Chattermailbox: Love Calculator Mystery Solved

Chatterbox wrote last month (“All You Need Is Love”) about an impressive Web time-waster called the LoveCalculator , which allows you to measure the compatibility of any two people. Chatterbox admitted that the science of the Love Calculator had eluded him, but several readers notified Chatterbox that its results precisely matched those from a game familiar to English schoolchildren. The first person to notify Chatterbox about this was Luke Kenny, who works for a modem manufacturer in Melbourne, Australia. To illustrate, Kenny posited the following match-up:

John Smith loves Kerry Shine

Kenny instructed Chatterbox to

take the number of times each letter of the word “loves” appears in both words and write them next to each other:


0 1 0 2 2

So, now you have five numbers. Take the left-hand number and add it to the second to the left. Write it down. Take the second number from the left and add it to the third number from the left and continue …


0+1=1, 1+0=1, 0+2=2, 2+2=4

Next, put the four totals together in sequence:

1 1 2 4

And then, says Kenny,

repeat the adding until you get a two-digit number:

2 3 6

One more time should do it:


This means that John Smith and Kerry Shine have a 59 percent chance of hitting it off, which is the same probability given by the Love Calculator! Now that English schoolchildren no longer have to subject themselves to the drudgery of adding and combining all these sums, they can devote that time to wondering why Great Britain, supposedly an advanced society, continues to be ruled by kings and queens.