Posers, puzzles, and problems 

(back to home page)

 
The bum and the butts.
Working for gold
The stack of paper
Water and Milk mix
The expanding rail road track
The scrap iron barge in the lake
The clever carpenter
Fence around the world
Mixed up socks
The doomed bee
Snail in the well
Flower seed planted 10" deep
The bear hunter
7 maids with 7 mops
The egg peddler
2 pan balance scale & weights
Squares on a checker board
Stroke of midnight
Coin dated 12 BC
Prisoner's last statement
10 stacks of gold coins
Nine men shaking hands
The dog, the wolf and the bear
Bricks
$1.15 and can't make change
The hat with the feather
12 spheres and a  2 pan balance
Fresh Sardines
Powerless Queens
Sailor on a rope
How cold is it?
Gallon of coins
 Mind Reading Trick
Spider & the Fly
Draining the vat
The Book Worm

(for answers, see bottom of page)

 

or really go nuts with our

Impossible Problems
(for the real masochist)
 
 



 

 

 

 

The bum and the butts.

     A bum has a cigarette roller and he searches the streets for cigarette butts.  He has discovered that he needs 4 butts in order to roll one regular length cigarette.   How many smokes can he enjoy if he finds 16 butts?

(menu)
 

 

 

 

Working for gold

     A merchant hired a carpenter to do a job.  The carpenter agreed to the work that would take 7 days.   For payment he wanted a gold wand that the merchant had in his shop.  The carpenter wanted to be paid every single day however, which made it necessary to cut the wand into pieces, so the carpenter could be paid daily for the work each day.  The merchant brought the wand to the jeweler to cut for him and the jeweler agreed but he would charge the merchant $1.00 for every saw cut he had to make. In addition, he could keep the gold dust from the saw cuts.  (Which was worth much more) What is the minimum amount of money the merchant will have to pay the jeweler to cut up his rod so he can pay the help each day?

(menu)
 

 

 

 

The stack of paper

     You can cut a piece of paper in two then put the both halves together and  cut them again, making four pieces.  If you put the four together again and cut them in half, you have a total of eight pieces.   You can see that each time you put the two stacks together and cut them in half that the number of pieces doubles.  Assume it were possible to magically cut the stacks in half  any number of times. Now tell me, if you cut the paper 50 times and put all the pieces in one big column, how high would that pile be?

For calculation purposes, assume the paper is only .0025" thick, or 400 sheets to the inch.

(menu)
 


 

 

 

Water and Milk mix

     You are given two containers of liquid.   One is full of milk and the other is full of water.  You are also given a scoop with which to pour fluid from one container to the other.   First you dip your scoop in the milk, filling it to the top and dump this into the container with the water.  Now you have your water contaminated by a measure of milk.   Stir this mixture thoroughly and scoop a full measure of this mixture up and pour it into the container with the milk.   Now you have contaminated the milk with the mixture. (The question is)  Is the degree of contamination greater in the milk or in the water?   In other words, is there More water in the milk, or more milk in the water?

(menu)
 


 

 

 

The expanding rail road track

     There is a continuous section of rail road track that measures one mile long.   This rail is on flat ground and both ends of the track have been blocked, so they can not move if the rail expands.   Lets assume that when the sun comes out and heats the track,   it expands one foot over the entire length.    Not being able to simply push out the two ends which are blocked, it has to bow up in the middle because the ends can not be moved.   Lets further assume that this bow is a true arc traveling from one end of the track to the other.  The question is this:  At the highest point of the arch effect, how high off the ground is the bottom of the track?

(menu)
 


 

 

 

The scrap iron barge in the lake

     Picture a barge loaded with scrap iron being towed across a big lake. If a barge were to dump all it's cargo over board, would the water  level of the lake in which  it was being towed, go up, Go down,  or Stay the same?

(menu)
 


 

 

 

The clever carpenter

     A carpenter was hired to put a special window in a customer's cellar.   His instructions were that this window had to measure 24 inches in the vertical and 24 inches in the horizontal directions.   He finished the job and upon inspecting his work, the owner of the home said, "Oh, no this will never do.".   There is not enough light coming through this window.  I need twice as much light from this window as we have now.   You must make the window bigger please."    "OK.", said the carpenter, "I will make it 48 inches by 48 inches instead that will give you lots more light.".   "Oh, no", said the owner,  "It must be only 24 inches by  24 inches and no larger than that."    Scratching his head a bit and looking over the task, the carpenter said, "No problem, sir, I can do it."   And he set to work to do the alteration.   When he was finished he called the customer again to inspect his work and the happy owner not only paid him but tipped him as well.   For indeed there was at least two times as much light pouring through the window and it still measured 24 inches by 24 inches.    How is this possible?

