Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome Back

  • There are 12 balls.
  • 11 of the balls weigh the same.
  • 1 of the balls is either heavier or lighter than the rest.
  • You have an unmarked balance scale.
Using the scale only 3 times, determine which ball is different and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Travel

What with the holiday, I'll be gone until next week. In the meantime, if you're looking for some good brain teasers, puzzles and riddles, take a look around. I'll be leaving you all with some Thanksgiving trivia and I hope you all have a good week!

By the fall of 1621, only half of the Pilgrims who had traveled here on the Mayflower were still alive. In Thanksgiving for their survival, the remaining Pilgrims invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to their feast.

The Pilgrim leader at the time was Governor William Bradford, and it was he who organized the original Thanksgiving. Around 90 Wampanoag Indians and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, attended the festival. The feast lasted three days.

The first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation was made by President George Washington in the year 1789. He issued another in 1795.  Other Presidents would make proclamations through the years setting aside a certain date for giving thanks and prayers.

New York, the state, made Thanksgiving an annual custom in 1817. Sarah Joseph Hale started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827. In 1863, a Thanksgiving Proclamation was created by Abraham Lincoln on the third of October. He was the first to officially set aside the last Thursday of November for the national holiday.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an effort to extend the Christmas shopping season, restored Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving Day in 1939. He was hoping to stimulate the economy.

In 1941, Congress passed an official proclamation declaring the fourth Thursday of November every year will be observed as a legal holiday.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rebus Help

I received an e-mail asking for help with the following rebus. Can you figure them out?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Can You Think of a Word That Starts With XYZ

Add three letters to the beginning of the five words below to form five new words. The three letters added have to be the same three letters (for instance, if you determine xyz are the three letters, then each of the five new words must start with xyz).


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Hope He Can Afford It

A man is buying a gold ring set with stones for his wife on her birthday. A ring set with 4 amethysts and 1 diamond comes to US$2,000. One with 3 emeralds, 1 amethyst and 1 diamond would be US$1,400. And one set with 2 rubies and 1 diamond would cost US$3,000. Being a thoughtful husband, he choses a ring with 4 stones, each representing one of their 4 children.
As their children are named Andy, David, Ellen, and Richard, how much in US$ will the ring containing 1 amethyst, 1 diamond, 1 emerald, and 1 ruby cost him?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What About Gilligan and the Skipper?

Similar to yesterday:

You overhear a conversation between a professor and his teaching assistant. They are talking about a course they are running with just three students.

Professor: The product of the ages of the students in our class is 2450 and the sum of their ages is twice your age. Can you tell me how old they are?
Assistant: (After thinking for a little while) No.
Professor: I'll let you in on a secret. I am older than all of them, and now you can answer the question.
Assistant: (Even though he does not know how old the professor is, he thinks for a bit, smiles, and says) Yes I can.

Given that all of the ages involved are integers (whole numbers), how old is the professor

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

House Kids

At a party you overhear another guest asking the age of the hosts' 3 children. The host tells the guest that the product of his kids' ages is 72 and the sum of their ages is the same as the guest's house number.

Now, the other guest obviously knows her own house number but, after thinking for a bit, she is forced to ask the host for additional information. The host then says that his oldest child likes strawberry ice cream and the other guest is able to say their ages.

Even though you don't know the guest's house number, you have enough information.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Playing With the Queen of Hearts

Two identical packs of 52 cards A and B are shuffled thoroughly. One card is picked from A and shuffled with B. The top card from pack A is turned up. If this is the Queen of Hearts, what are the chances that the top card in B will be the King of Hearts?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Draw Three

Below there are sixteen numbers. Assuming that any three of the numbers may be drawn at random, what are the chances that three numbers will be drawn whose sum equals six?

1 2 3 1
2 3 1 2
3 1 2 3
1 2 3 1

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Kind of Hat Do You Look Best In?

You are presented you with 3 identically looking hats. In the 1st hat there are 2 white balls, in the 2nd hat there is 1 white ball and 1 black ball, and in the 3rd hat there is 2 black balls. You are blindfolded and (without peeking) you reach into one of the hats and pull out a ball.

If the ball is black, what are the chances of you reaching back into the same hat and finding that the remaining ball in the hat is black.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All I Want is the Candy

You and a friend pass by a standard coin operated vending machine and you decide to get a candy bar. The price is 95 cents but after checking your pockets you only have a dollar and the machine only takes coins.

You turn to your friend and have this conversation.

You: Hey, do you have change for a dollar?
Friend: Let's see... I have 6 US coins but, although they add up to $1.15, I can't break a dollar.
You: Well, can you make change for half a dollar?
Friend: No.
You: How about a quarter?
Friend: Nope. And before you ask I can't make change for a dime or nickel either.
You: Really? And these 6 coins are all US government coins currently in production?
Friend: Yes.
You: Well can you just put your coins into the vending machine and buy me the candy bar, and I'll pay you back?
Friend: Sorry, I'd like to but I can't with the coins I have.

