Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Socks Lost in the Laundry

Harry was tired of losing his socks and not being able to match them in the morning.  He was also tired of folding them, after all what's the point. So he decided he needed a new system.  He decided to go shopping and buy only three types of socks (a man needs some variety).

He ended up with eight pairs of white socks, 9 pairs of black socks and 11 pairs of blue socks, all of which he then stuffed in his top drawer.  The next morning, he opened up the drawer and realied he couldn't see which color was which (it was still dark out). 

Since he got up before his wife, he couldn't turn on the light and see what was in the drawer.  The next morning, he was trying to figure out how many socks he had to pull out in order to ensure he would get a match before heading into the bathroom and turning on the light. 

What would be the minimum number of socks that he needs to take with him to ensure he gets a match?


  1. if he really wanted matching socks he would have to take twenty two sock out then for sure one would have to be a pair I think, I randomly guessed that because of the eleven pairs of whatever colored socks that was, there wasn't to much logic for me choosing that, but if he was smart he'd just pick two socks and wear shoes over them, no one would ever no! believe me, i've worn some pretty strange looking socks before where my shoes hid them :P

  2. four socks. If he only pulled 2 or three, he could potentially have socks that are all different colors. If he gets 4, one of them will have to be the same as one of the first three.

  3. I'm with Bonnie. He could theoretically pull one white, one black, and one blue, so the fourth one would have to match one of them.

  4. Four socks. The first three could all be different, but the fourth will have to match one of them.

  5. Four socks. Once you take out three the next one has to match one of the three you have in your hand already. I was about to do this in a really complicated mathematically way and then I realized I didn't have to.

  6. Keep the socks in a basket in the bathroom. Problem solved!

  7. 4 socks - but really if he balled them into pairs he would have no problem - just grab the first one that comes to hand!


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