My workplace is giving a prize for whoever can provide the closest guess (without going over) as to how many M & M’s are in what looks like a 2-quart jar.

For my guess, I counted the number of M & M’s side to side (16), front to back (11), and top to bottom (12), and did my calculations accordingly (16 X 11 X 12 = 2112). Then I assumed an 80% packing efficiency, so I multiplied my first number by .80, giving me 1689. This seems absurdly high, but then again, short of emptying the jar and counting them one-by-one, who knows?

Is there some kind of trick to these games? I’ve seen them dozens of times in my life, and in various permutations (my favorite was back when I was in high school: how many closed styrofoam Big-Mac boxes (this was before they started using paper instead of cardboard)were in a Honda Civic? Guess correctly and win… a Big Mac), and I’m sure that, with some science, I might be able to develop an edge.

Any advice?