(menu)
 


 

 

 

Fence around the world

     Envision a wire fence that circles the entire earth, and assume the earth is a perfect sphere as well.  The fence is made of periodically placed stakes driven in the ground with one long wire stretched between them.   There are two strands of  wire that are stretched between the stakes.  One is a foot off of the ground, and the other is  four feet above the ground.   So there is a distance of three feet between the wires for the entire length which stretches completely around the world.  The question is: If the lower wire measures exactly 25,000 miles long, how long is the upper wire?

(menu)
 


 

 

 

Mixed up socks

     Jorge has 12 pair of black socks  and 12 pairs of white socks in the same drawer.   None of the socks are paired with one of a matching color, they are all mixed together, singly in the drawer.
Jorge has a date in 10 minutes and runs into the bed room to get a pair of socks, to find that the light bulb has burned out and he can not see in the dark room to select a matching pair of socks.
  What is the minimum number of socks that Jorge has to pull out of the drawer to insure that he has grabbed a matching pair to wear on his date?

(menu)
 

 

 

 

The doomed bee

     There are two trains on the same track, heading towards each other on a collision course,  let's call them train "A" and train "B".  When the two trains are 10 miles apart and both traveling at 30 miles per hour, a bee, who is flying at 60 miles per hour starts flying from train "A", to train "B".   When he gets to train "B", he immediately reverses his direction, instantly with no time loss, and heads back toward train "A" again.   When he gets back to Train "A", he does the instant reverse again and flies back to train "B".   You can see that he makes a bunch of trips and each time he makes the trip, it is a little shorter.  It continues to get shorter and shorter until the two trains finally are so close that they collide and kill the bee, who is squashed between them.  (. a moment of silence, for the bee...) The question is:  How far has the bee flown, in this problem, before he became as tall as a shadow and ceased to exist?

(menu)
 


Snail in the well

     A snail is trapped in a well that is 12 feet deep.  Each day he climbs up 3 feet, in his bid to escape, but at night he slides down 2 feet in his sleep.   How many days does it take for him to escape?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

Flower seed planted 10 inches deep

     A flower seed is planted 10 inches below the ground.  The first day it grows 5 inches, toward the sunlight.  On the second day it grows 2 1/2 inches, toward the light.  On the third day it grows 1 1/4 inches  and so on.   Each day growing half the distance that it grew on the day before.  How long will it take the flower shoot to break through the surface of the ground?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

7 maids with 7 mops

     If 7 maids with 7 mops can sweep 7 tons of sand in 7 days, how long does it take one maid, with one mop, to sweep one ton of sand ?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

The bear hunter

     A bear hunter leaves his camp searching for a bear.   He travels directly south for 5 miles and turns to the east.  He travels another 5 miles in that direction and makes a turn north.  After traveling north for 5 miles he finds he has returned to his camp and there is a large bear just getting into his food supply, so he shoots and kills it.  The question is what color was the bear?  Explain your answer

(no guessing, you must be sure)

(menu)
 


 

 

The egg peddler

     A farmer's son has a small egg route but he only has three customers.  He loads his basket with eggs in the morning and goes to Mrs. Smith's house to see what she wants that morning.  Mrs. Smith looks in the basket and says well I only need half the eggs in your basket but just to be on the safe side, give me a half egg more.  The lad fulfills the request and goes to Mrs. Jones' house.   Mrs. Jones looks in the basket and says she only needs half the eggs he has left but why doesn't he just toss in another half egg for good measure.   The farmer's son gives the lady what she wants and goes to his last customer's home.  Mrs. Black looks into the basket and declares that although she only needs half of what he has that she ought to get an extra half egg as well.   The boy gives her what she ordered and finds that he has sold all his eggs.  He has no eggs left and he did not break eggs during any of the sales.   If eggs are $1.20 a dozen, how much money did the farmers boy make from this day's sale of eggs?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

2 pan balance scale & weights

     A merchant has a store in which everything in the place weighs in exact pounds.   Nothing in his store weighs more than 40 lb. and he wants to be able to weigh anything he has with only a two pan balance scale and some weights.   Weights are expensive so he wants to get the fewest number of them that he can to use on his scale. If weights cost $10 each, regardless of how heavy they are, What is the least amount of money he must spend ?  What is the individual value, in pounds, of each of the weights he bought?

