coverPlease do NOT post your answers, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzles and how long it took. Solution on Monday. OK, there are 2 puzzles this week:

How many mistakes are there in the following sentence?

“This sentance contanes one misteak’

What is the answer to the same question for this sentence….

‘Their are three misteaks in this sentence’

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle(UKhere 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 second question, paradoxically, cannot be answered. The sentence contains only 2 spelling mistakes but claims to contain 3 mistakes; therefore that claim is wrong and it actually contains 3 mistakes

      However, if it does contains 3 mistakes then the claim that it contains 3 mistakes is correct, and so it only contains the 2 spelling mistakes, in which case…!

  1. Kind of an old one again this week, that I must have seen hundreds of times before. I do like steak though, of almost any variety

  2. Since I read the same puzzle in “Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities” yesterday before bed, I got it rather quickly 🙂

  3. I have an answer for both (including punctuation) – it’ll be interesting to see whether Richard’s looking for the literal answer or a sneaky answer (as has happened in some puzzles he’s set in the past…)

    Meanwhile, the second half of the puzzle in particular reminds me of Jerrold H Zar’s “Candidate for a Pullet Surprise” (aka “Owed to a Spelling Checker”)…

  4. Thanks, Richard, these are rather fun and one of them’s more subtle than it looks. The answers came immediately, as I read each sentence, but the fact that they’re easy doesn’t make them less fun. Thanks for another delightful little brain workout for the weekend 🙂 Have a good weekend yourself 😀

    1. and the second puzzle has two or three sets of two valid but different answers. which set you choose depends on how you interpret grammar, which should be consistently applied.

      i say two “or three” because the puzzles contain an ambiguity that may result in americans and brits giving different answers.

    1. So should the answer be zero, in both cases, or should we regard the clause “this sentence” as another mistake because they’re not sentences?

  5. I often struggle with these puzzles, but this one took me only a few seconds. Can’t see what all the in depth controversy is about. Schoolboy stuff!

  6. The second question, for some reason, reminded me of Monty Python’s ‘Argument Clinic’ sketch, the scene where Michael Palin hands John Cleese a banknote to buy a five-minute argument. After putting away the money, Cleese declares that he won’t start the argument because he hasn’t been paid. Palin insists that this is in itself an argument and if Cleese argues about the money, it is proof enough that he has been paid. Is he right?
    Well, that’s simple enough. In the sketch, John Cleese must be the winner, so he says he ‘could be arguing in his spare time’ (driving Palin out of the room and into the being-hit-on-the-head department). But let us assume that John is not allowed to argue unless being properly paid in advance. He takes the banknote and sees it’s a counterfeit. What should he say?

  7. In considering your response to these questions you may wish to consider the following questions:-

    1. If a sentence articulates a falsehood is that a mistake in the sentence?
    2. Does a deliberate falsehood constitute a mistake?
    3. Does an accidental falsehood constitute a mistake?
    4. Does a negligent falsehood constitute a mistake?
    5. Is The Masked Twit a pedantic tw*t? – no need to answer this one really.

    1. mis·take [mi-steyk] Show IPA noun, verb, mis·took, mis·tak·en, mis·tak·ing.
      an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
      a misunderstanding or misconception.
      verb (used with object)
      to regard or identify wrongly as something or someone else: I mistook him for the mayor.
      to understand, interpret, or evaluate wrongly; misunderstand; misinterpret.
      verb (used without object)
      to be in error.

  8. You have a point, Roland, In a lame attempt not to be accused of giving away an answer, let me ask: If a sentence contains a pair of brackets and they are both errors,does that count as one mistake or two?

    Both questions have two answers.

  9. I want to start a blog on myyearbook but i cant come across the box on my profile.. I have made sure i have checked the box to show my latest blog in the manage profile boxes section.. But it really still wont show up.. Please help.. Is there any other way to star…

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