Find a short hidden message in the list of words below.
carrot fiasco nephew spring rabbit
sonata tailor bureau legacy corona
travel bikini object happen soften
picnic option waited effigy adverb
report accuse animal shriek esteem
Starting with the first two words, take the first and last letters, reading from left to right. Example: Carrot fiascO "from these pairs" the message is as follows:
CONGRATULATIONS CODE BREAKER
As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with seven wives
The seven wives had seven sacks
The seven sacks had seven cats
The seven cats had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks and wives
How many were going to St. Ives?
One person is going to St. Ives (the narrator). Because the narrator "met" all of the others mentioned in the poem, this implies that they walked past each other in opposite directions, and thus none of the wives, sacks, cats, or kits was actually headed to St. Ives.
If you (like many) think this answer is a bit silly, you can assume that all the people, sacks, and animals mentioned were heading for St. Ives. In this case, we would have 1 narrator + 1 man + 7 wives + 49 sacks + 343 cats + 2401 kits = 2802 total going to St. Ives. However, this isn't the traditional answer.
A petshop owner had a parrot with a sign on its cage that said "Parrot repeats everything it hears". Davey bought the parrot and for two weeks he spoke to it and it didn't say a word. He returned the parrot but the shopkeeper said he never lied about the parrot.
How can this be?
Once there was an evil wizard. He took 3 women from their homes and turned them into rose bushes that looked exactly alike. He put them in his garden. One of the women had a husband and children and begged the wizard to let her see them. He agreed. At night he brought the woman to her house. In the morning he came and took her home. Next day the husband decided to go rescue her. So he snuck into the wizard's garden. He looked and looked at the 3 identical rose bushes trying to figure out which could be his wife. Suddenly he knew the answer and he took his wife home. How did he know which rose bush was his wife?
The wizard brought the rosebush to her home at night and returned her to the garden in the morning. Therefore, she was the only plant without dew.
A king has 100 identical servants, each with a different rank between 1 and 100. At the end of each day, each servant comes into the king's quarters, one-by-one, in a random order, and announces his rank to let the king know that he is done working for the day. For example, servant 14 comes in and says "Servant 14, reporting in."
One day, the king's aide comes in and tells the king that one of the servants is missing, though he isn't sure which one.
Before the other servants begin reporting in for the night, the king asks for a piece of paper to write on to help him figure out which servant is missing. Unfortunately, all that's available is a very small piece that can only hold one number at a time. The king is free to erase what he writes and write something new as many times as he likes, but he can only have one number written down at a time.
The king's memory is bad and he won't be able to remember all the exact numbers as the servants report in, so he must use the paper to help him.
How can he use the paper such that once the final servant has reported in, he'll know exactly which servant is missing?
When the first servant comes in, the king should write down his number. For each other servant that reports in, the king should add that servant's number to the current number written on the paper, and then write this new number on the paper.
Once the final servant has reported in, the number on the paper should equal
(1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 99 + 100) - MissingServantsNumber
Since (1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 99 + 100) = 5050, we can rephrase this to say that the number on the paper should equal
5050 - MissingServantsNumber
So to figure out the missing servant's number, the king simply needs to subtract the number written on his paper from 5050:
MissingServantsNumber = 5050 - NumberWrittenOnThePaper