Here's a tip from Mr Sherlock
Holmes of 221b Baker Street: it's a fun way of finding out a person's age in three
easy steps from their telephone number, and every consulting detective should know about
1) Ask the person to reverse the last
four digits of their telephone number and subtract that 4-digit number from
their telephone number (or vice versa, depending on what number is smallest.)
Don't ask for the result!
For example, a telephone number such
as *** 4587 would become 7854, so subtract 4587 (the smaller
telephone number) from 7854 (the larger new number), leaving a result of 3267.
2) Ask the person to add together the
digits of the resulting number Don't
ask for the result!
In our example, the digits of 3267
would be added together: 3+2+6+7 = 18,
4) Repeat the exercise
until only a singe-digit number remains. Don't ask for the result!
In this example, the digits
of 18 would then be added together: 1+8 = 9 (a single-digit number).
5) Finally, ask the person to
subtract this single digit number from the last two digits of their year of
birth. Ask for
the result! You will then be able to tell them
their age, and the year in which they were born!
How does it work?
The final number remaining from the calculations in steps 1-4 is always 9.
Therefore secretly add nine to the result they give, and you will be able to tell them
Try it out on someone who doesn't really want
to reveal their age to you - such as your teacher!
The solutions to the following cases are at the bottom of the page.
Case 1 - the overpass
Mack White was driving his tractor-trailor under an
overpass when suddenly he came to a screeching halt. Mack wasn't paying enough attention
and inadvertently drove under the overpass that was just barely as high as his rig. The
trailer was wedged so tight that he could not go forward or backward. Luckily for Mack,
Professor Quantum came by and told him how he could easily get the tractor-trailor out
from under the bridge. What did
professor Quantum suggest?
- the violin and the
Doctor Watson was sitting in the study at 221b Baker Street when Sherlock Holmes entered.
"What do you think about this violin and bow I bought for $27?" asked Sherlock Holmes.
"Well the violin look fine, but the bow doesn't look too good, replied Doctor
"Very observant, Watson. But I can't complain, because the violin did cost me $26 more than the bow".
What had Sherlock Holmes paid for the violin, and how much had he paid for the bow?
Case 3 - the guitarist
Diamond Pavorotti, a famous classical guitarist, is one of two identical
twin brothers. His brother Marcus, Diamond's manager, has a great mind for promotion,
but can't play a note on any instrument.
Following Diamond's performance on
the night of the 18th, the two brothers left the concert hall together. They were never
seen alive again.
Two days later, the news broke that Diamond
Pavorotti was found in a field with a knife through his heart. Although the
police detective had never seen Diamond or his brother, after a quick examination of the
body, the detective determined that the dead man was not Diamond Pavorotti.
How could the detective know?
Case 4 - the missing letter.
What is the next letter in the following sequence? O T T F F S S
Case 5 - the missing dollar.
Three men rented a hotel room for $30, each man giving the receptionist $10. The
boss told the receptionist she had overcharged for the room, and ordered her to refund $5 to
the men, splitting the refund equally between them.
The receptionist couldn't work out
how to split $5 into 3 equal parts (maths was never her
best subject at school). So without telling the boss, she
stole $2 from the $5 refund, and with
the remaining $3 she refunded $1 to each man. The men were happy with the $3 refund,
because each man had now only paid $9 rent for the room, making a total rent of $27
(3 x $9). The receptionist was also happy because she had secretly obtained $2 from the
deal, without telling the landlord.
If the men paid $27
as rent, and the receptionist stole $2 (from their $5 refund), this adds up to $27 rent paid + $2 stolen = $29. However,
the men had originally given $30 to the receptionist when they entered the hotel - so where is the missing dollar?
Maybe the receptionist is cleverer than we
Case 6 - the winning bet
If someone said to you, "I will bet you $1 that if you give me $2, I
will give you $3 in return". Would this be a good bet for you to take? Explain.
- the truth burns.
It was a hot, muggy, overcast day. Shadow was waiting on the lawn when Sid Shady came out
of his house wearing a pair of shorts and a wrist watch. "There was a robbery in
town about two hours ago", said shadow. "Apparently, the robber fits your
description." Shady laughed as he laid back on the hood of his pickup truck.
