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.


    1. 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.

    1. 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.

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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

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

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

  7. 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)

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

  8. 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?

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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!?

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.


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