(menu)
 



Squares on a checker board

    Envision a chess board layout. Eight squares across, and eight squares up and down. However you can make more squares than 64 from a chess board, if you do not restrict yourself to the smallest size. How many individual squares of ANY size can be  found on a chess board?

(hint, the board itself is one gigantic square)

(menu)
 



 

 

 

Stroke of midnight

     A particular grandfather's clock takes 15 seconds to strike 6 o'clock.  How long would it take that very same clock to strike 12 o'clock?  

   (the 6 hour time interval between 6 & 12 has nothing to do with the problem)

(menu)
 


 

 

Coin dated 12 BC

     Imagine you pick up the paper and read that somebody found a very old coin bearing the date 12 BC.. What would you say is the closest to the value of a coin carrying the date, "12 BC"?       a.  $1,      b. $1,000,     c. $10,000 or   d. $100,000

(menu)
 


Prisoner's last statement

   A man was condemned to die and was given a chance to make a last statement of ten words or less.  He was also told that if the statement was true, he would be hanged until dead.   However if the statement was false, then his execution would be by decapitation.   The prisoner being a slick operator made his statement and was released to go free.   What did he say?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

10 stacks of gold coins

     You are given 10 stacks of gold coins and a scale to weigh them.   You are told that one stack of coins is counterfeit and that each coin in that stack weighs 1 gram more or 1 gram less than the normal coin weight, of 20 gm.   What is the minimum number of times you must put some coins on the scale to determine which stack has the counterfeit coins and positively identify if they are heavier or lighter than the real ones?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

Nine men shaking hands

     If nine men in a room all shook hands with each other only one time, how many hand shakes would this total?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

The dog, the wolf and the bear

   Imagine that a dog can eat a lamb in only 60 minutes.  Imagine further that a wolf can eat a lamb twice as fast as a dog.   Lets further discover that a bear can eat a lamb twice as fast as the dog and the wolf combined.   How long would it take all three animals, eating the lamb at the same time, to devour it ?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

Bricks

     Here is one for those of you who still remember your algebra.  If a brick weighs three quarters of a pound, plus three quarters of a brick, how many pounds do 3 bricks weigh?

 

(menu)
 


 

 

 

$1.15 in pocket and can't make change.

     Pete asks Tom if he has any money and Tom says, "Yeah, I got a half dozen coins in my pocket.".    "Oh great", says Pete, "How much you got?".    Tom looks at his coins and says, "I have $1.15 in change here".   "Wonderful !", says Pete, "Give me change for a buck will you?".   Tom looks and says, he is sorry but he does not have change for a buck.  "OK then give me change for a 50 cent piece?",  says Pete.   Tom looks again and says, "Sorry bud, no can do.".   Pete then asks change for a quarter, with the same results, and then a dime, and then a nickel, and in each case, Tom can not make the correct change.   What are the coins that Tom has in his pocket?  

(this is normal present day American currency, no trick)

 

(menu)
 



 

 

 

The hat with the feather

     If a hat, with a feather in it, cost $11.00 and the hat is worth $10.00 more than the feather, how much is the Feather worth all by itself ?

(menu)
 



 

 

 

12 spheres and a  2 pan balance

     You are given 12 spheres that have identical physical dimensions except one of them is either heavier or lighter than the other 11.   Given a two pan balance scale but no weights, using only 3 weighings, total, can you find the odd ball and accurately state if it is heavy or light?

(menu)
 


 

Fresh Sardines

     An item you will never see in a sea food market is "Fresh Sardines", like you can get fresh salmon or fresh trout.   Why is it that you can never find "fresh sardines"


(menu)
 


 

 

Powerless Queens

     Picture a chess board and imagine that you have 8 queens to place on the board.   Can you arrange the 8 queens on a chess board so that no queen has any other queen under attack?


(try it with checkers, making believe they are queens)

(menu)
 


 

Sailor on a rope

     A sailor who weighs 150 lb. is hanging on a rope.  The rope goes over a huge frictionless pulley and comes down again, ending only 6 feet away from the sailor.   On the other end of the rope is tied a 150 lb. weight.   The two are dangling from  opposite ends of the same rope that goes over the big pulley, and both are the same distance from the ground.   If the sailor climbs the rope, what will happen to the weight?   Will it go up, down, or stay where it is?

