Can You Solve These Tricky Brain Teasers?


By: Stella Alexander

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

"As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives." This is the start of one of the most common brain teasers! While knowing trivia is just a matter of learning information and recalling it, brain teasers force you to use your brain for critical thinking! Only people with a Ph.D. can actually solve these brain teasers. Can you?

Brain teasers are popular devices used to measure the intelligence and critical thinking of a person. The Merriam-Webster dictionary would define it as "something (such as a puzzle) that demands mental effort and acuity for its solution." To most people, they just seem like rather difficult questions to solve!

You can find brain teasers everywhere. In 2002, a British game show called "Brain Teasers" was released. In 2011, National Geographic released their TV show, "Brain Games," which often used brain teasers within their premise. Oftentimes, brain teasers are about tossing the first answer that comes to mind and thinking deeper. Can you get deep enough to solve these brain teasers?

As our previously mentioned brain teaser goes, "As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks. Each sack had seven cats. Each cat had seven kits." You are then asked how many are going to St. Ives. You might immediately want to take inventory of his story, but THINK DEEPER! Can you solve this brain teaser and all the others in this quiz? There's only one way to find out!

Let's tease your brain and find out if we should be calling you Doctor!

As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks. Each sack had seven cats. Each cat had seven kits: kits, cats, sacks, and wives. How many were going to St. Ives?

This is an extremely well-known brain teaser. Since the person tells you about all the people he met "on his way" to Saint Ives, the reader is tricked into believing everyone was headed there. From the information you're given, you're only certain that the speaker was going to St. Ives.


How much dirt is there in a hole that measures three feet by four feet by five feet?

How is there dirt in a hole? In this brain teaser, you'd have to understand that a hole could only be formed if there's no dirt in it!


You are participating in a race. You pass the second person. What position do you finish?

If you said first, you're like a lot of other people - wrong! If you pass the person in second place, you would now be in SECOND PLACE! In order to be in first place, you'd have to pass the first place person.


Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?

The answer would be Mount Everest. Just because the mountain had yet to be discovered didn't mean it wasn't the tallest mountain!


Why can't a man living in the USA be buried in Canada?

This is like that classic riddle, "Where do they bury the survivors?" In this brain teaser, you couldn't bury the man LIVING in the United States because he's alive!


What kind of tree do you have on your body?

This brain teaser is definitely a play on words! While no one has a tree attached to their body, the PALMS of your hands could be likened to a Palm Tree.


Some months have 31 days; how many have 28?

All of them! Once this brain teaser mentions 28, you automatically think of February, the shortest month of the year that has 28 days and 29 in a leap year. While you'd be quick to answer that ONE month has 28 days, they ALL have 28 days!


What appears once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?

In this brain teaser, your mind might be quick to think about what actually occurs in a minute, moment, and a thousand years. This brain teaser is focused on the letters! 'M' appears once in the word minute, twice in the word moment, and it doesn't appear at all in "a thousand years."


How many birthdays does the average man have?

You might be tempted to think of how many times a person celebrates a birthday in their lifetime, but actually, everyone only has ONE birthday!


What can you catch but not throw?

Don't let this question make you sick! You can definitely catch a cold, but you can't throw it.


How many outs are there in an inning?

Whether you watch baseball or not, if you're quick to answer this question, you might accidentally say three. You'd be wrong! Since both teams have to bat, there are six outs in every inning!


April's father has four daughters. 1. May, 2. June, 3. July. What's his fourth daughter's name?

Her name has to be April. The question starts off with "April's" father so April would be his fourth child.


Do they have a 4th of July in England?

YES! Every country has a 4th of July! This brain teaser forces you to think of the American holiday, Independence Day. While other countries don't celebrate our Independence Day, they definitely have a 4th of July.


What kind of room has no doors or windows?

Regardless of what kind of room you'd find in a house, it could have a window if you wanted to. The only kind of "room" that doesn't have a window would be a mushroom.


A farmer has 17 sheep, and all but nine die. How many are left?

"ALL BUT NINE" should give you a hint! If all of them but nine die, there are nine left.


What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

This one should be a piece of cake! While most fruit have their seeds on the inside, a strawberry has its seeds on the outside.



READ IT CAREFULLY! When looking at this, if you're quick to count the F's, you might count three or four! That's because our brains find the F's in "of" insignificant, so it often skips over them naturally.


