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This post asks for the solution of a problem subject to various artificial constraints of the sort that frequently arise in homework problems. When asked repeatedly why he wants to impose these particular constraints (in the comment thread under Bob Terrell's answer), the OP has responded evasively and tried to change the subject.

Pending a more satisfactory response (which seems increasingly unlikely given the multiple missed opportunites for that response) I have voted to close and hope others will too.

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    $\begingroup$ You may have noticed it's closed now. Even if it's not homework, the lack of articulation as to why certain things must be disallowed is a signal that the problem does not really arise in a mathematics research context. $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Apr 25 '16 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ I absolutely agree with @ToddTrimble - the matter of whether or not it is homework ought to be secondary to the fact that there is no motivation or explanation for the constraints given. Curiously, there are 4 re-open votes listed, yet the question does not seem to be in the re-open queue for me. (I am probably missing something obvious.) $\endgroup$ – Lasse Rempe-Gillen Apr 27 '16 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ @LasseRempe-Gillen: As to the second sentence of your comment: 3 people have already chosen "leave closed" in the reopen votes review queue, so the review is finished, see here. $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Apr 27 '16 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl Thanks, that makes sense now! $\endgroup$ – Lasse Rempe-Gillen Apr 27 '16 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ Note that the question has been reopened. Would it be worth voting to "re-close"? $\endgroup$ – Ramiro de la Vega May 2 '16 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @RamirodelaVega: In my opinion, the reasons for closing remain exactly as they were, so I would vote to re-close if I could. $\endgroup$ – Steven Landsburg May 2 '16 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't look like a homework question to me. (What course would it be?) It would be nice if some motivation was provided, but as far as I can see nobody ever asked. Then the OP was accused of being "evasive" when he/she wouldn't accept an answer to a different problem. This is all highly unsatisfactory. $\endgroup$ – Brendan McKay May 8 '16 at 3:33
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    $\begingroup$ @BrendanMcKay: The OP's evasiveness consisted not in refusing to accept an answer, but in refusing to provide motivation when asked. More particularly, when I asked why he was (apparently arbitrarily) disallowing the use of the $max$ operator, the response was that "it must be done" that way. To me, this is unambigously evasive. As to the part about nobody ever asking, I think you must have just overlooked my query. $\endgroup$ – Steven Landsburg May 8 '16 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Steven: I read it all again and stand by my comment in toto. There is nothing arbitrary in wanting to solve a problem in a particular way, it is an aspect of many problems posed here. $\endgroup$ – Brendan McKay May 8 '16 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ It would be helpful, whatever one's own views on the opening or closure of the question, if the OP had ever got back to us. It seems he or she is still viewing or using the site, but has not actively participated since the question was closed $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi May 8 '16 at 13:15

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