(menu)
 

 

 

Gallon of coins

     Picture a gallon glass jars full of coins. Now think of only one kind of coin in the jar, like nickels, or dimes, etc..    Which is worth more a gallon of dimes, a gallon of quarters or a gallon of fifty cent pieces?

(menu)
 


 

How cold is it?

     If the temperature this morning was zero degrees Celsius and it is expected to be twice as cold tomorrow, then what will the temperature be tomorrow ?

(menu)
 



 

Mind Control

     This is a very clever little game but you must not peek ahead of time at the answers.   Remember now, you may spoil the trick if you peek.   Ready?


1.  Think of  any number and write it down on a piece of paper.
2.  Now double that number by adding it to itself.
3.  Next add 8 to the answer in #2 and then divide by two.
4.  From the answer in #3, subtract your original number (the one you first thought of)
5.  The number that is left must now be converted to a letter.  a=1, b=2, c=3, and so on...   Each number       will have a letter  that it represents.  If the number is higher  than 26 then subtract 26 and use the       remainder.
6.  Think of a European Country that begins with the letter you have just converted from your  number.       And  write that name on a piece of paper as well.
7.  Think of a large animal that starts with the 2nd letter in the name of the country you just wrote down,      and write that on your paper also.
8.  Now think of the general color of that animal you just wrote down and write that  color on the paper      too.

    That is all.   Now if you look at your paper you should have a color, the name of a country, the name of      a large animal.   Concentrate hard on these three items for 10 seconds and then click here

(menu)
 

 

Spider & the Fly



     At left you see a room that is 30 feet long, from end to end.  It is 12 feet wide and the ceiling is 12 feet high.   A spider sits on one end wall, eying a fly asleep on the opposite wall.   Both the spider and the fly are in the center of the wall except the fly is 1 foot off the floor and the spider is 1 foot off the ceiling.   The spider wants to eat the fly but she is out of silk and can not drop down on her web. She must walk there all the way, on the inner surface of the room to do it.   What is the shortest distance that the 
spider has to walk to get to the fly?
(Hint: the answer is less than 42 feet)
 

 

(menu)

 

 

 

 

Draining the Vat

     There is a large vat  full of liquid.  This vat has three spigots  which can drain the vat completely, at different rates.   The first spigot measures 1 inch inside diameter and if left open will drain the entire contents of the vat in 24 hours.   There are two other spigots in the bottom of this same vat and they measure 2 inchs inside diameter and 4 inchs inside diameter.   If all three spigots are opened at one time, how long will it take to drain the vat?


(menu)

 

 

 

 

 

The Book Worm

     There is a three volume set of books sitting on a book shelf in the normal fashion.   The covers of these books are 1/8" thick and the thickness of all the pages in each volume measures 1 inch.    A book worm starts on the first page of volume one and eats his way all the way to the last page in volume three.   How far did the book worm travel through books?


(menu)
 


 

 

Dip and Slice

     Imagine a cube that measures 3 inches on each side, hanging from a string over a paint can.  Now dip the cube into the paint and allow it to dry.  Now, the next step is to cut this painted cube into 27 equal sized cubes.   You will notice that different pieces from different places within the cube have different painted surfaces.  Some have three faces painted, some two, and some only one.  How many pieces have no paint on them at all?

(menu)

 


 
 

 


Drilling the cube

     Imagine you have a cube that measures two inches in all directions and you want to drill a hole through the cube. You want to make the hole as large as possible without making the cube break into separate pieces, so you will keep the hole 1/10 of an inch smaller than the maximum theoretical size.   What is the largest diameter hole that can be bored through a cube that measures 2 inches on every side?

 

 


 
 

 


Dividing the figure

    Draw a square of any size and divide it into quarters. Remove the lower left piece of this figure and you are left with a sort of an " L " shaped figure.  Now divide this resulting figure into four equal parts.   What do they look like?

(menu)
 
 

(back to home page)

 
 

 


7 Children

    A woman has seven children, half of them are boys. How is this possible?

 

(menu)
 
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


The heavier load

    A farmer and his hired hand were unloading grain from the truck. The farmer carried one sack of grain, and the helper carried two sacks. Who carried the heavier load, and why ?

 

(menu)
 
 

(back to home page)

 

 


The Carnival Booth

    A boy stopped at a booth at a carnival and the man at the both told the boy, "If I can write your exact weight on a piece of paper then you must give me 50 cents, and if I cannot then I will give you 50 cents."   The boy, spotting no scales in the area, agreed to the wager thinking that what ever the guy writes, he will say it is wrong and the man could not prove it.  However the boy ended up paying the man the 50 cents. Explain how this is possible?

