||Fri 2014-02-21 09:03|
|Yes, the non-integer answer was startling to me too, and is really what made the problem stick in my head rather than falling out again shortly after it occurred to me.|
The resulting (wlog) 14 pieces must be assembled into five 7-sticks so one 7-stick must get at most two pieces. One of these must be at least 3.5 long.
Oh yes, that's a nice approach to proving optimality. Thank you!