It’s the Friday Puzzle!


A nice easy one this week….

A bottle and a cork together cost $1.10. The bottle costs $1.00 more than the cork. How much does the cork cost?

As ever, please do NOT post your answers, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took. Solution on Monday.

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


93 comments on “It’s the Friday Puzzle!

  1. Nanda says:

    Easy one

  2. From [wrong answer] to “oh, wait, [right answer] took a second or two.

  3. Chris says:

    The puzzle is why is the answer not 10c!

  4. peto says:

    2seconds, the easiest puzzle here.

  5. Bloglightly says:

    At last, one I get straight away!!!

  6. I think I got it, but my answer would be too easy… if it is the right answer, though, it took me barely a second. But I fear there’s a trap somewhere…

  7. Nigel Alexander says:

    Simple mathematics. Done in 15 secs.

  8. Tom (iow) says:

    Got it in a minute or so, unless I’m missing some twist.

    • safc4ever says:

      There’s definitely no twist (unless you count the corkscrew) because it’s a cork, not a screw-top!

      That joke was lame, I know, but I couldn’t resist.

  9. wraakh says:

    Classic… Takes 5 seconds

  10. RobHes says:

    Way too quick. I must be wrong

  11. Navneeth says:

    Why in the psychology [a sub. for an explitive] would one’s initial reaction be the obviously wrong answer?!!

    • duxallinarow says:

      Because of the set up. With any other beginning amounts other than $1.00 and $1.10, your brain would not have gone where it did. If the initial numbers were 60 cents and 90 cents, you would have had to figure it out rather than try to answer intuitively.

  12. Berber Anna says:

    ‘Ten… ohwait, no… [answer]‘ I normally don’t get them this fast, I love easy puzzles!

  13. Goliath says:

    What a cheap bottle! I wouldn’t waste 10 seconds on it…

  14. rmb says:

    Easy but good one.

  15. Laura says:

    Seconds, maybe 5 seconds?

  16. Damocles says:

    Cool, simultaneous equations. That’s for 7 year olds.

    And you thought you’d never use algebra again.

    • Navneeth says:

      I would consider that an insult to 7-year-olds. They would rather solve it using common (maths) sense rather than tiresome SEs.


  17. Rykte says:

    Easy one, in 5 seconds.
    I had already solved a similar problem

  18. StewE17 says:

    Took me a minute, but then if I was a bit more wide awake this morning my schoolboy algebra would have have been twice as fast.

  19. The Masked Twit says:

    A couple of weeks ago there was no answer.
    This week there is no puzzle!!

  20. Richard says:

    Way too easy, I got it in a few seconds then spent ages looking for a twist.

  21. ivan says:

    This is one of those questions which is only of interest in the situation that you have only a second or two to answer it. As psychologist and Economics Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman points out in his superb new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, it is astonishing how many apparently highly intelligent people – 50% of students at MIT, Harvard and Princeton apparently – get this one wrong if they have to give an instant answer.

  22. Few seconds. Had to write it out (taking longer) as my mental arithmetic’s rusty but yeah, purty simples 🙂

  23. Steve Jones says:

    Ask somebody to give an instant answer and you’ll probably get something different to what they get with a few more seconds to ponder it. That’s probably the point of the question.

  24. Paul Pearson says:

    Even I could get that one! I think. Did I forget about tax or something? Or is it that since it’s a bottle of wine the cork comes with it?

    My mind is about to explode from such a pedestrian question …

    Damn you again, Richard Wiseacre!

  25. safc4ever says:

    The solution is too easy. It took longer to un-cork the bottle!

  26. JG says:

    easy and tricky

  27. lehcyfer says:

    Nice and easy. 5 seconds total with mental calculations. I liked it 🙂

  28. Hilary says:

    Easy – this was on the BBC a few weeks ago.

  29. Ian says:

    I like it – just tempts you nicely into wanting to give the wrong answer.

  30. John Loony says:

    Where’s the puzzle? I knew the answer straight away, because it’s obvious. Now that I have read the comments, I’m trying to work out why some people might have thought one answer and then changed to another.

    • mittfh says:

      I think people initially forget the “more than the cork” bit and assume the value quoted is that of the bottle.

  31. mittfh says:

    Initially jumped to the wrong answer, thought “that’s too easy!”, re-read the question, and came up with an alternative solution.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Thought it was a trick question, but no, it really was that easy.

  33. RaduV says:

    easy one this week.
    got the fast answer, and then the correct one

  34. Daniel says:

    Me too, first the obvious answer (obviously wrong) – well, 10 seconds for the right…

  35. Satisfying lurch from wrong answer to right in a few seconds.

  36. The Pick Man says:

    A quint-essentially good solution.

  37. Lazy T says:

    The puzzle is how to get it wrong.

