math challenge

Week of May 26 - June 1, 1997

Payday in an Alternate Universe

Ronald works in an alternate universe, processing rocket fuel for $8 an hour. In this alternate universe, all numbers are written backwards. While Ronald is there, he works a specific number of hours (no fractions) and does not get any overtime pay. When he is finished he gets a cheque that he can cash at a bank back on Earth. However, the person who wrote the cheque wrote the numbers in the usual backwards fashion.

When Ronald went to cash the cheque on Earth, he discovered that he was going to get paid $99 dollars more than he had actually earned. Honest Ronald phoned the rocket-fuel plant, but they told him to go ahead and cash it.

If Ronald earned less than $1,000, but the maximum possible given these conditions, what dollar amount was on his cheque and how many hours did he work?

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