Answer to the Friday Puzzle…..


On Friday I posted this puzzle…..

If you turn this number upside down or reflect it left-to-right you get 11 either way, but the original number is not 11.  What is it?

If you have not tried to solve it, have a go now.  For everyone else, the answer is after the break.

The answer is the Roman numeral IX – did you solve it?  Any other answers?

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.


65 comments on “Answer to the Friday Puzzle…..

  1. Klaas De Smedt says:

    Dammit, I was thinking of 110

    • Martyn says:

      That’s also the answer I got as well, along with anything else that starts with 11 and has as many zeros as you like afterwards. I think it’s a perfectly valid answer, providing upside-down refers to a rotation, not a reflection.

    • Klaas De Smedt says:

      upside-down is a rotation or the answer of Richard is invalid 😉

    • XRayA4T says:

      I had a similar answer of 0.11

    • pipergirl says:

      I chose ’88/8 (vertically written).

    • mikekoz68 says:


      I also got 11/100 or .11 which I think is a more apt answer than delving into the Roman numerals as poster Matryn implies something “turned” upside down can be turned towards/away from oneself rendering Richard’s IX as IX and not 11, so it is incorrect.

      Actually .11 upside down is 11′ or ’11 (using ‘ for lack of decimal pt.) so it appears even more incorrect……hmmm, ok Richard you win!

  2. churchynet says:

    It is possible without Roman numerals, I think…

  3. Mad Kev says:

    Getting to the end of the book now…

  4. -M- says:

    Klaas & Churchynet. Those are both nice alternatives!

    I got the original answer. (after thinking too long)

  5. Robin.deng says:

    you upside-down the Roman numeral IX, you will get IX

    • Al says:

      That is if you reflect it top-to-bottom, if you turn (i.e. rotate) IX you will get XI.

    • ‘Upside-down’ is a verb now?

      I like to verb nouns myself, but where will it end…?

    • Kristian says:

      I had the same problem at first because I thought of “turn upside down” as turning in 3d, with the top coming towards me and the bottom going away from me, resulting in a top/bottom reflection.

      But then I realised that another way to “turn upside down” is to turn it like a clock. I didn’t end up with IX though. I chose 111 (binary for 11), which is wrong because it’s always translated to 11, unless you add zeros.

    • ChumbleSpuzz says:

      I think you mean 1011
      Remember, there are only 10 types of people in the world… 😉

  6. Anne says:

    How about II (2 in roman numerals)?

    • Fran6 says:

      That’s the answer I was thinking about too (two)…

    • Yes but if you turn upside down the IX still remains IX not XI. I don’t see the point.

    • Sorry, my answer was to Philosopher Stoned 🙂

    • One Eyed Jack says:


      That doesn’t quite fit the problem. In order for your solution to work, you’re simply choosing to call II Roman numerals to start with and then calling them 11 at the end. If you can do that, then you can call it 11 to start with and that violates one of the conditions.


      Imagine that you had to write IX on a piece of paper and then flip in by moving the paper. You will have to rotate it 180 degrees to make it happen instead of flipping it front to back.

  7. Al says:

    Yes, I got IX as one possible answer. Another is the number 13 in binary, which is 1101 – when turned upside-down or reflected left-to-right you get 1011, which is binary for 11.

  8. David Dredge says:

    I got the answer because one prat (as seems normal these days) thought it was clever to post it in the comments last friday.

  9. Michael Sternberg says:

    Ditto. Got the Roman after 5 minutes of wondering about typography and/or handwriting styles.

    And here is another solution in one more encoding, not unheard of here – Morse. Its symbols obey the same symmetry, namely that turned upside down = reflected left-right

    Original: – – – – . , – – – – . = 99
    Transformed: . – – – – , . – – – – = 11

  10. rcomian says:

    A co-worker came up with “.11” as the answer, I like that too.

  11. rcomian says:

    Oh, and someone else came up with binary: “1101” flips to “1011”, which is 11 in binary

    • mikekoz68 says:

      Hey, that works-binary to start, binary in the end, not eleven, then eleven, as long as you don’t turn it forward(same as in Richard’s sol’n) when turning upside down it’s perfect!

