pizzaI had my favourite interview with a journalist yesterday. Half way through she asked, ‘So how long does it take to do the exercises in 59 Seconds’. Anway, I digress. Here is the second puzzle of the week…..

Update: OK, changed the one puzzle into two (thanks misterstewart)…

1) Two mothers and two daughters go out for lunch. They order a rectangular pizza and divide it into equal parts with five straight cuts. They then each had an equal share of the pizza. How is this possible?

2) Two mothers and two daughters go out for lunch. They order six slices of pizza and can share them equally between them. How is this possible?

The answer to this puzzle, and 100 others,Β  can be found in a new kindle ebook called PUZZLED, and is available in the UK here and USA here.


  1. I’m not sure the question is worded as tricksily as it might be intended to be. But yes, it’s pretty easy as it is worded. But as it is worded you could do it with pretty much any number of cuts, couldn’t you?

    1. Actually, realising now there are 4 people, not 2, I think you could still do it with pretty much any number of cuts higher than 1.

  2. I don’t get this puzzle. I can think of solutions, but they’re far too trivial to be satisfying. I don’t see what’s puzzling about the scenario described.

    As for the podcast, I’d definitely listen to the first one, and then more if I like it. Which is relatively likely, given that I’m interested in many of the things you write about, but I make no promises.

    Some of my personal preferences about podcasts: (a) I like podcasts that get to the point as opposed to the ones that sound like someone’s rambling dinner table conversation. (b) I like podcasts that discuss timeless topics which will be no less topical next year, as opposed to ones that discuss current events that no-one will remember in a week.

  3. I worked at Pizza Hut as a teenager, and I got this even before I finished reading the question, only because the answer is the exact way we used to slice up the “Sicilian Pan Pizza” if anyone remembers it. Keep up the good work Rich. “I’m a huge fan. No, really. I’m huge. I’m hung like a matured camel.” (sorry, borrowed that line from talk soup with john henson)

  4. I have two possible answers, depending on how the cuts were made and what the familial relationships are. Probably over-thinking, but I can’t tell if I should take your verbiage at strict face value or not.

    And similarly to Flesh-eating Dragon (nice name!), I’d give the first podcast a go and see if I’m interested in continuing to listen. πŸ™‚ Love the poll options! They caused much laughing in this house.

  5. 5 seconds unless I’m missing something; first thing I tried worked.

    RobJ – Yes I think you’re right, it can probably be done with n cuts, n > 1. I can see ways to do it with 2, 3, 4 and 5.

  6. Saw the ‘puzzle’ answer bit from reading first line as it’s a very common framework – but then got stuck for a few seconds because I skim read the rest and assumed the pizza was round. As soon as I checked the problem statement again the answer is trivial.

  7. I think I’m missing something because it seemed too easy. I can think of a couple of ways of doing it.

    I tend not to listen to podcasts. I prefer videos because my hearing is slightly iffy and I like to see faces for speech.

  8. Took me a minute, because I was thinking it must be harder than that.

    As those folks above, don’t really get what the ‘puzzle’ is…unless it’s that you expect people to make equal shares straight away, then decide what to do with the remaining cuts, because that might stump someone for about 5 seconds!

    I’d definitely listen to a weekly (or whatever) podcast. Good stuff.

  9. Got an answer in a minute or so but I wonder if I’ve cheated. I don’t think it’s as obvious as other posters seem to say.

    1. Don’t worry, some people are so blindingly fast they got it years ago while still in the womb. You’re probably cool.

  10. GIMME PODCAST!!! There’s so much UK stuff I can’t get since I moved to Australia (i.e. anything on iPlayer or 4OD) and the TV here is awful. So please give me something nice to put in my ears. :o)

  11. At last I got one in about 30 secs yippee, with the two solutions, but then again it might be as I lost mine at an early age and then only had sons only one of which likes pizza…

  12. The second one I had pretty quick but was stumped on the first one until I realized it could be easily solved the same way as teh second.

  13. Never mind the pizza,
    Is the podcast vote some kind of psychology test?
    The three options are very similar as to have the same meaning surely?