What coins does your friend have?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nine Letters

Find the two nine-letter antonyms using the letters below:


Monday, November 09, 2009

But How Fuel Efficient Are They?

Two cars start from point A at the same time and drive around a circuit more than one mile in length.  While they are driving laps around the circuit, each car must maintain a steady speed.  One car is faster than the other and will pass the other car at certain points.  The first pass occurs 150 yards from point A.

At what distance from A will one car pass the other again?

Friday, November 06, 2009

But Nothing is Ever Missing

ASIDE: For those of you who like twitter better than RSS or e-mail, I've created a twitter account that will twit out when a new post is made here.  You can now follow Question of the Day by following the link.

OK, back to the question.

"There's a mystery in the office, and I just can't seem to make heads or tails of it," Mary said as she sat down for her normal Monday lunch with Inspector Joseph.

Inspector Joseph immediately perked up.  "What kind of mystery?"

"Well, it's the strangest thing.  But let's start at the beginning."

"As you know, we have three workers in the office, there to handle the mail, billing and bookkeeping.  Alice has been there for years and has always been reliable.  She has a bit of a drinking problem and a husband who... well, let's just say he has his own problems."

"Barbara is new.  She worked in Alaska before coming here, and we're still waiting on her records."

"Our third worker is Clarence.  Ever since the new casino boat opened up ... Well, I don't want to point fingers, but there have been some minor irregularities in our petty cash."

"But, here's the mystery.  The office is closed all weekend long, every weekend.  On Monday mornings, I'm usually the first to arrive.  I open up, check the mail, turn off the alarm, etc...  I was working the alarm system three weeks back when I noticed the alarm had been shut off on Saturday.  For five minutes.  Then it got switched back on."

"I thought nothing of it at the time.  I just figured someone had forgotten something and had come back to get it." 

"But every weekend since, the same thing has happened.  The alarm gets shut off on Saturday afternoon for five minutes each time.  All three workers have the password and I've asked all three about it.  But they've all denied visiting the office."

"As I said, this has been going on for weeks now.  Nothing is missing or changed.  I've checked the petty cash box and it's always the same as it was on Friday evening.  I don't suppose any harm is done, but it's baffling."

"There could be harm," the Inspector cut in.  "I can think of one explanation, and I think we need to deal with this right away."

Whom does the inspector suspect, and why?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

You Make the Call

The two boys were home to watch the game with their dad.  Junior and Frank were in the kitchen helping their mom, Marie, put together the snacks and drinks, when Junior noticed the bruises on his mother's arms. 

"Did Dad do that to you?", Junior asked.  But his mom didn't answer. 

"What are you going to do when he retires next month and he's hanging around all the time?"  But his mother just asked him to grab the bags of potato chips and pretzels from the pantry.

"Make mine a strong one!" came her husbands shout from the living room.  Marie made up the ice, ginger ale and rye together in tall glasses. 

"Oh dear, I forgot which was which.  Taste the highballs, would you dear?" 

Frank tasted all three, almost choking on the third.  "This one has to be twice as strong as the others."

"It had better be!" his father stated as he walked into the kitchen.  "... Make me walk all the way in here..." as he grabbed his drink out of Frank's hands. 

Frank, Junior and Marie followed their father into the living room and began watching the game.  All four watched through the first quarter, munching on the snacks and drinking.  At the end of the first quarter, Frank senior held up his empty glass, "Get me another."

Marie got up and went to work on the refill.  As she worked in the kitchen, she heard a gasp, then a moan.  By the time she got back into the living room, Frank senior was dead.

"Fast acting poison," the coroner determined.  "I'm certain of it." 

The detective was at a loss, however.  "They all claim they've been eating and drinking from the same bowls and drinks.  They must be lying, covering for each other."

"Not necessarily," the coroner quickly said.

How could Frank senior have been poisoned?  And who could have done it?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Solve the Puzzle

Using the first set of words as your clue, fill in the missing word inside the parentheses below.

LISP (_ _ _ _) ETON

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

T Marks the Spot

This is a bit of an experiment.  Hopefully I can get it to work.

Find the starting point and visit each of the square to reach the 'treasure' in the middle marked with a T.

The directions can be read as: 1N:2W = 1 North, 2 West (or up on, left two).  To make the square work, I'm putting in xx if there is no second direction.  So, 2S: xx means go down two.

1S | 1S | 2S
1E | 1E |  xx
1S |  T  | 1N
xx  |  xx | 2W
1E | 2N | 2W
2N | 1E | 1N

Monday, November 02, 2009

Adjusting to the Time Difference

There are two anagrams hidden below.  They hide two phrases that are spelled differently, but sound alike.  For example: a name, an aim.

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