Difficult riddles

logicmathshort

Magic number

Ramanujan discovered 1729 as a magic number. Why 1729 is a magic number ?
It can be expressed as the sum of the cubes of two different sets of numbers. 10^3 + 9^3 = 1729 and 12^3 + 1^3 = 1729
87.96 %
47 votes

clean

Sphinx riddle

In classic mythology, there is the story of the Sphinx, a monster with the body of a lion and the upper part of a woman. The Sphinx lay crouched on the top of a rock along the highroad to the city of Thebes, and stopped all travellers passing by, proposing to them a riddle. Those who failed to answer the riddle correctly were killed. This is the riddle the Sphinx asked the travellers: "What animal walks on four legs in the morning, two legs during the day, and three legs in the evening?"
This is part of the story of Oedipus, who replied to the Sphinx, "Man, who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff." Morning, day and night are representative of the stages of life. The Sphinx was so mortified at the solving of her riddle that she cast herself down from the rock and perished.
87.77 %
58 votes

logic

Zen Master

A new student met the Zen Master after traveling hundreds of miles by yak cart. He was understandably pleased with himself for being selected to learn at the great master's feet . The first time they formally met, the Zen Master asked, "May I ask you a simple question?" "It would be an honor!" replied the student. "Which is greater, that which has no beginning or that which has no end?" queried the Zen Master. "Come back when you have the answer and can explain why." After the student made many frustrated trips back with answers which the master quickly cast off with a disapproving negative nod, the Zen Master finally said, "Perhaps I should ask you another question?" "Oh, please do!" pleaded the exasperated student. The Zen Master then asked, "Since you do not know that, answer this much simpler riddle. When can a pebble hold back the sea?" Again the student was rebuffed time and again. Several more questions followed with the same result. Each time, the student could not find the correct answer. Finally, completely exasperated, the student began to weep, "Master, I am a complete idiot. I can not solve even the simplest riddle from you!" Suddenly, the student stopped, sat down, and said, "I am ready for my second lesson." What was the Zen Master's first lesson?
The student's first lesson was that in order to learn from the Zen Master, the student should be asking the questions and not the Zen Master.
87.46 %
45 votes

logic

Fancy restaurant

A fancy restaurant in New York was offering a promotional deal. A married couple could eat at the restaurant for half-price on their anniversary. To prevent scams, the couple would need proof of their wedding date. One Thursday evening, a couple claimed it was their anniversary, but didn't bring any proof. The restaurant manager was called to speak with the couple. When the manager asked to hear about the wedding day, the wife replied with the following: "Oh, it was a wonderful Sunday afternoon, birds were chirping, and flowers were in full bloom." After nearly 10 minutes of ranting, she comes to tell him that today was their 28th wedding anniversary. "How lovely", the manager said, "However, you do not qualify for the discount. Today is not your anniversary, you are a liar". How did the manager know that it wasn't their anniversary?
The calendar repeats itself every 28 years. So, if they were married on a Sunday 28 years ago, the day they were at the restaurant would also have to be a Sunday. Since it was a Thursday, the manager knew they were lying, and abruptly kicked them out of his restaurant.
87.46 %
45 votes

logicmath

4 gallon of water

How to measure exactly 4 gallon of water from 3 gallon and 5 gallon jars, given, you have unlimited water supply from a running tap.
Step 1. Fill 3 gallon jar with water. ( 5p – 0, 3p – 3) Step 2. Pour all its water into 5 gallon jar. (5p – 3, 3p – 0) Step 3. Fill 3 gallon jar again. ( 5p – 3, 3p – 3) Step 4. Pour its water into 5 gallon jar untill it is full. Now you will have exactly 1 gallon water remaining in 3 gallon jar. (5p – 5, 3p – 1) Step 5. Empty 5 gallon jar, pour 1 gallon water from 3 gallon jar into it. Now 5 gallon jar has exactly 1 gallon of water. (5p – 1, 3p – 0) Step 6. Fill 3 gallon jar again and pour all its water into 5 gallon jar, thus 5 gallon jar will have exactly 4 gallon of water. (5p – 4, 3p – 0) We are done !
87.36 %
56 votes

