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This book was originally published in 2003 by Scholastic Ltd with a different cover |

*Suitable for ages 10 upwards*

QUESTION: How do you do sums when you don't know what the numbers are?

ANSWER: You need to learn the secrets of one of the most murderous bits of maths ever invented - algebra!

You'll also find out why:

- Pongo McWhiffy's kipper and pumpkin burgers are flying through the air
- The Pure Mathematicians are weeping with laughter in the Murderous Maths testing laboratory
- 94 councillors are licking scum off the beach at Fastbuck
- far out in space an Evil Gollark is kissing his friend.

*Don't forget to click the EXTRA
links for more details that we didn't have room for in the books!*

The Phantom X sneaks out of the shadows to introduce himself and his awesome algebra.
(all sing together now: *"Dah dah DAHHHH!"*)

We learn about unknowns - in other words we see how letters can be used as numbers. We also see what happens when a stroppy caterpillar goes through a lawn mower. Mind you, it's even worse for the Evil Gollarks when their hyper-algebra steers their space craft into a meteor.

Grizelda the Grisly, Urgum the Axeman and Mungoid The Jungoid have all popped out to do some shopping. How can Thag the Mathematician use equations to discover how many bows, arrows, cannons and cannonballs they have bought?

Meanwhile Colonel Cancel doesn't understand brackets and tries to share two pairs of pants between 13 soldiers. It's no wonder that Hunjah the Headless ends up disguising himself as a dungheap.

This is such a brilliant chapter that it's no wonder that some people are disappointed when it comes to the end...

We go back almost 2,000 years to meet Diophantus and solve the riddle of his life - one of the first known algebra puzzles!

The Fogsworths take a trip to Brownpool on Sea - and find that unpacking their cases is a lot easier than packing them up again! It's the same with factorising , which means taking letters in and out of brackets. Luckily when it gets really difficult there's the special Murderous Maths Quadratic Cracker to help you!

And when you meet equations with *two*
answers, there's a panic button that reveals the awesome
quadratic formula for you.
There's a tricky moment when the man that installs the panic button turns out to
be Professor Fiendish in disguise with one of his diabolical challenges, but you can
find out how to get rid of him!

EXTRA: Try the old fashioned way of solving quadratics by COMPLETING THE SQUARE!

EXTRA: Try our QUADRATICS SOLVER!

Have you ever wondered how "Think of a Number" tricks really work? This chapter describes and explains several classic tricks involving numbers, predictions and playing cards. There's even a jaw-dropping trick that you can play on somebody which involves the book itself! Meanwhile in the Last Chance Saloon, Riverboat Lil is so tired that she's dropping cards and even letting Brett Shuffler do all the dealing... surely just this once he can actually win his gold watch back from her?

Wahey! It's time to put on your orange nylon shirt, your odd socks and your cardigan
with holes where the buttons used to be because you're invited in to see what the utterly
nutty Pure Mathematicians are up to. Once you've discovered the
difference of two squares, Pascal's coefficients and
how to simplify the nastiest looking terms, you'll
realise why they are breaking giant eggs over their heads and collapsing with
laughter at ...*nothing*!

Dolly Snowlips has arranged for the lights to go out at the Municipal Bank -
the only problem for Blade Boccelli and his gangster friends is working out exactly
*when* they can sneak in and grab all the money. Oh dear... if only they had known a bit
of basic algebra!

As we discover how equations can be made into graphs,
we seem to be getting
showered with a massive range of utterly revolting burgers. Find out how
x^{2} can decribe things flying through the air and how graphs can solve two
simultaneous equations at once! Meanwhile Pongo
McWhiffy has a plan to impress the terribly lovely Veronica Gumfloss, but he ends
up impressing an Evil Gollark instead.

EXTRA: A bit of Calculus! It's perfect reading if you like algebra and graphs!

Solving one equation with one unknown isn't so bad, but
what about *two* equations with *two* unknowns? Once you know the different ways
of solving simultaneous equations,
you'll be ready to unscramble the greedy Fastbuck Councillors
expense form! You'll be amazed at how many councillors needed to fly off to Hawaii and
lie on a beach for a month on a fact finding mission about pollution. (Thank goodness
this is only a silly story in a book and this sort of thing NEVER happens in real life.)

At last, you're ready to take on one of the biggest threats to the universe - an eerie
piece of algebra that can prove any number = 0. If that's the case then a weight of 10
tonnes would just collapse into a tiny speck, 1000 years could shrink into a single
millesecond. So can you help the Phantom break this proof and save
the universe?

(Once again now, sing with feeling: *"Dah dah DARGHHHH!"*)

We've discovered the real identity of the Phantom X! It's Tom Wang from OrpingtonThanks for the photo Tom!
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