coverOn Friday I set this puzzle….

What is the connection between these times:







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

Each time starts and ends with the same letter:

Nine fifty seveN

Eight twenty threE

and so on.  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(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. I agree, someone suggested in the comments that none of them contained a 6 or 0. It’s fair to say that would also be a solution given the answer’s logic.

    2. not containing a 6 or 0 would be an equally valid answer, but my personal favourite is the one that said the times the 3pm train actually arrived

    3. Not containing a 6 is part of the answer: because no numbers end in “s” or begin with “x” (and because there can’t be a 6 in the ‘tens of minutes’ position), it’s necessary that none of the times contain a 6. So spotting this is a clue.

      Similarly for not containing a 0 (though there could be one in the middle position).

    4. Anonalomalom, if that is what you prefer to believe, I can’t stop you. But I did actually “solve it” albeit with some help from the hints in the comments, I still think it sucks golfballs through a hose

    5. I suggested 6 and 0 not being in any of them. It’s not quite equivalent to the given answer since 0 could appear at the end in the time 9:10 (“nine ten”) as well as in the middle before or after the colon.

  1. Yes, found it after googling for a hint and a reading hint in the comments.

    These puzzles are harder when English is not your native language.

    1. I suggested 6 and 0 not being in any of them. It’s not quite equivalent to the given answer since 0 could appear at the end in the time 9:10 (“nine ten”) as well as in the middle before or after the colon.

  2. I drew the times on clockfaces, then as on a digital clock. My next attempt was going to be writing them out as words which might have helped. Anyway, it’s a rubbish answer so I’m glad I didn’t bother!

  3. Oh, I also calculated the general formula for the angles between the hour and minute hands: For a given time of format h:m, it is the minimum of x° or (360 – x)°, for x = |60h – 11m|/2. If we include seconds in the format h:m:s, this becomes x = |60²h – 660m – 11s|/120.

  4. I don’t think this was the worst ever! The whole point of these puzzles is to make us think laterally – not to go for the obvious. I got nowhere near to solving this one!

  5. For me, this passes the “am I sure that my answer is right once I’ve spotted it” test. But it’s not the most elegant puzzle, in that, with the exception of 9:13, the penultimate digit in each time is entirely arbitrary. In most good puzzles, all the information is relevant.

  6. I thought it was a good puzzle.
    I was not able to solve it – but I did guess that there was some misdirection and that calling them “times” was irrelevant.
    The fact that I went through a lot of the routines that other people did – angles etc – does not mean I wasted my time. My brain got a workout, albeit I did not get the right answer.

    1. Completely agree on the last bit. As to whether it was a good puzzle? Let’s just say Job 17:10.

    2. Now that is a very good point. After all, we do these things to keep our brains sharp, correct? I like your attitude! 🙂

    1. Job 17:10:-
      “But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you.”
      (Sometimes also known as Job Ten past five)

  7. Three to Ten, doesn’t end with the same letter as it ends?
    Twelve to Three, and so forth. I guess the answer doesn’t hold? 😉

    1. Nor does Twenty five past eleveN or Three minutes to teN.
      Are you sure you have a workable answer Richard?

  8. In “The Hobbit,” Bilbo won the riddle game with Gollum, after putting his hand in his pocket and finding what he had absent-mindedly placed there, by asking to himself “What have I got in my pocket?” While there was an answer, and only one, everybody agrees it wasn’t really a riddle. And while there are no hard and fast and rules that make a good one, there are guidelines that should be met.

    This isn’t a good puzzle because (1) although all six answers given do fit the stated pattern, there are so many others that fit it as well that the six can hardly be considered a representative sample, and (2) there are other equally arbitrary patterns that fit the six as well.

    Please, Richard, do better.

    1. No it isn’t, if that were the case I could ask you “x to y is like a sandwich to…?” and it would be brilliant, no?

      Much like a detective mystery where the murderer is introduced two pages from the end, not giving any clues to the reader, it’s not a good mystery unless there is some sense in the riddle

    2. In fairness, there are probably several things that, together, contribute to a good puzzle. Being difficult to solve is one of them. If a puzzle is easy to solve, its not much of a puzzle is it?

    3. @ Anders

      Wow! Someone really has a bad case of sour grapes, you didn’t solve it, let it go, you’re not always as smart as you think you are, that’s what makes some of them puzzling

  9. The list of times isn’t inclusive. Surely to be a ‘decent’ puzzle all palindromic times should be listed, and in a reasonable order. E.g. alphabitcally. So the list of times should start with 8:01, 8:11, 8:21, 8:31… and continue on to the 11’s and 9’s and 1s.

  10. this weeks puzzle is very bad very cheesy. not good one, mr wiseman.

    is almost as good as this one: what is next number (it is not 12):

    2, 4, 6, 8, 10, ??

    The ans is below
    ans is 37.

    is my lottery numbers.

    The end
    (M Night Shamalangham)

  11. What a bunch of babies. Just because you didn’t nano second figure it out, you “waa waa, what a stupid puzzle”

  12. Didn’t get it, but more importantly, don’t really care. It’s free, and I’m free play along, or not.

  13. Well….I’m not very impressed. Gotta agree that it was not a very engaging puzzle. When I couldn’t get it, I browsed the comments, found one that hinted at this, but thought surely that couldn’t be right. I’m disappointed that it is.

  14. I felt certain that all six represented times of the day when Richard had despaired of the trap he set for himself by promising a puzzle every Friday, but then running out of new and interesting material. It’s been a good run, Richard, but it may be time to move on to the Friday Bar Bet.

  15. The problem with this puzzle is that it is horribly inelegant–these are presented as “times” and the question is “what’s the connection” which leads one to the expectation that there is some connection based on their being times. Instead, the answer is just some random fact about the words they represent. “They all contain the letter E when written out” strikes me as just as valid an answer (as does “none contain a 6” and probably an infinite number of other details). A puzzle that picks one detail and says *that’s* the solution is a bad puzzle.

  16. In the Absedonian Language they all rhyme.

    I didn’t see either the “E” or the “N” on the clock that I was using to meet the terms of the question. (What is the connection between these “times:” three til ten, 8.3833.., etc.)

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