Problem #1867


Four cubes with edge lengths $1$, $2$, $3$, and $4$ are stacked as shown. What is the length of the portion of $\overline{XY}$ contained in the cube with edge length $3$?

$\textbf{(A)}\ \dfrac{3\sqrt{33}}5\qquad\textbf{(B)}\ 2\sqrt3\qquad\textbf{(C)}\ \dfrac{2\sqrt{33}}3\qquad\textbf{(D)}\ 4\qquad\textbf{(E)}\ 3\sqrt2$

[asy] dotfactor = 3; size(10cm); dot((0, 10)); label("$X$", (0,10),W,fontsize(8pt)); dot((6,2)); label("$Y$", (6,2),E,fontsize(8pt)); draw((0, 0)--(0, 10)--(1, 10)--(1, 9)--(2, 9)--(2, 7)--(3, 7)--(3,4)--(4, 4)--(4, 0)--cycle); draw((0,9)--(1, 9)--(1.5, 9.5)--(1.5, 10.5)--(0.5, 10.5)--(0, 10)); draw((1, 10)--(1.5,10.5)); draw((1.5, 10)--(3,10)--(3,8)--(2,7)--(0,7)); draw((2,9)--(3,10)); draw((3,8.5)--(4.5,8.5)--(4.5,5.5)--(3,4)--(0,4)); draw((3,7)--(4.5,8.5)); draw((4.5,6)--(6,6)--(6,2)--(4,0)); draw((4,4)--(6,6)); label("$1$", (1,9.5), W,fontsize(8pt)); label("$2$", (2,8), W,fontsize(8pt)); label("$3$", (3,5.5), W,fontsize(8pt)); label("$4$", (4,2), W,fontsize(8pt)); [/asy]

This problem is copyrighted by the American Mathematics Competitions.

Note: you aren't logged in. If you log in, we'll keep a record of which problems you've solved.

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).

For questions or comments, please email

Find out how your skills stack up!

Try our new, free contest math practice test. All new, never-seen-before problems.

AMC/AIME classes

I offer online AMC/AIME classes periodically. Join the mailing list to be informed next time they're offered.

Private coaching is also available.