A deliveryman comes to a house to drop off a package. He asks the woman who lives there how many children she has.
"Three," she says. "And I bet you can't guess their ages."
"Ok, give me a hint," the deliveryman says.
"Well, if you multiply their ages together, you get 36," she says. "And if you add their ages together, the sum is equal to our house number."
The deliveryman looks at the house number nailed to the front of her house. "I need another hint," he says.
The woman thinks for a moment. "My youngest son will have a lot to learn from his older brothers," she says.
The deliveryman's eyes light up and he tells her the ages of her three children. What are their ages?
Their ages are 1, 6, and 6. We can figure this out as follows:
Given that their ages multiply out to 36, the possible ages for the children are:
1, 1, 36 (sum = 38)
1, 2, 18 (sum = 21)
1, 3, 12 (sum = 16)
1, 4, 9 (sum = 14)
1, 6, 6 (sum = 13)
2, 2, 9 (sum = 13)
2, 3, 6 (sum = 11)
3, 3, 4 (sum = 10)
When the woman tells the deliveryman that the children's ages add up to her street number, he still doesn't know their ages. The only way this could happen is that there is more than one possible way for the children's ages to add up to the number on the house (or else he would have known their ages when he looked at the house number). Looking back at the possible values for the children's ages, you can see that there is only one situation in which there are multiple possible values for the children's ages that add up to the same sum, and that is if their ages are either 1, 6, and 6 (sums up to 13), or 2, 2, and 9 (also sums up to 13). So these are now the only possible values for their ages.
When the woman then tells him that her youngest son has two older brothers (who we can tell are clearly a number of years older), the only possible situation is that their ages are 1, 6, and 6.
Peter celebrated his birthday on one day, and two days later his older twin brother, Paul, celebrated his birthday. How could this be?
When the mother of the twins went into labor, she was travelling by boat. The older twin, Paul, was born first, barely on March 1st. The boat then crossed a time zone, and the younger twin was born on February the 28th. In a leap year the younger twin celebrates his birthday two days before his older brother.
Sally and her younger brother were fighting. Their mother was tired of the fighting, and decided to punish them by making them stand on the same piece of newspaper in such a way that they couldn't touch each other. How did she accomplish this?
Sally's mother slid a newspaper under a door and made Sally stand on one side of the door and her brother on the other.
Mike was watching TV and all of a sudden he leaps to his feet and says, "That's Simon", pointing at someone who was at the screen.
Then his brother Mark comes in, looks at his brother, then looks back at the TV and says, "So it is."
How do they know Simon if they hadn't seen him before, no pictures, nothing?
You walk up to a mountain that has two paths. One leads to the other side of the mountain, and the other will get you lost forever. Two twins know the path that leads to the other side. You can ask them only one question. Except! One lies and one tells the truth, and you don't know which is which. So, What do you ask?
You ask each twin "What would your brother say?"
This works because.... Well let's say the correct path is on the left side. So say you asked the liar "What would your brother say?" Well, the liar would know his brother was honest and he would say the left side, but since the liar lies, he would say right. If you asked the honest twin the same question, he would say right, because he knows his brother will lie. Therefore, you would know that the correct path was the left.