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Brainteasers: Play with Your Brain

bus right or left

I frequently write and speak about the need to pause, slow down, and focus on winning every day. With so many interruptions, distractions and lengthy to-do lists, it’s all too easy to take our eyes off the ball and lose our sense of direction.

It’s also important to pause and have some fun from time to time, and nothing stretches the brain and gets it thinking in new and creative ways like a good set of brainteasers. So in what’s getting to be a yearly tradition at, I offer the following brainteasers for your holiday enjoyment this year.  Remember – no peeking at or googling the answers. This is all about using your brain to change perspective, challenge assumptions, and think differently!

  1. You have a dime and a dollar in your pocket. You use all of it to buy a candy bar and a book. The book costs a dollar more than the candy bar. How much does the candy bar cost? 
  1. You’re driving a bus.  Four people get on and three people get off. At the next stop, eight people get on and 10 people get off. Then, six people get on and two more people get off.  Do you have enough information to know the color of the bus driver’s eyes? 
  1. A man and his son were in an auto accident. The man dies on the way to the hospital, but the boy was rushed into surgery. The emergency room surgeon looked at the child and said. “I can’t do this operation. That is my son!” How is this possible? 
  1. Why is it against the law for a man living in North Dakota to be buried in South Dakota? 
  1. Before Challenger Deep in the Marina Trench was discovered in the 1870’s, what was the deepest point on the Earth’s surface? 
  1. What day follows the day before yesterday if two days from now will be Sunday? 
  1. Bonnie’s father has five daughters and no sons.  Four of his daughters are named Chacha, Cheche, Chichi, and Chocho.  What is the fifth daughter’s name? 
  1. A sundial has the fewest moving parts of any timepiece.  What type of timepiece has the most moving parts? 
  1. A farmer has 17 sheep and all but 9 die.  How many are left? 
  1. What could you put in a 50-pound barrel of oil to make it weigh less? 
  1. All of Mary’s cousins have an Aunt Lucille, but Mary does not.  How can that be? 
  1. How many birthdays does the average man have? 
  1. How many two-cent stamps are there in a dozen? 
  1. There are tree mistake in this sentence.  What are they? 
  1. Two U.S. coins add up to 30 cents.  If one of them is not a nickel, what are the two coins? 
  1. Make one word from all these jumbled letters: o r e n o d w 

And now for the answers (cue the drum roll):

  1. Five cents.  The book costs $1.05
  2. Yes.  They are the color of your eyes (you are driving the bus).
  3. The surgeon is the boy’s mother or 2nd father (assuming he has two male parents).
  4. Because he’s still alive.
  5. Challenger Deep.  It just wasn’t discovered yet.
  6. Thursday
  7. Bonnie
  8. An hourglass
  9. 9
  10. A hole
  11. Lucille is Mary’s mother.
  12. One
  13. 12
  14. ‘Tree’ should be ‘three’; ‘mistake’ should be ‘mistakes’; there are only two mistakes, not three, so stating there are three is the third mistake.
  15. A quarter and a nickel (ONE is not a nickel, the other one is).
  16. one word
  17. The bus in the picture is going left.  Otherwise, you would see the door. 

Hope you enjoyed these puzzlers and the brief play with your brain.  Happy holidays to all!


Call to action: Buy yourself a book of mental puzzles or brainteasers as a holiday “selfie” gift.  Use it frequently during the year to pause and stretch your brain.


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