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Alphonso and Sadie

Alphonso and his sister Sadie are entering the airport to meet their mother when Sadie gasps in surprise and says to her brother, “You see that man in the crowd over there?”

Alphonso replies, “It’s Bernie. I don’t believe it. Let’s go introduce ourselves.”

Neither of them had ever met Bernie before. They’d never seen a picture or painting of him, nor was he a famous celebrity.

How was this possible?

Alphonso was born as a twin, but he was separated from his twin brother at birth. Bernie is Alphonso’s identical twin, which is how Sadie was able to recognize him in the crowd.

This is kind of a cheat, because there are probably other possible explanations. But we can’t have everything :)

Posted in Brain Teasers

How Old Is The Shepherd?

There are 125 sheep and 5 dogs in a flock.

How old is the shepherd?

You can’t determine the answer.

I debated adding this riddle because it is less of a riddle and more of an illustration of how kids are (or are not) being taught to think for themselves. But after reading how kids feel the need to make up an answer without understanding why, I thought this could be a good reminder for all of us to exercise our critical thinking skills.

(via Student Voices)

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Winning at Wimbledon

As a result of temporary magical powers, you have made it to the Wimbledon finals and are playing Roger Federer for all the marbles. However, your powers cannot last the whole match. What score do you want it to be when they disappear, to maximize your chances of hanging on for a win?

It sounds obvious that you should ask to be ahead two sets to love (it takes 3 out of 5 sets to win
the men’s), and in the third set, ahead 5-0 in games and 40-love in the sixth game. (Probably you
want to be serving, but if your serve is like mine, you might prefer Roger to be serving the sixth
game down 0-40 so that you can pray for a double fault.)

Not so fast! These solutions give you essentially 3 chances to get lucky and win, but you can
get six chances—with three services by you and three by Roger. You still want to be up two sets
to none, but let the game score be 6-6 in the third set and 6-0—in your favor, of course—in the

Credit goes to Peter Winkler for creating this.

Posted in Brain Teasers

I Can Kill People

I can kill people, or cause great pain.
You eat me.
I can mean you’re crazy.
I hold things together.
I help climbers stay safe.
I can replace a swear.
And I’m on a violin.

What am I?


People with nut allergies can die from eating nuts. Being hit in the nuts hurts (I speak from experience. Painful, painful experience). You eat nuts (unless you’re allergic, in which case you should run away). If someone says you’re nuts, it doesn’t mean you’re a peanut or an almond. Nuts and bolts hold things together. A climber’s nut or chock wedges into a rock. Instead of swearing, you can say, “Aww nuts!”. And finally, the nut on a violin is a small piece of hard material that supports the strings.

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Ancient Arabic

I’m Arabic, but if you speak English, you probably use me every day.

What am I?

The Arabic numerals, 1, 2, 3, etc.

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I Am Worthless

I am worthless, yet when added to others I add worth.
I confounded the ancient Greeks, yet I changed men’s understanding.

What am I?

0 (Zero).

Zero is nothing, yet when you add zeroes to a number like 1, it becomes 10, 100 or 1,000.

The ancient Greeks did not have a name for zero and did not use a placeholder. They seemed unsure about the status of zero as a number, philosophizing about how nothing could be something. Once zero was added, it allowed for more mathematical understanding.

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Your Mother’s Brother’s Brother-In-Law

I am your mother’s brother’s only brother-in-law. Who am I?

I am your father. L-u-u-u-u-u-u-ke!

Posted in Brain Teasers

Measured But Not Seen

What can be measured but not seen?

Time. Or my toes when I’ve had one too many donuts…

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3661 Seconds Past Midnight

What is special about 3,661 seconds past midnight on January 1, 2001?

At the 3,661st second, the time and date can be written 01:01:01 01/01/01.

That is one cool date :)

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Eight Eights For A Thousand

How can you add 8 eights to equal 1,000?

888 + 88 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 1,000

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