Brain Teasers

- wadE

I love brain teasers! I love trying to solve these weird, complex, and sometimes silly problems. I hope you do too!

I've included a good long list of some of my favorites...enough to keep your mind off work for a few days.

Email me with your answers, and I will be more than happy to let you know if you are right or wrong.

A couple of these brain teasers are very hard, and normally a person is allowed to ask 20 yes/no questions (or guesses) to get to the answer. I'll mark those teasers with a “¿20?”. So, send in your questions and I'll be your guide on your quest for enlightenment!


A farmer was asked; "How many cows do you have?"

To which he replied; "When they are in line there are two cows ahead of a cow, two cows behind a cow, and one in the middle."

How many cows does the farmer have?


There is this guy named Sidney. Sidney owns an apartment building on the lower east side. He lives in the penthouse on the top floor. However, during the week he has a normal day job.

Monday morning Sidney gets up, takes the elevator to the first floor, he goes outside, gets in his car, and drives to work. At the end of the day, he arrives back at the apartment building. He goes inside, gets in the elevator, rides half way to the top, gets out, and takes the stairs the rest of the way.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...same thing...

On Friday he gets up, goes down the first floor, he goes outside, gets in his car, and drives to work. After work he picks up his girlfriend, they go out for dinner and a movie, they go back to his place, they get in the elevator and ride it up to the top floor.

On Saturday morning they both get up and ride down to the first floor. Sidney takes his girlfriend home, he then comes back to his apartment building, he rides the elevator half way up, gets out, and takes the stairs the rest of the way.


Where can you throw a baseball, such that no matter how hard you throw it, it will always come back to you?

You stand on one side of a gorge and on the other side lies three priceless diamonds, weighing 5 pounds each. The only way across this wide gorge is a suspension bridge. However, this bridge is so old that it can only support your weight plus 12 pounds, and you can only make one round trip. The gorge is too wide for you to throw the diamonds across, or to roll them across the bridge. Using no other implements, how do you get all three diamonds back to your side?

You have three barrels of fruit: apples only, oranges only, and apples and oranges together. Each one is labeled (a, o, or a&o), but labeled incorrectly. You can neither see inside these barrels, nor can you feel, smell, taste, hear inside these barrels. As a matter of fact, the only way you can tell what fruit is in what barrel is to stick this pitchfork that you happen to be holding into ONE barrel ONE time and pick up ONLY ONE fruit. From this fruit, you should be able to determine what kind of fruit is in each barrel. Also, remember to account for all permutations.

Inside of a room with no windows and only one door are three lights, each of identical color, wattage, intensity, etc. The only way in or out of this room is through a closed door, which does not allow light to pass through, under, etc. There are three light switches located outside of the room and not in a direct line of sight to the door/room. Each switch controls one light, but you don't know which controls which. Given the fact that you may only open the door and enter the room once, and that you have no special tools (mirrors, wire cutters, magnets, etc.), and that you only have an hour to solve this, how can you determine which switch operates which bulb?

What is the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space; the beginning of every end and the end of every place?


There was a woman traveling down a country road late at night in an old 1943 Dodge truck. The truck broke down, and she could not fix it. She walked to the nearest house. It was a large old house that was in disrepair. She knocked on the door, and a man answered. She explained to him what happened, and he told her that at that hour, there would be no one awake to help her. He then offered her a room for the night, and in the morning they could get someone to repair her car. She accepted. She walked in, he lead her up a long wide staircase, and then down a long hall to a bedroom door. He opened the door, she walked in, he closed the door behind her and walked away, she put her suitcase on the bed, then walked to the closet. She then opened the door, looked inside, and she knew she would die that night.


What is the one word (non name) in the english language that has the letters UFA in it, in that order?

A young pilot is shot down in North Korea and is captured by the enemy. He is taken to the leader of the other army, who tells him the following:

"Although you have killed many of my men, I can see you are a soldier of honor. As a result, I will give you a chance to earn your freedom. You may make one and only one statement (not an opinion, not a question). If the statement is true, you will be shot. If the statement is false, you will be hanged."

The man thinks for a minute, tells the leader one statement and the leader lets him go free.

What did he say?

To answer this question, assume that the leader can discern truth and falsehood (i.e., the man cannot say something which can be neither proven nor disproven, such as I believe in God).

How do you connect five dots such that each dot is touched by only two lines, and each line only passes through two dots.

A woman goes into a hardware store╣after explaining to the man behind the counter what she wants, he says: You can buy seven for $4, seventy-nine for $8, and 798 for $12

What is she trying to buy?

A mean king likes to play pranks on his subjects, so one day, he rounds up three prisoners and blindfolds them. He (actually, his guards) then leads them to a circular tower, where he chains them all, from head to toe, to a wall, where each has an unrestricted view of the other two. He then declares:

"I have five hats. Three of which are red, two are blue. I have placed three of these hats, one on each of your heads, but you don't know what color you are wearing. I will take off the blindfolds simultaneously and you all have sixty seconds for one of you to deduce what color hat you are wearing based on what you see and what you know and vocalize this. It's not that easy. There is to be no verbal or nonverbal communication amongst any of you - failure to comply is death to all. The first thing spoken must be the correct answer, else death to all. Last, failure for anyone to speak within the time period also results in death to everyone."

With that, he orders the guards to whip off all blindfolds and the count begins. How would you, if you were one of the prisoners, figure out definitively what color hat you are wearing?

What goes up and down, but doesn't move?

...and lastly, my favorite.

Bono is "Edged" out for the fastest time across the catwalk.

U2 is late for a concert. The only way for them to get to the stage from their dressing room is to cross a long, rickety, dangerous old catwalk. This catwalk is so old that no more than two can cross at a time or it will collapse; it is also so dark that a flashlight must be used to cross. The band only has one flashlight and the catwalk is so long they can╬t throw the flashlight back across, it must be walked back to the other side. Each member of the band walks at a different speed. The Edge takes 1 minute to cross the catwalk, Bono take 2 minutes to cross, Adam Clayton takes 5 minutes, and Larry Mullen Jr. takes 10 minutes. When crossing, band members travel at the slowest speed of whomever is crossing.

The concert starts in 17 minutes. Can U2 make it to their concert on time?

- 08/09/2002

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