Thursday, July 01, 2010

Who is Driving the Bus

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives,
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits,
Kits, cats, sacks, wives,
How many were going to St. Ives?


  1. I've been to both St Ives - Cambridgeshire and Cornwall - both very pretty towns. I didn't see this polygamist and his cat cruelty though.

    There are two answers - it could either be 1 (me) or 2403 (me, the man, and his 7 to the fourth power companions). Depends if you consider he was going the other way, or we met going in the same direction.

    Either way, he should be reported to the police and the RSPCA.

  2. I would answer is 345.

    1. The driver who is the husband of 7 wives.

    7 cats in 7 sacks (sack is a non living thing so discounting it). Each cat has 7 kits.

    so this gives = 7*7*7 + 1 +1

  3. You, yourself or (me)

  4. If you "met" someone as you were going to St. Ives, logically he would be coming toward you, away from St. Ives. So the answer is 1.

  5. Just the one guy. This is also very easy if you've seen Die Hard With A Vengeance :P

  6. Just one person in the riddle is going to St Ives. The others are just people he met on the way.

    I don't remember this from Die Hard with a Vengeance? It's been a long time since I saw it.

  7. Only one person is going TO St Ives. If he met the others, they were going AWAY from St Ives. This is older than dirt!

  8. The first response could also be correct. He could have overtaken them. God knows they wouldn't be traveling very fast.

  9. Assuming the question is only asking of the aforementioned and not asking us to consider others that may happen to also be journeying to St. Ives that day;

    If the met individuals (and their cats) are going the other way then the correct answer is 1.

    Otherwise, assuming we're counting all living entities (i.e. not the sacks) AND that the man is currently with his wives and them with their sacks and so on..., the correct answer is 2753:

    1 "I"
    1 polygamist
    7 wives
    7 (wives) x 7 (sacks) x 7
    = 343 cats
    7 (wives) x 7 (sacks) x 7 cats x 7
    = 2401 kits (kittens)

    1 + 1 + 7 + 343 + 2401 = 2753


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