"Madman" Newman's Brainteasers

Every summer, Uncle John makes a pilgrimage to the Siskiyou Mountains to confer with his puzzle guru, crazy Ol' Man Newman. He came back with another collection of mind-bending logic puzzles.

1. RAPID AGING

The day before yesterday, Johnny was 9 years old. Next year he'll be 12. How is this possible?

2. TIME AFTER TIME

After a power surge disrupted all the electronic devices in Brian's house, he had to go over to Amy's to find out what time it is. After she told him, Brian walked home and set all of his clocks. Even though Brian didn't know how long it had taken him to get home, he was able to set his clocks to exactly the right time. How?

3. A BAD FLIGHT PLAN

Uncle John was about to leave on a morning flight to the World Toilet Summit when he realized he left his Bathroom readers at the BRI office. He rushed back to get them, but the night watchman said, "Do not get on that plane! I had a dream last night that it's gonna crash!" Not wanting to tempt fate, Uncle John followed the watchman's advice. Sure enough, the plane crashed. That evening, Uncle John thanked the man for saving his life, then fired him. Why?

4. STORMY WEATHER

Five men were leaving church together when it started to rain. The four who ran got wet; the fifth, who didn't move, stayed dry. How?

5. A CLOWN-UNDRUM

Plungy the Clown had just earned three gold bricks after working a kid's party. While walking home, he came to an old foot bridge. The sign said, "Weight Capacity: 150 pounds." Plungy weighs 148 pounds, the three bricks weigh one pound each. How did Plungy make it across safely in one trip with all of his gold?

6. PUZZLING BUS TRIP

A bus full of people is traveling over a bridge on its way to Las vegas. No one gets on or off, but when the bus reaches the other side, there's not a single person on the bus. How can this be possible?

7. COUNT DUCKULA

Julia and Viola were comparing their rubber ducky collections. Julia said, "If you give me one of your ducks, I will have double of what you have remaining."

Viola replied, "Oh yeah? Well, if you give me one of your ducks, then we'll both have the same amount."

How many ducks does each girl have?

8. MARITIME QUERY

Gordon sailed his sailboat, the Uncle John, across the Pacific Ocean. When he reached the coast, he asked me, "Which part of my boat traveled the longest distance?"

9. BRIGHT THINKING

One day, Thom found himself trapped in a room with two doors. Behind the first door was a room made of thick glass that would magnify the Sun's heat to fry whoever went in. Behind the second door was a fire-breathing dragon that would do the same. How did Thom escape unscathed?

10. RELATIVITY

Some people are riding in a car. They consist of a mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, and two cousins. What is the minimum number of people that can be in the car?

11. AND THEY'RE OFF!

Malcolm and Jahnna competed in a strange horse race. Whoever's horse reached the finish line last is the winner. After we waited four hours for them to go a few feet, Uncle John walked out, called them off their horses, and told them something. Immediately, Malcolm and Jahnna jumped up on the horses and rode them as fast as they could to the finish line. Uncle John swears he didn't call off the race or change the rules, so what did he tell them?

Continue reading for the answers, but try to figure them out on your own first!



Highlight the area after the title of the brainteaser you want answered.  

1. RAPID AGING

Today is January 1; Johnny's birthday is December 31. The day before yesterday he was 9, yesterday he turned ten, this year he'll turn 11, and next year he'll turn 12.

2. TIME AFTER TIME

Amy gave Brian a watch.

3. A BAD FLIGHT PLAN

By telling Uncle John about his dream, the watchman unwittingly admitted he'd been sleeping on the job.

4. STORMY WEATHER

The four men were pallbearers carrying a coffin.

5. A CLOWN-UNDRUM

Plungy juggled the bricks while walking across the bridge, keeping one in the air at all times.

6. PUZZLING BUS TRIP

They are all married.

7. COUNT DUCKULA

Julia has seven ducks; Viola has five.

8. MARITIME QUERY

Because of the curvature of the earth, the mast, which is located at the top of the sailboat, actually traveled the farthest.

9. BRIGHT THINKING

Thom waited until nighttime and then left through the magnifying-glass room.

10. RELATIVITY

Four -two adults and two children. The two adults are brother and sister, and each one of them has one of their children with them, making them mother and father as well. They are also aunt and uncle to the two children (a boy and a girl), who are cousins, and well as the nephew and niece of one of the two adults.

11. AND THEY'RE OFF!

Because the horse (not the rider) that finished last would win the race, Uncle John told Malcolm and Jahnna to get back up on each other's horses.

___________________

This article was reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Triumphant 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader.

Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!


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Unfortunately, to throw a one pound brick hard enough, so that you have enough time to deal with two other one pound bricks in the same way, takes at least three pounds of force.
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I actually came up with two, too, for a different reason: The sentence does not specify that the people in the car have the stated relationships with one another. For instance, I am a son, brother, husband, uncle, cousin, etc, even when I am alone.
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Once you start juggling, you really only have one brick in your hand at a time, as you throw one of the bricks in the air right when the one already in the air hits the highest part of the arc... so the clown really would have two pounds to play with when crossing the bridge.

Assuming he started juggling before stepping on the bridge.
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There is another way for Brian to set his clocks correctly that does not involve him receiving anything but the time from Amy. Before he leaves, he sets one of his clocks to a fixed time, such as noon. He walks to Amy's home, gets the correct time, and walks back. The clock that he set will then show, in the time since noon, the time it took him to walk to Amy's and back, which is _twice_ the time since Amy told him what time it was. By adding half of the time since noon shown on that clock to the time Amy gave him, he can set all of his clocks to the correct time.
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