"This truck and I just returned from Pine Ridge about ten minutes ago. That is over
500 kilometers away incase you didn't know. You can call the cousin I was visiting
and he'll verify my story". Shadow looked at his watch and said, "It's
4 p.m now, what time did you leave Pine Ridge?" Shady glanced at his watch and
said, "I suppose it must have been about 7 a.m." "You're
obviously lying," replied Shadow. Why?
Case 8 -
Harry Smith was washing windows on a high-rise office building when he
slipped and fell off a sixty foot ladder onto the concrete sidewalk below.
Incredibly, he did not injure himself in any way. How was this possible?
Case 9 - The crown
There is a famous diamond displayed in a room which measures 15 meters
by 15 meters by 15 meters. The room is made entirely of concrete blocks and the floor is
covered with thick carpet. The only thing in the room is the diamond which is housed under
a glass cube. The glass cube stands on a one meter pedestal in the center of the room.
Alarm wires placed eight centimeters apart and running parallel to each other lie under
the carpet. The alarm will trigger if more than four kilograms of pressure is applied to
any individual wire. Sid Kolpas, who weighs 74 kilograms was able to steal the famous
diamond using the following equipment: a five meter 2x4 board, four leather straps (each
two meters long and five cm wide), a hammer, and a saw. How could he do it without
triggering the alarm?
Case 10 - the accident.
A father and son were involved in a car accident and both
were taken to hospital. The father died immediately on arrival, but the son survived, so
he was taken to the operating theatre for an emergency operation. The surgeon said:
"I can't operate on this boy because he's my son". How can you explain this
- science question.
If boiling water is poured into a thick drinking glass as well as a very
thin wine glass, of the two, which is more likely to crack? Explain.
Thought for the day
Did you know that between the ages of 30yrs and 60yrs there are only 360 months?
So make the most of it, because life is indeed short!
- "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
- "You've got to look the business to do the business."
Why is 6 scared of
7? - because 7 8 (ate) 9!
send us your own puzzles or thoughts for publication in our new quiz
Case 1 - the overpass
He suggested Mack let some air out of his tires. This would
lower the unit enough to allow him to drive out.
Case 2 - Violin and bow
Holmes has bought the violin for $26.50, and the bow for .50 cents.
Case 3 - the guitarist
Since there were no calluses on the ends of the fingers, the
detective knew the dead man could not be the famous classical guitarist.
Case 4 - the
E for eight. The letters are the initial letters of the written numbers, one, two, three,
Case 5 - Missing
There is no missing dollar because the rent paid to the boss was actually $25. The
receptionist stole $2, making $27, which is what the men paid (3 x $9). Looking at the
problem another way, the men originally paid $30, but received back $3, leaving $27. The
receptionist kept $2 and only gave $25 to the boss!
Case 6 - the winning bet
No. This is a situation where you lose even when you win. Assuming the
other person is being wise, they would take your $2 and say, "I lose", and give
you $1 in return. You win the bet, but you're out $1
Case 7 - the truth burns.
If Shady had been driving his truck for the past eight hours as he
claimed, the bonnet of his truck would have been so hot he would not have been able to lie
on it without burning his bare back.
Case 8 - falling down
Harry was standing on the first ladder step.
Case 9 - the crown jewels
Sid Kolpas stole the diamond in the following manner: First, he cut the five meter 2x4
board in half. Then, using the available straps, he fastened the two boards to his feet
like skiis. With the boards strapped to his feet, his wieght was displaced enough so that
he did not exceed the wire's weight tolerance and trigger the alarm. Sid then slowly and
carefully walked to the center of the room, smashed the glass cube with the hammer, took
the diamond and returned the same way he came in.
Case 10 - the accident
The surgeon was a woman and she was the boy's mother!
Case 11 - science problem
Suprisingly enough, the thick glass is more likely to crack since glass is a poor
conductor of heat. In a thin glass, the heat passes more quickly from the glass into the
surrounding air, causing the glass to expand equally. When hot water is poured into a
thick glass, the inner surface expands, but the outer surface does not. It is this extreme
stress on the glass that causes it to crack.