On Friday I set this puzzle……

Two fathers and two sons were seated round a table.  There were four apples on the table.  Each of them took one apple and ate it entirely yet there was still one apple left on the table. How was this possible?

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

There were only three persons at the table – a grandfather, his son and his grandson.

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.

1. The Masked Twit says:

Which one of the three is not a son, Richard?

1. Jethro Stevenson says:

I was about to ask the same thing!

2. Mad Keb says:

The grandfather who had a sex change.

3. Of the three round the table, the grandfather, but I think you knew that already.

4. Anonymous says:

If I was sat at a table with my mother it would be reasonable to say ‘a mother and daughter are sat at a table’ but if I’m on my own you wouldn’t say ‘a daughter was sat at a table’. The relationships given are in connection with the company they are currently with. As such the grandfather would not be called a son because his father isn’t there.

5. Anon says:

Anonymous
Then surely you would say “a grandfather, his son and his grandson were sitting at the table”.
Granted it wouldn’t make much of a puzzle.

6. As others have noticed, this is (as worded), an impossible problem as all fathers are sons and there is no mention of a constraint that only sons of those at the table were to be counted. In the case above, there are therefore three sons and two fathers. If there had just been two fathers (and therefore obviously two sons), then there would have been two apples left.

Of course you might just be able to argue that there was an unmentioned woman at the table who ate the third apple.

7. One Eyed Jack says:

@Anonymous

In a puzzle where word play is key to the “trick”, you don’t get to play it both ways. You don’t get the use the trick of someone being both a father and son with one member of the group and ignore it with another.

Sorry, Richard doesn’t get to play it both way to fit his answer. It’s a poor puzzle, and this debate was expected when it was posted Friday.

8. Anonymous says:

For the grandfather, it’s two fathers and two sons.

2. Anon says:

Is the sex change from male to female or female to male?

3. Two fathers. They’re both _someone’s_ son. Thus, two apples left.

4. Anon says:

Drew
If the grandfather is not a son – is he a daughter?

5. two grand fathers nd one son………..

So if the middle or youngest generation was to ask the eldest “Pops, so who are you son to?”, it seems the answer would be “no one”.

1. Berhard says:

Hehehehe Exactly…
or grandfather/ son was the reult of genetic engeneering…
Such as Dolly the sheep, and two grandfather sheeps sat at a table…

So howlong will this riddle still work?

2. Anon says:

Hugh
I think you are being way too over-generous

7. Richard’s Friday Puzzles are worth reading, if only to see the convoluted comments that follow.

Keep up the good work folks.

1. Anon says:

Of which your comment is a prime example, old boy

2. Eddie says:

A prime example of what?

3. Anon says:

Rampant twattery

8. Anonymous says:

These puzzles have got steadily worse.

1. Hugh Janus says:

Worse puzzle ever!

2. The Masked Twit says:

Hugh,
I think that you are being way too over-generous.

9. If he’s not a son, surely the Grandfather must have been Adam? And if he was, surely he’d have learned his lesson about eating apples by now.

1. mittfh says:

Of course, the apples they’re eating could be a different variety to those that grew on the most infamous tree in history…

10. One Eyed Jack says:

The Bible never says that the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge was an apple.

Back to Sunday school with you.

11. Caspar says:

To avoid any criticism it should read: “One father and his son, and another father and his son…”

1. Anonymous says:

I think “Two fathers and their sons…” is the common phrasing.

12. philipp says:

My brother, my father and his father once went to a museum and had a family-entry-card for two parents and three kids, so I knew this one from personal experience 😀

1. philipp says:

oh, I was with them, too, forgot to mention this, else, the numbers don’t add up

13. Anne says:

Maybe the grandad was Joshua (the son of “Nun”….) Exodus 33:11

14. No matter how simple the puzzle, these comments are ALWAYS complex, LOL!

15. edwardv says:

This is stretching it even further, but there could have been five apples on the table. It’s still true that there are four apples on the table. And two unrelated father-son pairs could have eaten four apples leaving one.

16. Anonymous says:

Yes, it should have said “Two fathers and _their_ two sons were seated around a table…”

17. Berhard says:

Heheh would like to know what Jon Farnham would hav said to this riddle …
You’re The Voice – John Farnham

18. jeffjo says:

It was an old chestnut, but there was a trivial way to word it to avoid all this pedantry: “Two fathers were seated around a table with each man’s son. …”

19. Duke of ? says:

Maybe the two sons ate one half of a one apple and the fathers ate one each.

20. Score says:

My solution: The four people sitting around the table tried to each allocate themselves an apple, but due to poor concurrent programming two of them fell victim to a race condition and ate the same apple at the same time without noticing.

21. sunday mercy says:

I am a father, I have two sons and one of my two sons is a father also. This equals two fathers n two sons.