Problem #1577

1577.

Lucky Larry's teacher asked him to substitute numbers for $a$, $b$, $c$, $d$, and $e$ in the expression $a-(b-(c-(d+e)))$ and evaluate the result. Larry ignored the parentheses but added and subtracted correctly and obtained the correct result by coincidence. The number Larry substituted for $a$, $b$, $c$, and $d$ were $1$, $2$, $3$, and $4$, respectively. What number did Larry substitute for $e$?

$\textbf{(A)}\ -5 \qquad \textbf{(B)}\ -3 \qquad \textbf{(C)}\ 0 \qquad \textbf{(D)}\ 3 \qquad \textbf{(E)}\ 5$

This problem is copyrighted by the American Mathematics Competitions.

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Instructions for entering answers:

  • Reduce fractions to lowest terms and enter in the form 7/9.
  • Numbers involving pi should be written as 7pi or 7pi/3 as appropriate.
  • Square roots should be written as sqrt(3), 5sqrt(5), sqrt(3)/2, or 7sqrt(2)/3 as appropriate.
  • Exponents should be entered in the form 10^10.
  • If the problem is multiple choice, enter the appropriate (capital) letter.
  • Enter points with parentheses, like so: (4,5)
  • Complex numbers should be entered in rectangular form unless otherwise specified, like so: 3+4i. If there is no real component, enter only the imaginary component (i.e. 2i, NOT 0+2i).

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