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"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!


Number two is a little outdated. I thought, well, there's no use setting clocks until the electricity comes back on, and when it does, your computer which is hooked to the internet will tell you what time it is. Or he set the time on his cell phone while he was at Amy's house. Or maybe Brian is wearing a watch. Or for goodness' sake, there may actually be a clock in the house somewhere that isn't electronic. Besides, he should have just called Amy.
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So while it is not in the spirit of such brain teasers and it is already known clowns violate the laws of physics with their little cars, I found thinking about the answer to the clown juggling the bricks a bit amusing:

Assuming you have a bridge that fails at exactly 150 pounds of force, and that we can ignore that when walking you create forces on the ground greater than your weight (maybe the clown is riding an ultra-light weight unicycle), you still need a force to throw a brick in the air. If you have 2 pounds of force to work with, you can fling a one pound brick upward with the same acceleration as it would normally fall down with, which means no matter how high you throw, it would spend as much time in your hands as in the air (and would require long, long arms to throw really high). So with perfect coordination and timing, you could juggle two such bricks, but would not have any spare time or force to throw a third.

Now this ignores air resistance, as for a dense gold brick, it would be pretty small effect, and symmetry of the brick means it would be about the same on both the way up and down. Although if one were to hammer it into a flat sheet (stopping before reaching gold leaf... as for 1 lb that would be a square 40 ft to a side), you could fold it into something like a paper airplane though that can be thrown up quickly, but takes a long time to fall. But if you are going to do that, you can easily just make the gold into a wire long enough such that less than half of it is on the bridge at any given time while dragging behind you, assuming it doesn't just fly like a kite in a breeze.

My preferred solution though: Rip the sign off the bridge and hope that the sign weighed more than a pound.
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2 is dumb, 5 is wrong, he should have dragged them across with a light string, 6 is weird, i said its because they were IN the bus, not ON it. 8 is kinda dumb too, i said the anchor because in addition to moving with the boat, it has to also move downward to the sea floor
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Number 2 lacks some important information..... but it may be possible if the clock is set to work before he leaves the house, and it can be assumed that it takes exactly the same time get to Amy's house as returning back home from Amy...
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Um the answer for #10 is Two not four -

The female is a mother to a child, sister to a sibling, daughter to her parents, niece to her aunt or uncle, aunt to her siblings kids, and cousin of the other person in the car who is the son of her aunt / uncle, father to a child, brother to his sibling, uncle to his sibling's children, nephew of his cousin's parent.

Two people... not four.
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5: Our brave clown, about to cross a bridge so dangerous that another kilogram of weight would cause its collapse, not just by calmly walking but juggling, and with a blatant disregard for Newtown's Third Law of Motion, when he realises at least one of:

a) I've been had! There's no way a gold brick would weigh only a pound. A gold brick should be a struggle to throw let alone juggle three.
b) I doubt I can accurately juggle these gold 'bricks', since, being a pound each and given the density of gold, I now notice that they are each smaller than a cube 3cm long.
c) Given the current price of gold at $1,563 per troy ounce, my three pounds of gold is worth almost $US70,000. Why am I not at a bank. Also, what did I just do to earn $US70,000?

6: Remember when you were a kid, and a friend said he'd give you ten bucks if you did something, and when you did, he punched you ten times, because all along he meant "bucks" in the sense of "punches"? Remember how you thought that was "impressive" and "clever" and how you didn't think it was "annoying" or "cheating"? Yeah, me neither. Generally, puzzles should not be capable of being described as "technically not lies".
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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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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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