Brain teasers


Courtesy of Jenni Bull and Bruno Zielke.

Question Answer
A new medical building containing 100 offices has just been completed. Hardy Pyle was hired to paint the numbers 1 to 100 on the doors. How many times will Hardy have to paint the number nine? Twenty times: 9, 19, 29, 39, 49, 59, 69, 79, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99.
Two mothers and two daughters were fishing. They managed to catch one big fish, one small fish, and one fat fish. Since only three fish were caught, how is it possible that they each took home a fish? The fishing party consisted of three people. A grandmother, a mother and a daughter. The mother is both a mother and a daughter.
Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on earth? Mount Everest.
Three men checked into a hotel room for which they paid $30. The next day, the manager glanced at the records and realised that the men had been overcharged. She gave the bellhop $5 to return to the three men. On the way to their room the bellhop decided to keep $2 for himself, and give each of the three men $1. The three men had now paid $9 each, or a total of $27. This, plus the $2 the bellhop kept makes a total of $29. What happened to the other dollar? Nothing! It’s one of those strange things about the way it is added. If added sequentially it looks like this: The hotel collected $25, the three men were each given $1 back, and the bellhop kept the $2. The total now comes to $30.
What occurs once in every minute, twice in every moment, yet never in a thousand years? The letter M.
A man rides into town on Friday. He stays for three days and leaves on Friday. How is this so? ‘Friday’ was the name of the man’s horse.
At 7am, a train moving 90kph leaves Melbourne heading for Adelaide. At 8am, a train running 110kph leaves Adelaide heading for Melbourne. Which train will be closest to Melbourne when they meet? When they meet, they will be in the same spot.
Pete Polyester, a door-to-door salesman, was selling a high tech car wax that he claimed was harder than steel. Pete offered one container for $19 or two for $33. He said that his profit was the same either way and, since these were his last two containers, he simply wanted the quick sale. If we take Pete’s word for his profit margin, what must each container of wax cost him? $14. Since Pete makes no extra profit on the second container, he must be selling it at cost. The difference between $19 and $33 is $14.
Which is correct to say, “The yolk of the egg are white” or “The yolk of the egg is white”? Neither. The yolk of the egg is yellow.
Clem and Joe work in a coal mine. At the end of the day, Clem and Joe come out of the mine and bid each other farewell for the night. Clem’s face is dirty and Joe’s face is clean. As Clem and Joe set out for home, Joe wipes his face and Clem doesn’t bother. Since both men appreciate cleanliness, why doesn’t Clem clean his face? Joe has a clean face but, when he looks at Clem and sees how dirty his face is, he assumes his face is also dirty, so he wipes it. Clem sees that Joe’s face is clean, so he assumes his face is also clean, so he doesn’t do anything.
Even if they are starving, explorers in the Arctic will never eat a penguin’s egg. Why not? There aren’t any penguins in the Arctic. They are native only to the southern hemisphere.
Neon Slick and Ari Gant were driving along a deserted country road from the town of Proton to the town of Micron. It wasn’t until they came to a multiple fork in the road that they faced problems. The sign post had been knocked down and they were faced with choosing one of five different directions. Since they did not have a map and there was no one around to ask, how could Neon and Ari find their way to Micron? They need only stand the signpost up so that the arm reading Proton points in the direction of Proton, the town where they had just come. With one arm pointing in the right direction, the others will also be pointing in the right direction.
Hardy Pyle was washing windows on a high-rise office building when he slipped and fell off a sixty foot ladder onto the concrete sidewalk below. Incredibly, he did not injure himself in any way. How was this possible? He was standing on the bottom rung.
Professor Quantum lives in Ballarat. He drove to Melbourne one morning to give a lecture. When Quantum finished the lecture, he got in his car and continued driving in the same direction that he drove earlier, and yet he managed to be home in Ballarat by nightfall. How is this possible? Although Professor Quantum lives in Ballarat, he did not leave from Ballarat that morning. He was staying at a hotel that was east of Melbourne. He got in his car and drove west to Melbourne, gave his lecture, and then continued driving west to Ballarat.
Hans and Fritz are German spies during World War II. They try to enter the United States, posing as returning tourists. Hans is immediately arrested. When crossing the border, Hans and Fritz were both required to fill out a personal information form, which asked, among other things, their birthdays. Fritz was born on 7th July 1915, so he wrote down 7/7/15 – no problem. Hans was born on 20th July 1915, so he wrote down 20/7/15. But, whilst the German date ordering is day/month/year, the American way is month/day/year. So, the border police knew that Hans was not American and arrested him.
Two farmers, Clem Walton and John Brown, were discussing their farms. Clem said to John, “My property is a kilometre square.” John looked at Clem and said, “As a matter of fact, mine is a square kilometre.” “Then there is no difference,” replied Clem. Is Clem’s last statement correct? No. Whilst there is no difference in area between their two properties, there may be a drastic difference in shape. A kilometre square cannot be anything other than square. A square kilometre, however, may be any shape. The term ‘square kilometre’ simply states a unit of area, but does not describe any form or shape.
A man named David was out for a walk when it started to rain. He did not have an umbrella and he wasn’t wearing a hat. His clothes were soaked, yet not a hair on his head got wet. How could this happen? The man named David is completely bald.
A man left home one morning. He turned right and ran straight ahead. Then he turned left. After a while, he turned left again, running faster than ever. Then he turned left once more and decided to go home. In the distance he could see two masked men waiting for him. Who were they? The man himself was a baseball player. The two masked men were the umpire and the other team’s catcher.
Based on the laws of the U.S. Constitution, there are five requirements a person must meet in order to become President of the United States. The candidates: must be at least 35 years old; must be a citizen of the United States; must have resided in the United States for at least 14 years; and must have been born in the United States. There is one more requirement. What is it? The person must be elected.
Acting on an anonymous phone call, the police raided a house to arrest a suspected murderer. They don’t know what he looks like but they know that his name is John. Inside they find a carpenter, a lorry driver, a car mechanic, a fireman and a member of Nillumbik U3A. Without even asking his name, they immediately arrest the fireman, How do they know that they have got their man? All the other people were women.
There are six glasses in a row. The left hand three are filled with orange juice and the right hand three are empty. By moving only one glass, can you arrange them so that the full and empty glasses alternate? Pour the juice from the second glass into the fifth.
There was once a recluse who never left his home. The only time that anyone visited him was when his food and supplies were delivered, but they never came inside. Then, one stormy night when an icy gale was blowing, he had a nervous breakdown. He went upstairs, turned off the lights and went to bed. Next morning, he had caused the deaths of several hundred people. How? The recluse lived in a lighthouse.
There are 6 eggs in a basket. 6 people each take 1 egg. How can it be that 1 egg is left in the basket? The last person took the basket with the egg in it.