A crossword puzzler

I helped someone with a crossword puzzle question yesterday.

Q: What is the function whose domain is between -1 and 1?
A: Um...

I haven't had a math class since high school, and although I was good with the maths and enjoyed them, it's been over 10 years (gulp, wimper, waaaa) since I thought about what a function, domain, value, sine, cosine, or a tangent was. Luckily for me someone blogged the answer, so I was able to cross-reference pretty quickly and give the caller the answer. Made sure it fit the clue in her crossword before getting off the phone, etc., but sheesh! That would have taken quite a bit of digging otherwise. And, really, isn't the point of the NYT crossword puzzle that they are impossible to solve?

The funny part was that a mathematician, who I am almost certain would know something like this off the top of his head, was sitting about 6' away from me, probably listening to the whole thing. I'm not a favorite of his. So if he did happen to overhear, I'm wondering what he made of my stumbling through inverse trigonometric functions.

1 comment:

Kat said...

I asked the mathematician about this today, and sure enough -- he knew the answer right away. There are several inverse functions that this statement could be true for, but yes. Right away.