A conundrum

I got this one remarkably quickly. And I’m putting it down to doing those maths on the Khan Academy.
You have a fox, a goose and a bag of beans on one side of a river. You can only bring one across the river at a time. And since the fox will eat the goose and the goose will eat the beans, you have to find a method of getting all over the river and onwards on you journey, intact.

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11 Responses to A conundrum

  1. V.H says:

    First you bring the goose, and go back for the beans. When you have the beans on the other side you bring the goose back with you. Then you bring the fox over to the beans and then you go back for the goose.

  2. Kimberly says:

    Ahhh you solved it for us!!! That’s a good brain teaser. I also like this one…
    A father and son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly. The boy, in critical condition, is rushed to the nearest hospital for emergency surgery.
    The surgeon looks at the child aghast and says, “I can’t operate on him! He’s my own son!”
    How is that possible?
    I love these! They take some thinking, but when I figure them out I feel smart. 🙂

    • V.H says:

      His Mom !. It’s a good one to test prejudice but the really hilarious bit is you’re as likely to catch a staunch feminist as your unreconstructed male.

      • Kimberly says:

        Yep! Got it. It’s been around for years so I’m sure it has stumped fewer and fewer as the views of each generation have changed. But I’ve heard both try and reason it as an adopted father or step father.

        • V.H says:

          Mmmm, still until surgeon becomes surperson and barber becomes god-knows it’s not going away either. It’s only in English we have neuter or perhaps undefined nouns would be better, where in other languages you have masculine and feminine. You’d not believe how old I was, and learning Greek, before it dawned the ‘m’ and ‘f’ had the same relationship of bolt to nut. But why then is a ship a her or a she it’s in or on the water afterall, and in French the sea is ‘la’ Mer. So surely logic would say a ship is a ‘he’.

          • Kimberly says:

            That’s true they’re both considered F in most cases. Maybe with the sailors naming both the ship and the sea as she/her made them feel more manly. 🙂
            I actually forgot a word in the riddle that would have, I think, prejudiced it even more…”old” as in “the old surgeon”.

  3. Kelly says:

    I use to love aptitude tests and brain teasers like these. Most work on logic, so I usually do fairly well as long as I take the time (and have the patience) to work them out.

    I understood much more about grammar once I studied a language other than English. I’m very thankful English is my first language…even so, it’s tough remembering all the rules and exceptions!

    • V.H says:

      When I lived in London the newspapers had chess problems. You know, mate in three, or four moves. Sometimes they would set a problem that could be solved in three moves but wanted you to find the the solution for four. That type of thing could really wreck your head.
      I’ve always liked that type of problem. I think it’s part of being an only child and needing a foil, for when other kids had brothers and sisters I’d to challenge myself. I think that’s where the jigsaw fetish came from too. In a way language is like that also. You are making connections between similarities, and differences for the ‘in theory’ the same word. You hear the history of the word which you cannot really get in English.

  4. Kelly says:

    My siblings were all enough older than I was (and no kids in my neighborhood) that I had to learn to entertain myself. It’s one reason I’ve always loved reading. I learned to play chess early on, but never really enjoyed it for some reason. I much preferred a gamed called “Pente”.

    • V.H says:

      So in truth you were more or less an only child. As to the chess, I learned it from a book myself after an uncle gave a set for Christmas one year. It was perhaps the most thoughtless gift to give an only child living miles away from the next one. I’ve never heard of Pente, I’ll have a decko on the WWW.

  5. Ed says:

    I remember this problem from grade school. Different characters but requiring the same process.

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