Riddle #728


Going to St. Ives

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.
94.36 %
45 votes

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Catholic school

A young boy went to a Catholic school. During school he started goofing around, so the teacher called him out and sent him to the Pastor. Since this was a traditional school the boy would be spanked, but the Pastor believed in giving people a chance. He said, "If you can ask me a question about something you learned and I don't know the answer on the spot you will go free." The boy may have been lazy, but he was very witty. He asked, "What is it that you can see and I can see, usually every day, but God cannot see." The Pastor stood there, stumped. He couldn't figure it out because he strongly believed that God sees and knows all, and that there is only one God. The boy smiled and told him. What was it?
His own equal! We see our equals everyday, but since there is one God, he cannot see someone equal to himself.
93.39 %
38 votes



A man who lives in Middletown has two girlfriends, one in Northtown and one in Southtown. Trains from the Middletown train station leave for Northtown once every hour. Separate trains from the station also leave for Southtown once every hour. No trains go to both Northtown and Southtown. Each day he gets to the Middletown train station at a completely random time and gets onto the first train that is going to either Northtown or Southtown, whichever comes first. After a few months, he realizes that he spends 80% of his days with his girlfriend from Northtown, and only 20% of his days with his girlfriend from Southtown. How could this be?
The train to Northtown leaves every hour, on the hour (9:00AM, 10:00AM, etc...). The train to Southtown leaves at 12 after the hour (9:12AM, 10:12AM, etc...). So there is only a 12/60 (1/5) chance that he will end up on the train to Southtown each day, since he will usually get to the station during the 48 minutes of each hour when the train to Northtown will be the next to come.
93.84 %
41 votes


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A man has two ropes of varying thickness (Those two ropes are not identical, they aren’t the same density nor the same length nor the same width). Each rope burns in 60 minutes. He actually wants to measure 45 mins. How can he measure 45 mins using only these two ropes. He can’t cut the one rope in half because the ropes are non-homogeneous and he can’t be sure how long it will burn.
He will burn one of the rope at both the ends and the second rope at one end. After half an hour, the first one burns completely and at this point of time, he will burn the other end of the second rope so now it will take 15 mins more to completely burn. so total time is 30+15 i.e. 45mins.
93.70 %
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Infinite number of mathematicians

An infinite number of mathematicians are standing behind a bar. The first asks the barman for half a pint of beer, the second for a quarter pint, the third an eighth, and so on. How many pints of beer will the barman need to fulfill all mathematicians' wishes?
Just one.
94.24 %
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Which came first into the wolrd, the chicken or the egg?

One day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was. He asked Birbal: "Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?" Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficult day and were impatient to leave. "Ask me one difficult question," said Birbal. "Well, then tell me," said the man, "which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?" "The chicken," replied Birbal, very confidently. "How do you know?" asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice. What did Birbal answer to this?
Birbal told the scholar, "We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it" and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping.
93.70 %
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Four jolly men sat down to play, and played all night till break of day. They played for gold and not for fun, with separate scores for every one. Yet when they came to square accounts, they all had made quite fair amounts! Can you the paradox explain? If no one lost, how could all gain?
The players were musician.
93.98 %
42 votes


Round Manhole Covers

Why are manhole covers round? Do manhole covers really need to be circular?
Manhole covers are round so that they won't fall through the hole into the sewer below them. No matter how you turn the cover, you won't be able to push the cover through the hole. However, if you were to have square manhole covers, you would be able to rotate the cover such that one of the edges of the square cover is lined up with the diagonal line of the square hole, which would allow the cover to fall through, causing countless problems that the general public would rather avoid.
92.86 %
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Pirate Pete

Pirate Pete had been captured by a Spanish general and sentenced to death by his 50-man firing squad. Pete cringed, as he knew their reputation for being the worst firing squad in the Spanish military. They were such bad shots that they would often all miss their targets and simply maim their victims, leaving them to bleed to death, as the general's tradition was to only allow one shot per man to save on ammunition. The thought of a slow painful death made Pete beg for mercy. "Very well, I have some compassion. You may choose where the men stand when they shoot you and I will add 50 extra men to the squad to ensure someone will at least hit you. Perhaps if they stand closer they will kill you quicker, if you're lucky," snickered the general. "Oh, and just so you don't get any funny ideas, they can't stand more than 20 ft away, they must be facing you, and you must remain tied to the post in the middle of the yard. And to show I'm not totally heartless, if you aren't dead by sundown I'll release you so you can die peacefully outside the compound. I must go now but will return tomorrow and see to it that you are buried in a nice spot, though with 100 men, I doubt there will be much left of you to bury." After giving his instructions the general left. Upon his return the next day, he found that Pete had been set free alive and well. "How could this be?" demanded the general. "It was where Pete had us stand," explained the captain of the squad. Where did Pete tell them to stand?
Pete told them to form a circle around him. All the squad was facing in at Pete, ready to shoot, when they realized that everyone who missed would likely end up shooting another squad member. So no one dared to fire, knowing the risk. Thus at sundown he was released.
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10 Cigarette butts

Bruce is an inmate at a large prison, and like most of the other prisoners, he smokes cigarettes. During his time in the prison, Bruce finds that if he has 3 cigarette butts, he can cram them together and turn them into 1 full cigarette. Whenever he smokes a cigarette, it turns into a cigarette butt. One day, Bruce is in his cell talking to one of his cellmates, Steve. "I really want to smoke 5 cigarettes today, but all I have are these 10 cigarette butts," Bruce tells Steve. "I'm not sure that will be enough." "Why don't you borrow some of Tom's cigarette butts?" asks Steve, pointing over to a small pile of cigarette butts on the bed of their third cellmate, Tom, who is out for the day on a community service project. "I can't," Bruce says. "Tom always counts exactly how many cigarette butts are in his pile, and he'd probably kill me if he noticed that I had taken any." However, after thinking for a while, Bruce figures out a way that he can smoke 5 cigarettes without angering Tom. What is his plan?
Bruce takes 9 of his 10 cigarette butts and turns them into 3 cigarettes total (remember, 3 cigarette butts can be turned into 1 cigarette). He smokes all three of these, and now he has 4 cigarette butts. He then turns 3 of the 4 cigarette butts into another cigarette and smokes it. He has now smoked 4 cigarettes and has 2 cigarette butts. For the final step, he goes and borrows one of Tom's cigarette butts. With this cigarette butt plus the 2 he already has, he is able to make his 5th cigarette to smoke. After smoking it, he is left with 1 cigarette butt, which he puts back in Tom's pile so that Tom won't find anything missing.
93.39 %
38 votes