Project Euler 17 Problem Statement

If the numbers 1 to 5 are written out in words: one, two, three, four, five, then there are 3 + 3 + 5 + 4 + 4 = 19 letters used in total.

If all the numbers from 1 to 1000 (one thousand) inclusive were written out in words, how many letters would be used?

NOTE: Do not count spaces or hyphens. For example, 342 (three hundred and forty-two) contains 23 letters and 115 (one hundred and fifteen) contains 20 letters. The use of “and” when writing out numbers is in compliance with British usage.


This version improves the writing of numbers by using the correct compound form. It also extends to quadrillions with the ability to add more decades. Instead of reporting a character count the full number is spelled out. Having a program that reliably translates numbers to words is much more valuable; such as spelling out monetary amounts on checks.

Looking at the process

The grouping of the number into three digit groups is accomplished by the following line:

 number = map(''.join, zip(*[iter(str(n).zfill(len(thousands)*3))]*3))

The number is always represented with leading zeros. For example, with the maximum thousands of ‘Quadrillion’ or 1015, the number 34,509 will become 000 000 000 000 034 509 (spaces added for readability).

Next, a Python idiom for clustering a data series into n-length groups using zip(*[iter(s)]*n), is applied to the zero-filled number. The final list named number is compiled by the map/join functions as: ['000', '000', '000', '000', '034', '509'] . The ‘000’ groups are ignored during processing.

Making the formatted number conform to other styles

As mentioned, this version uses the correct syntax for compound numbers such as using forty-four for 44.

Likewise, a single ‘and’ could also be included after the thousands/hundreds group when the last group is less than 100.

HackerRank version

The program is able to be expanded to include other thousand groups by adding the group name onto the thousands list if 999 quadrillion is not enough. I have no idea why, except for a projected U.S. deficit :).

Python 2.7 Source

download arrowUse this link to get the Project Euler 17 Python 2.7 source.

Last Word

Other thousands groups: Quintillion 1018, Sextillion 1021, Septillion 1024, Octillion 1027, and even more here.