      A better answer to Richard’s because we get to use the much cooler binary numbers rather than silly out-dated Roman numerals!

      Good Job rcomian!

  12. dharmaruci says:

    My ans was NEVELE. i think this is right too.

    • Philosopher's stoned says:

      NIce try Dharmaruci, but nevele isn’t a number. Better luck next week.

    • Lazy T says:

      Me and nevele other people, think that is wrong

    • dharmaruci says:

      pardon me for voicing an ans that some people do not like, but it is a number when reversed, it is a number spelled in letters not numbers so that is a good trick. also if it is not a num how can Lazy Z use it as 1?

    • Philosopher's stoned says:

      Yeah but its not a number before it’s reversed. Not in this dimension anyway…..

  13. Anonymous says:

    Or you could have the sum : 8+1+1+1

  14. Tom says:

    Given that every Friday some plonker either supplies the solution or a heavy tip, perhaps there is a case for not allowing comments when the puzzle is posted – after all, most of them either take the smug form of declaring “I did it in so-many seconds”, or cries of “which bit of ‘as ever, don’t post the answer’ did you not understand?”. You can’t really have a meaningful discussion, and it just gives scope for those idiots who spoil it for the rest. I hope Richard reads this and considers the idea.

    • I agree, Tom, but a simple solution is to just not read the comments on a Friday. It’s a shame, as there is sometimes some useful discussion, but unfortunately people like Dave’sNeighbour think it is funny/clever to annoy everyone by deliberately giving it away week after week. There’s obviously something missing from his life.

  15. Furie says:

    IX is nine in Roman numerals. Turn it upside down and it’s still nine, not eleven.

  16. Lazy T says:

    I got IX and 1101 and think 0.11 is just as valid but they all rely on 180 rotation rather than vertical reflection for the ‘upside-downing’ so none are really satisfactory.

  17. Anonymous says:

    My answer was 11, assuming the first time richard 11 he used base 10 and the second time base 2. I am almost willing to accept being wrong…

  18. I came up with the binary solution first, then the Roman numeral II solution. That led me to the Roman Numeral IX solution. Then I came up with the 110 solution (infinite by adding zeroes if you don’t use thousands separators), and that also led me to one other solution:

    Richard is British, and I’ve seen the British use the middot “·” as a decimal point (although I’ve seen them use the full stop as well). So, the number could also be ·11, since rotating or reflecting it puts the dot on the other side.

  19. But IX is roman number 9, not 11, surely? What am I missing here?

  20. ivan says:

    180 rotation is just what the problem requests, so the answers are spot on.

  21. David Hogan says:

    Surely IX is 9. I wondered if 38 might be more appropriate.

  22. The other Matt says:

    How exciting…
    I got 77 !!!

  23. JohnLoony says:

    For the first time in several weeks, I didn’t get it at all this time. I was thinking of “upside-down” as meaning a vertical reflection rather than a 180 degree rotation, but even so I don’t think I would have got it.

  24. David Fawcett says:

    In binary 10001 == 11 in hexadecimal neither of which are 11 in decimal. (17 in decimal)

  25. veli says:

    I thought of 0.11 and II (Roman), but not the given answer

  26. Steve Frushour says:

    I beg to differ. IX on paper is 9, as seen in the mirror it is XI and means 11, and visa versa. Clearly not equal. The answer must be II, which is 2 and it is 2 (or II) whether it is seen in a mirror or upside down.

  27. Henry says:

    My daughter figured it out quickly after I asked her, “What trick do number puzzles almost always seem to use in cases like this?” “Roman numerals? Oh, it has to be IX since XI is eleven.” The binary solution 1101 is equally good. I’d quibble that the various 1100 and 0.11 type solutions are correct technically, but not in spirit since you’d use the word “eleven” to say them … “eleven hundred” … “eleven tenths.”

  28. Anonymous says:

    I thought maybe (01 + 1) … although this is merely an expression which can be evaluated into a number.. 🙂 Steve, St Albans.

  29. Anon says:

    Is it something to do with the international date line

  30. suman says:

    one continues line … IXV upside down now VXI ..

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