A man told his son that he would give him $1000 if he could accomplish the following task. The father gave his son ten envelopes and a thousand dollars, all in one dollar bills. He told his son, "Place the money in the envelopes in such a manner that no matter what number of dollars I ask for, you can give me one or more of the envelopes, containing the exact amount I asked for without having to open any of the envelopes. If you can do this, you will keep the $1000."
When the father asked for a sum of money, the son was able to give him envelopes containing the exact amount of money asked for. How did the son distribute the money among the ten envelopes?
The contents or the ten envelopes (in dollar bills) hould be as follows: $1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 489. The first nine numbers are in geometrical progression, and their sum, deducted from 1,000, gives the contents of the tenth envelope.
You have two lengths of rope. Each rope has the property that if you light it on fire at one end, it will take exactly 60 minutes to burn to the other end. Note that the ropes will not burn at a consistent speed the entire time (for example, it's possible that the first 90% of a rope will burn in 1 minute, and the last 10% will take the additional 59 minutes to burn).
Given these two ropes and a matchbook, can you find a way to measure out exactly 45 minutes?
The key observation here is that if you light a rope from both ends at the same time, it will burn in 1/2 the time it would have burned in if you had lit it on just one end.
Using this insight, you would light both ends of one rope, and one end of the other rope, all at the same time. The rope you lit at both ends will finish burning in 30 minutes. Once this happens, light the second end of the second rope. It will burn for another 15 minutes (since it would have burned for 30 more minutes without lighting the second end), completing the 45 minutes.
A woman who lived in Germany during World War II wanted to cross the German/Swiss border in order to escape Nazi pursuers. The bridge which she is to cross is a half mile across, over a large canyon. Every three minutes a guard comes out of his bunker and checks if anyone is on the bridge. If a person is caught trying to escape German side to the Swiss side they are shot. If caught crossing the other direction without papers they are sent back. She knows that it takes at least five minutes to cross the bridge, in which time the guard will see her crossing and shoot her. How does she get across?
She waits until the guard goes inside his hunt, and begins to walk across the bridge. She gets a little more than half way, turns around, and begins to walk toward the german side once more. The guard comes out, sees that she has no papers, and sends her "back" to the swiss side.
Using only and all the numbers 3, 3, 7, 7, along with the arithmetic operations +,-,*, and /, can you come up with a calculation that gives the number 24? No decimal points allowed.
[For example, to get the number 14, we could do 3 * (7 - (7 / 3))]