Problem #2251

2251.

Jim starts with a positive integer $n$ and creates a sequence of numbers. Each successive number is obtained by subtracting the largest possible integer square less than or equal to the current number until zero is reached. For example, if Jim starts with $n = 55$, then his sequence contains $5$ numbers:


\[\begin{array}{ccccc} {}&{}&{}&{}&55\\ 55&-&7^2&=&6\\ 6&-&2^2&=&2\\ 2&-&1^2&=&1\\ 1&-&1^2&=&0\\ \end{array}\]

Let $N$ be the smallest number for which Jim’s sequence has $8$ numbers. What is the units digit of $N$?

$\mathrm{(A)}\ 1 \qquad \mathrm{(B)}\ 3 \qquad \mathrm{(C)}\ 5 \qquad \mathrm{(D)}\ 7 \qquad \mathrm{(E)}\ 9$

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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