From Colossus Inklings No.120

A reader recently wrote in to tell us that she was 20 years past threescore and ten. Why didn’t she just say ‘fourscore and ten’? I suspect it’s because the prescribed lifespan of an average person was purported to be threescore and ten’ 70 years old. And she was telling us that she was proud to have cheated that prediction by reaching 90 years old.

In the Old Testament, Psalms 90 has the line:

‘The days of our years are threescore years and ten.’

  • Although we expect to live past 70, the average life expectancy of the world nowadays is only 66.12.
  • According to United Nations estimates for 2005-10, Australia’s life expectancy at birth is ranked fifth among the world’s nations for men and sixth for women.
  • In 2008, the average life expectancy for Australians is 80.73 and for New Zealanders 80.24.

I would love to know how many of our puzzlers have beaten three score and ten?