It’s the Friday Puzzle!


Not one, but two puzzles this week…..

1) What word is almost always pronounced incorrectly by radio presenters?

2) One for the meteorologists out there – if it is raining at midnight, what are the chances of the sun shining in 72 hours time?

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 theKindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USAhere). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


93 comments on “It’s the Friday Puzzle!

  1. They’re nice and easy this week!

  2. AMWhy says:

    Got both pretty much instantly despite not hearing them before. Second was easier.

  3. Roland says:

    Had the answer right away.
    Will be some discussion about the 2nd question though 😉

  4. Very easy – about 3 seconds to answer

  5. repton says:

    Both easy, though I would like to propose “eyjafjallajokull” as an alternative answer to question (1) 🙂

  6. Vaguely Quotable says:

    I think there are two answers for the second question. It depends on how pedantic one is about the wording.

  7. Steph says:

    Yes, finally a puzzle that I got straight away. Got the 2nd one first which helped solve the first one (if you know what I mean?)

  8. Yes! Dead easy, both of them.

  9. John Loony says:

    Both obvious and immediate.

  10. Ian says:

    I fear that discussion of the second question could get quite polarized.

  11. dcmonk79 says:

    Have you ever noticed on an aeroplane that it’s always sunny above the clouds!?!

  12. Hugh Janus says:

    Got both in 0.56535126643366632114336 seconds

  13. The Masked Twit says:

    5 seconds the pair

  14. JimC says:

    “Almost” always? That’s intriguing.

  15. Suspiciously easy.

    Ian – I see what you did there!

    JimC – well, some people might not pronounce it incorrectly….

  16. Nigel Alexander says:

    Second question about 5 seconds. But the first maybe a minute, I think!

  17. Steve Jones says:

    Residents of Longyearbyen might have something interesting to say about Q2…

    • Berber Anna says:

      I don’t think it would rain there, though. Snow would be a bit more likely.

    • Steve Jones says:

      But it does rain in Longyearbyen, although of course only in the summer. As far as the question is concerned, it only needs to have happened once. It is irrelevant if snow is more likely.

      Anyway, rather interestingly, it looks like it is possible to make a numerical estimate based on the local climate…

    • Berber Anna says:

      Well, you’re right in that for rain to fall, the season would have to be such that the ‘interesting’ answer would be possible. So let’s go for ‘very slim’, then, on the off chance that you’re in Longyearbyen or thereabouts and it’s one of the rare rainy midnights.

  18. Thomas Mansell says:

    About five seconds.

  19. Yes,more time spent reading the puzzles than working out the answers.

  20. neonnero says:

    I have no clue about the first riddle (must be a UK thing). As for the second, it depends whether you’re above the northern polar circle (or below the southern polar circle), and whether it’s summer or winter… 😉

  21. Robert Howe says:

    Both solved while reading. But whenever my students say, “That was easy,” a cold hand clutches at my heart….

  22. Martin says:

    It’s -6 degrees C in my garage. The fridge in there is set to +3 deg C.
    Why is it making a noise ? Is it running backwards ?

  23. Luis says:

    The answer to question #2 might be trivial or not depending on the place of the Earth and the time of the year that you are in.

    For #1, I propose “Madeleine”, as in the college at Oxford University.

    • Anders says:

      There is no such thing. There is Magdalen College, Oxford, and Magdalene College, Cambridge. I have never heard of a Madeleine College

      Magdalen is pronounced “maudlin”, which many people get right because they’ve heard it once. Magdalene is pronounced the way it’s spelled, which many people get wrong because they’ve heard “maudlin” once

  24. Luis says:

    By the way: this might be because I’m a linguistic professor, but I find it extremely aggravating when people try to mislead you by deliberately failing to use linguistic meta-reference markers that ought to be there. Please stop doing so.

  25. Berber Anna says:

    Got fooled into thinking they were trivia questions, looked at the comments and saw how fast people solved them, read them again and was like ‘OH. Okay! :D’

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s exactly what happened to me. Went from “How should I know?” to “Duh!” after seeing the comments and re-reading the questions.

  26. Martin says:

    Both very straight forward. Though the second entirely depends on how you interpret the question. It may seem like an obvious trick question, but if you take it quite literally, it’s quite different.

    • Anonymous says:

      Make you mind up, old boy. Up above this point of the answers at 9.26 you say:-

      “I suspect a lot of people saw the trick question, and immediately think they’ve got it… when actually it’s a trick trick question.”

      or is the “trick” that if you just read the questions as stated the answers are obvious?

  27. Mark says:

    Got both quickly. I agree, though, that some pedants will argue Q2.

  28. simontaylor says:

    Both very obvious – to the posters on here who think there can be any discussion about the answers, you are so obviously wrong!

