun in its own special way and the key to making the most out of this fabled night is to plan accordingly. Don’t leave anything up to chance because you will be disappointed. This night is not for the weak of heart or fragile of mind — only the strong will survive. If you’re unsure of what preparations I could possibly be referring to or are just generally wondering if the $10 ticket and burger dinner at Cafe Deluxe is even worth all the hassle — fear not! I, a totally qualified upperclassman and Homecoming pro, have drawn up a few detailed, completely useful Hoco 2k18 Prep for Success steps which will makes these upcoming three weeks completely manageable.
Good luck and Happy Homecoming Season!
by Grayson Grigorian'21 and Jorge Guajardo '21
Well, it’s a little chilly out and I’m hearing some pumpkin flavored orders at Starbucks, so I can only assume October is rolling around. We all know what that means: it’s about time for the Homecoming asks to start. The boys are beginning to make signs with bad puns on them and the girls are beginning to receive the “Can you meet me at Open City during office hours?” texts. That’s only half the fun — just wait till the two crowds assemble in front of the Cathedral with neither person really knowing what to say. “Homecoming?” the boy stutters out, with people on all sides taking videos or pictures. Through an awkward laugh, he receives a reply of “Yeah, thanks” if all goes to plan. After handing over the sign and taking a picture, the two parties go their separate ways to sports.
Now, to all of the new freshmen with high expectations for the dance, here’s what will most likely go down: the dance approaches, and after the football team tries their best (can’t win ‘em all), groups begin to assemble for pictures before a dinner. This is assuming you’re not a member of the 2017 cross country team (pardon the tangent I’m about to go on), in which case you are halfway through a long bus ride back from a meet that just so happened to be far away. Very far away. Charlottesville, Virginia far away. There’s been a lot of traffic on the route, but you’re on Rock Creek Parkway now, ten minutes away from school, feeling good. All of the sudden, the bus stops, you look ahead and see a road closure and, would you look at that, people are getting out of their cars. Great. After waiting another thirty minutes, cars start to move and you get back to school. Collect your clothes, hop in the locker room showers, and speed walk as fast as you can in those too-small or too-large dress shoes to Cafe Deluxe.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, back to the generic story. Well, the dinner happens. Nothing is too eventful, but you see three other groups of people about to go to the dance because everyone goes to the same three restaurants. You finish eating, pay, and walk over to the dance. And then the dance starts. It’s like other dances: loud music, it’s hot, but now you’re in formal clothes. What a concept. One of those songs comes on that everyone knows, so now the jumping intensifies and that thing happens where six people fall in the middle of the moshpit cause the song is just that good. It’s at this point that you realize you haven’t really talked to your date since you’ve gotten into the dance, but with the loud music and the shouting, how could you? Now people start to leave, and approximately sixty Ubers are called to Senior Circle in the span of fifteen minutes—logistics at its finest. This concludes the dance portion of the night—the end.
by Amanda DeCastro '19
Last Friday, the eagles took on School Without Walls and came away with a fantastic 4-2 win. While Walls scored first, sophomore Eliza Turner responded quickly with an epic shot from outside the 18 yard box, tying it up. As the game went on, three other goals by Eliza Turner, Avery Watkins, and Ariana Lotfi helped CVS secure the win. Some notable performances came from senior goalkeeper Lily Keller with fantastic saves and junior Siena Waldman who controlled the middle of the field with ease. A highlight of the game was seeing the great NCS fan section led by Chloe Conaghan that cheered the whole time and made it a positive playing atmosphere. While the eagles have had a rough start to the season, especially in the ISL, this win was a great way to end the week. We hope to see more fans supporting us at our next game! Go Eagles!!
by Esther Eriksson von Allmen '19
Dear Common Application,
I’m Swedish! Sorry, I’m being aggressive. I know. As you can see, I’m trying REALLY hard to accentuate my foreignness to you, considering it’s the only mildly interesting aspect of my otherwise oatmeal-bland identity. My family eats meatballs, like, every day! Got that? EVERYDAY. And our house is decorated solely with IKEA furniture!
What do I do in my free time? I ! love ! community ! service ! There’s just something about folding skidmark underwear at Wider Circle that inspires me to wake up every morning. Last summer, my parents even spent [insert ridiculous amount of money here] so I could do community service in [insert developing country here]!
During the summers, I do really awesome internships at the [insert super prestigious government/research agency here]. How on earth did I get this opportunity? I credit hard work, stellar grades, and [insert name of family member with high-ranking executive position at government/research agency here]. Did I mention that I’m the president of [insert obscure club name here]? We meet once every three months and the club consists solely of girls from my friend group, but I’m definitely going to refer to it as “my cause” at least three times in my essay.
In fact, I have many causes! Did you know I’m a student government representative? I’m on the [insert name of board that contributes virtually nothing to school community here].
Under the language section, you might have noticed that I marked myself as being “proficient” in [insert language that I barely understand here]. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT test me on that. You might also see that I won some cool medals in the [insert name of language exam here]! I’m hoping you’ll be so distracted by the title of “medalist” that you won’t recognize how mediocre this accomplishment actually is!
In fact, if you look close enough, my entire constructed persona begins to fall apart. In which case, did I mention I’m Swedish?
by Schuyler Holleman '20
7:40-7:50: You arrive at school, DEFINITELY driving the mandated 5 mph speed limit in the garage because, as an admirable Close student, safety is of the utmost importance.
7:55: You manage to once again make really awkward, intense eye contact with the crossing guard while you run to Woodley, likely resembling a chicken with its head cut off.
10:20: You PRAY someone remembered homeroom snack. She forgot. AGAIN. You munch on week-old Doritos. Naturally, you polish off the entire bag.
10:45-1:00: That STA boy in your English class could DEFINITELY hear your stomach growling.
1:05: Your heart drops. They ran out of pasta. What is there to satisfy your cravings? Chicken and rice.
2:45-3:40: You may think you would have some downtime between classes and sports. Good one. After meeting with your teachers for both AP French and AP Bio, you swing by your meetings for Discus editors, Vestry, and the four random clubs you accidentally signed up for at the clubs fair, stopping along the way to chat with Ms. Bohlen because, well, you know.
3:40: Sprint down the hill to the Athletic Center, rain beating on your face, as breathing becomes impossible. Death is upon you.
3:45-5:45: After a good 8 hours of learning, there’s nothing we NCS girls love more than some grueling physical activity. 10/10 would recommend.
6:00-7:00: Yet another extracurricular activity. Maybe you do acappella, a travel soccer team, or maybe HIE. Either way, the day is FAR from over, ladies.
7:30: No time for dinner — you sprint past your parents, hurdle over your dog, and launch yourself up the stairs to your bedroom (after grabbing a nourishing and fulfilling protein bar).
12:00: You crawl into bed, telling yourself “I’ll just give myself a good five minutes on Instagram.” Suddenly, it’s 2 a.m.