 

(menu)
 
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


Running the race

    If you were running a race, and you passed the person in second place, what place would you be in now?

 

(menu)
 
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


What does Elizabeth drink

    George, Hellen, and Steve are drinking coffee. Burt, Karen, and Dave are drinking milk. Using logic, is Elizabeth drinking Coffee or Milk?

 

(menu)
 
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 

 


Backward cheese

    What kind of cheese is made backwards ?

 

(menu)
 
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


Spelling Candy

    The word candy can be spelled using just two letters, can you figure out how ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


Predicting Scores

   Andre bets Jorge $100 that he can predict the score of a hockey game before it starts.  Jorge takes the bet and Andre writes down the score on a piece of paper which Jorge can't see yet.   After the game, Jorge is handed the paper and he loses his money to Andre.  Why did Jorge lose the bet and had to pay Andre?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


What comes next

    What are the next three letters in this poser: o, t, t, f, f, s, s, _, _, _?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 

 


Names in common

    What do these three have in common, Superman, Moses, the Cabbage Patch Kids?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


Two Jugs of water

    Assume you have two, one gallon plastic jugs filled with water.  (Originally they contained milk..) In one jug the water comes from a stream near your cabin and the other jug contains water you brought from the city.   You have a small, empty rain barrel and you want to place the contents of the jugs into the barrel but you do not want them to mix together.   With out using any dividers, nor the original plastic jugs how can you transfer the contents of the jugs to the barrel and still be able to tell from which jug the individual quantities of water in the barrel came ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 


Striking Them out

    In a major league baseball game a pitcher faced 27 batters. Every batter he faced, he struck out, he allowed No hits and No runs yet his team lost 4 to zero. How can this be?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 

 


Three sequential dates

    Can you name three consecutive dates without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 

 


Measuring the Wine

    There is a wine barrel sitting in the middle of the room.   The barrel has no lid, and Looking into the barrel, Curley says, "Hey, this barrel is less than half full."  To which Moe replied, "Oh, no it is more than half full."   Without using any measuring implements or removing any wine from the barrel, how can they determine who is correct ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 

 


Shot Between the Eyes

    A man walks into his bathroom and shoots himself right between the eyes, using a real gun with real bullets and walks out alive with no blood any where. How did he do this ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 

 

 


Sides on a circle

    How many sides does a circle have ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

 


Sorting Fruits

    Which does not belong in this group of fruits and why, apple, grape, banana, cherry, pear ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 


Measuring out 4 gallons

    You are standing by a river with a five gallon and a three gallon jug. You need exactly four gallons of water.   How can you measure exactly four gallons using only these two containers ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

 


The Silent Parrot

    "I guarantee", said the salesman in the pet store, "That this parrot will repeat every word he hears.".   The excited customer then bought the bird but soon discovered that it would not utter a single word.   None the less, what the salesman had said was true, how can this be?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

 


Crossing the River safely

    You are standing on the bank of a river with a fox, a chicken and a bag of grain. You have a canoe that will only hold you and one other item at any one time, and you want to cross the river with all your goods intact. If you leave the fox alone with the chicken, the fox will eat her.   If you leave the grain with the chicken then the grain will get eaten. How do you get them all over with out losing any of your goods?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

 


Shifting the number values

     Here is an exercise in stretching you logic to function under alternate numerical systems. The question is:  If half of five were three, what would one third of ten be ?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

Done to a "T"

What word starts with T, ends with T and has T in it?

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

6 letter word

I know a word, 6 letters it contains. Take away one and 12 remains. What is the word?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

Name that Child

Tom's parents have four children, nickle, dime, and quarter. What is the name of the fourth child?

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

Add two letters

What word becomes shorter when you add 2 letters to it?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

Four letter words

What is The only four letter English word that ends in "eny"?

(menu)
 

(back to home page)
 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Girls with Seven Packs

There are 7 girls on a bus.  Each girl has 7 back packs and in each back pack are 7 big cats.  For every big cat there are 7 little cats.  How many legs are on the bus?

 

(menu)
 

(back to home page)

 

 































 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Impossible Problems

These will drive you

NUTS !

(menu)


 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Click here and Send me the name of the question, i'll send you back the answer

Or, if you are really a puzzler, you can find a link to the answers here on this page some where.   If you find the link then you will be able to access all the answers that i have published so far.   But finding the link is easier said than done, even though i left it out in plain sight for all to see.

 
 

  (menu)



(home)