  14. Took me about 15 seconds to come up with a correct answer, but I don’t know if it’s the answer you are looking for πŸ˜‰

  15. I realized the ‘trick’ in the problem almost immediately so the second question was trivial. The first one took me a little bit longer because I missed that it was rectanguar – but I’m interested to see your definition of “equal”…. πŸ™‚

  16. Podcast? Hell yes. Your appearances on SGU are always enjoyable, so I’d definitely be interested in what you’d put into your own podcast… go for it.

  17. 1) You might be interested to learn that I had a very strong feeling of ‘DejΓ‘ Vu’ when reading this conundrum. (The 5 slices)
    Very strong.
    And as a result the solution that I imagined that I heard somewhere before came to me in a flash.

    2) The ‘6 slices’ puzzle seems so obvious and simple that I cannot determine why it is even classified as a dilemma…
    I am puzzled as to why it is a puzzle.

  18. Solved the first one instantly (the picture really helped). Was stumped for a few seconds on the second one, but then I got it (I think). At that point, I realized that there were two possible solutions for the first puzzle.

    If I’m right about this, this will be the second puzzle I’ve solved, starting with the one from last ‘friday.’ They truly are getting easier πŸ˜›

    Also – never really listen to podcasts, sorry.

  19. 1) I solved it in 1 min cuz I haven’t read it correctly the first time. πŸ˜›
    2) Solved it instantly.

  20. OK. Now that the puzzle has been split into two, and with the prompting of some of the comments I see what it’s about, and now I have it.

  21. Took about 30 seconds. Tried a couple solutions and the fourth one worked, doesn’t seem particularly tricky. Don’t know if my solution to the second part is what you are going for, but it works.

  22. Got the answer. Although embarresingly didn’t notice your blatent poll scam until after I had already clicked the top yes.

  23. Knew the answer before I finished reading the puzzle. I came across this puzzle a long time back. It would have been better if you left the puzzle with the first question and not updated with the second question.

  24. Less than a minute to get what I think is a correct answer, and that included double checking time. Also, would love a podcast. I’ve always enjoyed your appearances on other podcasts.

  25. I ot the first one in a few seconds, and the second one I had a hunch about that turned out to be correct.

    Unless, of course, I’m missing some key wording or concept…

  26. Got both in about five seconds using the same reasoning. I’ve forgotten most of my algebra but I can still do fractions!

    I would certainly give your podcast a go, but much would depend on the content and the presentation. In my experience the quality of podcasts tends to be very variable.

  27. Got it in about 10 seconds. Then, after, say, half an hour it occurred to me (subconsciously I think) that this puzzle has second solution.

  28. The first one I got instantly, but the second took me about five minutes or so until I finally figured out where the trick could be.

  29. I’m calling ulterior motives again. The puzzle is too easy and the poll is sneaky. Something is rotten in Denmark.

    1. When I read that, I realized there was one more solution to both puzzles that I hadn’t considered- that makes 2/1 and 3/2. That last one is kinda tacky though IMO … So, lets bring the total puzzle solving time up to a minute and a half, which includes probably almost a minute of puffing myself up, feeling cock-sure that I had found all the answers and there couldn’t possibly be any more.

      I’m sure this time though … πŸ˜€

  30. I got it instantly, the first one was just very easy, and the second one is similar to another riddle I’ve heard.

    I like the poll. πŸ˜›

  31. I think it took me 10 sec. but I only did part II.

    If I’m not mistaken there is more than one solution in two different ways.
    That is to say each solution to the part about the people involved (I can think of two solutions here) has then a number of solutions about the number of slices. Does that make sense?

    And another query, does the word “share” in English imply that they have to finish the pizza? Or is that being picky?


    1. Yes! Don’t waste good food! Think of the starving people in Africa. At least, that’s what my mother would say…

  32. No time at all. i.e. the same amount of time I took to decide that I would definitely listen to your proposed podcast. Have loved your appearances on e.g. SGU

  33. I got the first one in less than a minute.

    The second one took me about two minutes. I had to read it many times to figure it out.

  34. For the extra-competitive of you; I got the answer 2 days before I read the question. Actually, I was born knowing the answer. Actually, I tell a lie, I had the answer before I was even conceived!

  35. Awfully enlightening many many thanks, It appears to be like like your current readers may possibly possibly want even more blog posts similar to this continue the wonderful effort.

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