logicmathprobability

An infinite basket

You have a basket of infinite size (meaning it can hold an infinite number of objects). You also have an infinite number of balls, each with a different number on it, starting at 1 and going up (1, 2, 3, etc...). A genie suddenly appears and proposes a game that will take exactly one minute. The game is as follows: The genie will start timing 1 minute on his stopwatch. Where there is 1/2 a minute remaining in the game, he'll put balls 1, 2, and 3 into the basket. At the exact same moment, you will grab a ball out of the basket (which could be one of the balls he just put in, or any ball that is already in the basket) and throw it away. Then when 3/4 of the minute has passed, he'll put in balls 4, 5, and 6, and again, you'll take a ball out and throw it away. Similarly, at 7/8 of a minute, he'll put in balls 7, 8, and 9, and you'll take out and throw away one ball. Similarly, at 15/16 of a minute, he'll put in balls 10, 11, and 12, and you'll take out and throw away one ball. And so on....After the minute is up, the genie will have put in an infinite number of balls, and you'll have thrown away an infinite number of balls. Assume that you pull out a ball at the exact same time the genie puts in 3 balls, and that the amount of time this takes is infinitesimally small. You are allowed to choose each ball that you pull out as the game progresses (for example, you could choose to always pull out the ball that is divisible by 3, which would be 3, then 6, then 9, and so on...). You play the game, and after the minute is up, you note that there are an infinite number of balls in the basket. The next day you tell your friend about the game you played with the genie. "That's weird," your friend says. "I played the exact same game with the genie yesterday, except that at the end of my game there were 0 balls left in the basket." How is it possible that you could end up with these two different results?
Your strategy for choosing which ball to throw away could have been one of many. One such strategy that would leave an infinite number of balls in the basket at the end of the game is to always choose the ball that is divisible by 3 (so 3, then 6, then 9, and so on...). Thus, at the end of the game, any ball of the format 3n+1 (i.e. 1, 4, 7, etc...), or of the format 3n+2 (i.e. 2, 5, 8, etc...) would still be in the basket. Since there will be an infinite number of such balls that the genie has put in, there will be an infinite number of balls in the basket. Your friend could have had a number of strategies for leaving 0 balls in the basket. Any strategy that guarantees that every ball n will be removed after an infinite number of removals will result in 0 balls in the basket. One such strategy is to always choose the lowest-numbered ball in the basket. So first 1, then 2, then 3, and so on. This will result in an empty basket at the game's end. To see this, assume that there is some ball in the basket at the end of the game. This ball must have some number n. But we know this ball was thrown out after the n-th round of throwing balls away, so it couldn't be in there. This contradiction shows that there couldn't be any balls left in the basket at the end of the game. An interesting aside is that your friend could have also used the strategy of choosing a ball at random to throw away, and this would have resulted in an empty basket at the end of the game. This is because after an infinite number of balls being thrown away, the probability of any given ball being thrown away reaches 100% when they are chosen at random.
87.19 %
44 votes

logic

Teenage boy

In a small town in the United States, a teenage boy asked his parents if he could go to a friend's party. His parents agreed, provided that he was back before sunrise. He left the house that evening clean-shaven and when he returned just before the following sunrise his parents were amazed to see that he had a fully grown beard. What happened?
The small town was Barrow in Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States. When the sun sets there in the middle of November, it does not rise again for 65 days. That allowed plenty of time for the boy to grow a beard before the next sunrise.
87.14 %
55 votes

logic

Unusual paragraph

This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious as to just how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so ordinary and plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is highly unusual though. Study it and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any coaching.
The letter "e", which is the most common letter in the English language, does not appear once in the long paragraph.
86.69 %
53 votes

logicshort

Sequence of numbers

Finish the sequence: 7 8 5 5 3 4 4 ?
6 - the number of letters in the month august; (January has 7 letters, February has 8 etc.)
86.62 %
42 votes

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