Today, a spring selection of bite-sized brain food.
1) Two hipsters, Atticus and Abe, were arguing about whose electronic bicycle was the slowest. They decided to race them along a 100m track. They agreed that the bike reaching the finish line last would be the winner. The guys got on their bikes on the start line. But, predictably, they just stood there, since no one wanted to start first and risk being the first to finish. They had been immobile for hours when their pal Daisy showed up. She asked if anything was the matter, so they put down their bikes and walked over to her to explain. She said a few words, at which point they ran back, jumped on the bikes and sped to the finish line as fast as possible. What was her advice?
2) Why would a Parisian hairdresser prefer to give a haircut to two Belgians rather than one Briton?
3) Three sisters receive the following gift: 7 crates of wine, 7 half-empty crates of wine and 7 empty crates. How do they divide the gift in such a way that each sister gets the same amount of wine and the same number of crates, without transferring wine from any crate to any other crate?
4) Which English word is pronounced the same when four of its five letters are removed?
5) What stays the same however many letters you take from it?
Nothing connects the puzzles apart from the fact that I came across versions of them recently, and enjoyed each of them in different ways.
Here’s a bonus question, taken from my most recent book, Football School: The Amazing Quiz Book, which was out last week. Football School is a series I co-write with Ben Lyttleton aimed at 7-13-year-olds that uses football to explain maths, science, the arts, the humanities and more. The quiz book, which is the third book in the series, has as its theme is the World Cup. It’s for children in the way that Panini sticker books are for children…there are lots of curious and entertaining facts that fans of all ages will enjoy.
Who is the only footballer to have played in a World Cup final and acted in a movie that was nominated for an Oscar for the best film?
a) Frank Leboeuf (France), who played a doctor in The Theory of Everything
b) Eric Cantona (France) who played a seagull in Birdman
c) Lothar Matthaus (West Germany), who played a mathematician in A Beautiful Mind
d) Pele (Brazil), who played the king in The King’s Speech
I’ll be back at 5pm UK time with the answers.
Comments are not open on this article, in line with the Guardian’s new policy for below the line (and also to avoid spoilers!) but will be open for the article with the solutions from 5pm.
I set a puzzle here every two weeks on a Monday. I’m always on the look-out for great puzzles. If you would like to suggest one, email me.
Versions of today’s puzzles appear in Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1.