A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

When trying to solve this brain teaser, many people guess .10 cents. They'd be wrong! In order for both of them to amount to $1.10, the ball would have to be .05 cents while the bat is $1.05 in order for it to add up to $1.10.


Is it legal for a man in California to marry his widow's sister?

Rather than legal, you should be looking at whether it's possible! If the woman is a widow, it means that the man has died. A dead person can not marry someone who is alive, so no, he couldn't marry his widow's sister!


There's one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends. What is it?

While you're watching or participating in a boxing match, it's impossible to know for certain who is winning because you don't know how the judges are scoring them.


Don't write this down! Take 1,000 and add the following: 40, 1000, 30, 1000, 20, 1000, and 10. What is the total?

When trying to solve this brain teaser, many people answer 5,000, but they'd be wrong! Adding the numbers in your head tries to force you to round as much as possible which is why you might get 5,000 but the true answer is 4,100!


Katherine was born on December 31st, yet her birthday always falls in the summer. How is this possible?

If you live above the equator, you're probably thinking how could someone's birthday possibly be in December but in the summer season. That's because she lives below the equator! In the southern hemisphere, the summer season begins in December. Their seasons are opposite those of the northern hemisphere.


If there are three apples and you take away two, how many do you have?

It's not one! You might want to think of this as a simple subtraction problem where 3 - 2 = 1. In this problem, YOU take away two apples which means YOU have two apples.


How many two cent stamps are there in a dozen?

Since the stamps cost 2 cents, you might be tempted to divide and answer that there are six stamps. A dozen is ALWAYS a dozen. If you want to know how many two cent stamps there are in a dozen, there would be twelve 2-cent stamps.


A doctor gives you three pills telling you to take one every half hour. How long would the pills last?

Many people answer that the pills would last for 1.5 hours. They'd be wrong! If the doctor gave you the first pill to take at 1, you'd take the second at 1:30 and the third at 2. This means the pills would last for one hour.


What word in the English language is always spelled incorrectly?

In this answer, you might want to recall all of the words that are commonly misspelled. Rather, there is only one word that is ALWAYS spelled incorrectly, and that would be the word "incorrectly."


Divide 30 by 1/2 and add 10. What is the answer?

REMEMBER YOUR MATH RULES! In a question like this, you might automatically think that in order to divide 30 by "1/2," that means your cutting it in half. You'd be wrong! If the problem said to divide 30 by 2, you'd get the answer of 25. If you divide 30 by 1/2, you need to multiply by its reciprocal, 2, and then you'd get the answer of 70.


Name the only sport traditionally played in America which the ball is always in possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball.

America's greatest pastime! The team at bat is the one who is considered on offense, but the team on defense is the one that possesses it! This often trips people up because most sports like football, basketball, and soccer all show that the team on offense is in possession of the ball.


I have two U.S. coins totaling 55 cents. One is not a nickel. What are the coins?

It says that ONE is not a nickel, but it didn't say neither of them are! In order to do this, one coin HAS to be a nickel while the other needs to be a 50 cent coin.


Is it correct to say "The yolk of the egg is white" or "The yolk of the egg are white?"

In a brain teaser like this, your brain automatically focuses on the grammatical differences between the sentence. THINK DEEPER. While you're looking at "is" or "are," you probably didn't realize that both sentences are wrong because egg yolk IS YELLOW.


Two men play five games of checkers. Each man wins the same number of games. There are no ties. How does this happen?

In this question, you might be thinking it's impossible that they played against each other and won the same number of times without tying. THAT'S BECAUSE nowhere in the question do they mention that the men are playing each other! They both faced different opponents!


A clerk in the butcher shop is 5' 10'' tall. What does he weigh?

Nothing about the information given could give you any kind of inkling as to what his body weight would be. Since he is a butcher, a part of his job is to WEIGH MEAT.


If you have only one match and you walked into a room where there was an oil burner, a kerosene lamp, and a wood burning stove, which one would you light first?

You'd have to light the match first! In order to even think of lighting all the other objects in the room, you'd first need a source of fire that would come from the match.


Solve this problem:%0D6897 = 4%0D4892 = 3%0D8888 = 8%0D6519 = 2%0D4800 = ?

In this problem, you'd have to look past the numbers and look at their shapes. In the first number, there are 4 circular loops, which makes that equal to four. The last number would also be equal to four for the two loops in 8 and two more for the zeroes.


How far can a dog run into the woods?

A dog can only run halfway INTO the woods. Once it reaches that halfway point, it would be running OUT OF the woods.


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