Article: 261273 of talk.bizarre
From: Andrew Solberg <>
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Brain Teasers to Confuse Your Kids
Date: 1 Dec 1995 01:09:31 -0500
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Status: RO

"This bottle," proclaimed the Inventor proudly, "holds acid
so powerful it can eat through anything!"

"Anything?" demanded the King, shaking the bottle suspiciously.

"Anything!" averred the Inventor.

"AHA!" bellowed the King.  "You lie! this acid can't eat through
*anything* because it can't eat through the BOTTLE it COMES IN!"

"Nooooo....." countered the Inventor slowly, "it can pretty much
eat through that too."

It was then that the King noted, to his dismay, that his hands 
were smoking.

                          - * -

Inspector Lafitte and Doctor Marat entered the windowless,   
featureless cell to find Etienne's body swinging by a noose
around his neck.  The puzzle: the rope had been tied to a small
light fixture over three meters up, and there was barely enough
slack for the knots to be tied, let alone to swing a rope up
from the ground.  "How in the blazes did he get way up there?"
wondered the doctor out loud.

Inspector Lafitte could not help but notice the spreading puddle
of water in the center of the room.  "Might as well ask, my good
doctor," he jauntily replied, "where our resourceful Etienne got
a large block of ice?  But I have a more pressing question:"

Removing his penknife, the inspector stripped away Etienne's pant  
leg to reveal, not the pallor of cooling flesh, but the trans-
lucent sheen of melting ice.  "More urgent," continued the 
detective grimly, "is whether anybody has seen a naked thief
with very cold hands."

                           - * -

On Monday, a sadistic professor sneered at his students:  "You
may have a pop quiz this week, but you will never know what day
it will happen."

A student thought for a bit.  "Then we will never have a quiz."

The professor frowned.  "How so?"

"Well," explained the student, "if Thursday comes and goes with
no quiz, then the quiz must be Friday.  But then we would know
what day the quiz would be on, so Friday's out.  So, then if
Wednesday comes without a quiz, it can't be on Friday, so it must
be on Thursday.  But then we know, so that day's out too.  Apply
this reasoning back to today, and we find that today is the only
eligible quiz day.  But since I know that, it can't be today
either.  So, no quiz."

"What are you, some kind of smart-ass?" demanded the professor.
"Get out a piece of paper.  Question one...."

                           - * -

Two women came before King Solomon, each claiming to be the
mother of a small child.  There was no evidence one way or another,
and the wise king had only each woman's word to go on.  Undaunted
by the conundrum, King Solomon employed a cunning strategem:

"Women, here is my verdict," announced the king.  "Since I cannot
prove which of you is the mother, I have decided to cut the child
in half.  Each woman shall receive one part of the child they
claim.  What say you?"

"Yes, yes!" cried the women in unison.  "Surely Solomon is the
Wisest of Kings!"

Caught in his own trap, Solomon grimly called for the bone saw.

                            - * -

It was down to the finals on Monty Haul's game show, and Prudence
Ledbetter had to choose between doors one, two, and three.  The  
contestant deliberated for a while and then hesitantly chose door
number one.  Monty decided to make things interesting.

"That's very good, Mrs. Ledbetter," beamed Monty, rubbing his
palms together.  "Now we'll take a peek behind door number two....
oh, look! no prize!"  The audience applauded excitedly. 

"Now, Prudence," continued Monty, "I'm going to give you one more
chance to change your mind.  You can switch to door number three
right now, if you like; OR you can stick with door number one.  
What will it be, Prudence?"

Mrs. Ledbetter squirmed and wrung her hands, uncertain what to
do.  Unexpectedly, a mathematician stood up out in the audience
and shouted: "Switch doors! switch doors! The partitioning of
probability is 2 to 1 in your favor!"  Momentarily confused, Monty
watched as a hubbub broke out in the crowd.

"Don't do it!" called out another fan.  "Monty won't offer a change
unless you've got the prize already!  It's a mind game!"

"Horseapples!" screamed a contentious little old lady.  "If Monty
doesn't know, your probability matrix is 50% no mater how you play it!"

"Break for commercial!" bellowed Monty, and loosened his tie as 
the red light blinked off.  He approached Mrs. Ledbetter's podium
and, sweating, smiled a smile so thin it was almost transparent.

"For the love of God," he muttered in a low tone, "would you please
just pick a *fucking* door?!"

This post is COPYRIGHT 1995, Andrew Solberg.  All rights reserved.
Standard usenet distribution is acceptable; other forms of reproduction
or reprinting may be considered in violation of international copyright law.
Andrew Solberg is HWRNMNBSOL:, Math Dept., Rice U.