  38. Anders says:

    Because the dollar was falling dramatically at the time of the puzzle, the answer is £2.53

    Seriously, this one was really easy (and really really old)

  39. Anonymous says:

    For $1.05 a bottle, it must be really awful wine

    • safc4ever says:

      I think he bought the bottle and the cork on a budget airline. You’d have to pay more if you want the wine to fill it!

    • Berber Anna says:

      Actually, it’s a fairly normal price for an empty bottle, if you order them in bulk. He didn’t mention wine, did he?

  40. Mike Torr says:

    Very easy, seen it before as well. I actually have a friend who simply doesn’t get it, and insists that the answer is wrong. I’ve tried to explain it to him, but there’s something fundamental wrong somewhere in his epistemology or perhaps the semantics of his parsing… who knows?

  41. AMWhy says:

    That’s a very old one. First read this around 20 years ago.

  42. kentuckyfreethinker says:

    It’s very easy but a bit tricky as the first impulse is probably wrong. Nice one!

  43. Physicalist says:

    3 seconds

  44. One Eyed Jack says:

    Next on our 6th grade algebra test, two trains leave Chicago and New York at 3 PM, heading towards each other…

  45. Lazy T says:

    a man on the westbound train is flicking pistachio shells out of the window every 23 seconds, whilst a girl on the eastbound train…..

  46. Anonymous says:

    easy one ! except if I didn’t see the trap

  47. Ronda says:

    Finally! One I can do without any cheating! 🙂 Have to admit that even on this one, the first thing that popped into my head was wrong, but it only took a few seconds to realize it.

  48. Paul says:

    Yep, so easy I’m wondering what I did wrong.

  49. Bletherskite says:

    I saw the obvious trap so pretty sure I’ve got it.

  50. Edgar 2 says:

    Took as long as it took to read the question.

    But now I’m worried about references to the “trap” and suchlike.

  51. Doug says:

    LOL. Got it. A little sixth grade math.

  52. 2 seconds…if I’m right.

  53. Wolf Martinus says:

    Seconds. But it sounds familiar and I guess I’ve seen it before in some form.

  54. Anonymosity says:

    Seconds, and I’m right.

  55. SofARMaths says:

    Feel a bit of a bottled up guinea pig on this one? Took a few seconds…

  56. Duncan says:

    Less than half a minute, including a pen and paper check. Too easy, I really hope there’s a catch!

  57. Berhard says:

    had the answer at the end of reading the question.

  58. Adzcliff says:

    Assuming there’s not some special deal for buying bottle and cork together, I’ll admit, I’m struggling (as usual). If it wasn’t for people getting it so easily, I’d be inclined to think this was a trick question – damn my tiny brain!?

  59. Nelis says:

    Easy Peasy; fastest solution time without already seeing the question before (about 2 seconds).

  60. Ruth Wynn says:

    Solved it in 5 seconds

  61. Zach says:

    about a minute. but I’m at work, dammit, and I have a lot of things to do.

  62. This one has been around awhile. Nevertheless, I like this kind of puzzle, tricky but not terribly difficult.

  63. Mort Canard says:

    It took about three times as long to convince myself that the obvious answer was wrong as it did to come up with the right answer.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Seen it before, but did the algebra just to make sure.


  65. Matt says:

    Seen it before, but did the algebra just to make sure. About a minute to verify.


  66. Henry says:

    Still busy promoting Paranormality, Richard? The old bat and ball question from psychology tests, really?

  67. Julie says:

    If only my kids enjoyed algebra this much

  68. Charles Sullivan says:

    The hints gave it away. How many seconds?

  69. Tessa K says:

    I was in a restaurant once and two people at the next table were having a big argument about this because they couldn’t work it out. They got so loud and annoying that I went and told them the answer.

  70. Narg says:

    I wouldn’t give this test a nickle… hey wait!!

  71. James Benson says:

    It’s amusing how many people would automatically assume from the question, when the answer is no where in the question.
    Also, I noticed something with how, at least in my case, the brain works: How many people, in answering to themselves, said the price of the cork AND the bottle? You only need one but it’s an automatic reaction.

  72. Jerry says:

    Got this one immediately or rather I remembered it immediately. I must have heard it about 60 years ago.

  73. Jerry says:

    3/8000th of a second.

  74. Dave Rickey says:

    I’ll give you a nickel if you can come up with a better one next week. Really, this was like a 3rd grade “Word Problem” for math homework.


  75. Burp says:

    1 m and 45 seconds

  76. miche shells|miche bags|miche purses…

    […]It’s the Friday Puzzle! « Richard Wiseman[…]…

  77. food deals says:

    food deals…

    […]It’s the Friday Puzzle! « Richard Wiseman[…]…

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