  29. This week’s questions are so easy, even I solved them.

  30. Anders says:

    I certainly hope the sun will always be shining, at least until I’m safely dead. If it’s shining on me is another question

    For Q1, I suppose there is only one answer that does not require information about where the radio presenters are, or where they are from, or which language they are speaking, so I think I have it

  31. safc4ever says:

    There’s only one puzzle this week, the same one as last week: “Where’s the Friday Puzzle?”

    We need somethimg to think about, not questions that are solved before you’ve finished the blurb about not posting answers.

    And, in accordance with the request to say how long it took: It took me just as long as it took to read the questions, plus about 0.5 seconds thinking time.

  32. Laura says:

    If I am right I got both instantly. If I am wrong then I am missing something!

  33. Wendy Turner says:

    Got the second one instantly. Still puzzling over the first.

  34. rolyh says:

    I wonder what % of radio presenters speak English

  35. After 10 seconds of ‘How the hell would I know?’, the brain worked.

  36. Lazy T says:

    What if the radio presenters mispronounce the answer to no.1?
    It won’t be pronounced blahdyblah then.
    No2 has many answers, though I can see the one that will be posted on monday the sun always shines on me.

  37. Berber Anna says:

    I’d like to remind people that the chances of rain are fairly slim in certain climates.

  38. Chris says:

    1. why “almost”? the inclusion of that word in the question makes no sense.

    2. there are 3 valid answers to this question, which contains 4 ambiguities that affect the answer.

  39. Chris says:

    Well there’s one word they nearly always pronounce wrong and it annoys me no end. I’ve lost count of the number of emails I’ve sent to the BBC about it!

  40. Mike Torr says:

    One of those questions would work better if spoken, and the other has several possible different answers, depending on one’s point of view. Nice to see Richard back on ambiguous form 🙂

  41. Juan AR says:

    For the first puzzle I have no idea, for the second one… lol 🙂

  42. mittfh says:

    Both could potentially be trick questions, although Q1 works best if read aloud and the answer to Q2 depends on starting time and either geography or physics (I suppose chemistry could come into it as well…)

    I got one possible answer for both almost immediately, especially as I’m familiar with a variation on Q1 where the key word is “spelled” rather than “pronounced”.

  43. Anonymosity says:

    Less time than it took to read the questions.

    By the way, the inclusion of rain to question 2 is a requirement and a disambiguation factor.

  44. One Eyed Jack says:

    There will most definitely be a discussion about question two.

    There are two completely valid and defensible answers depending on how you interpret parts of the question.

  45. Jerry says:

    Done & Done.

  46. dharmaruci says:

    that second problem is one solvable only by advanced stellar physics. is rain possible as close to 72 hours before the sun is extinguished?

    that first problem reminds me there is word often written backwards in comments to this blog

  47. Yat says:

    I really have no clue about the first question. Maybe the fact that I have never heard english speaking radio is an issue here ?

  48. Mr. D says:

    I don’t understand question one at all, no clue.

    Question two was trivial, although I can see the potential problem with the wording.

  49. Adzcliff says:

    Yippee!? …For the first time in my Friday Puzzle career, I got the answers in seconds!

  50. physicalist says:

    Got both in seconds. (With a groan for each.)

  51. Anonymous says:

    The first one took me a second, but when I figured it out I immediately remembered that I hate those kinds of “puzzles”:

    • I thought of that cartoon as well. There’s an xkcd for everything, isn’t there?

      Very fast, but there will definitely be debate over 2, with good reason. Unfortunately, anyone who disagrees with me will be wrong. 😉

  52. John Simpson says:

    #2 would be problematic to a meteorologist in Alaska or Finland (to name a couple).

  53. Chakolate says:

    How long it took? How do you measure the time of a thought?

    Seemed pretty easy to me.

  54. The Masked Twit says:

    Here’s a harder puzzle for you (almost) :-
    If my pet spaniel is called Lucinda what are the chances of the sun shining in 72 hours?

  55. Jerry says:

    I think I got both of these trick questions immediately.

  56. Ronda says:

    The second one I got instantly. The first one took a couple minutes–duhhhh.

  57. Zach says:

    I think I remember these from a book of riddles when I was 4.

  58. Rottgrott says:

    The riddles of both questions aside, there is one word which is nearly always mispronounced by radio and TV presenters alike (including BBC presenters & correspondents).

    That word is SIXTH, which will more often than not be pronounced SICKTH. If you can say SIX and the sound TH, their really is no excuse. The only people I have pronounce it correctly are the likes of Stephen Fry, John Humphries and maybe David Dimbleby.

  59. I know the answer! I know it!

  60. Ultimate Free Lunch says:

    Finally two that I have figured out. The second one almost straight away. The first one after reading it a few times.

  61. Gail Carlyle says:

    Got both, quite easy this week, well, very easy.

  62. Peter Leeson says:

    Got the answers fairly quickly, assuming that the second question should have read “72 hours later” rather than “in 72 hours”

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