It’s the Friday Puzzle!

36

cover Please do NOT post your answer, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took. Solution on Monday.

There are two men in a pub.  Two women walk in, and both men say ‘Here is my wife and daughter’.  If the men have not married the same woman and the women aren’t pregnant, how can this be true?
This puzzle comes from the wonderful Skepitcal Intelligencer Magazine.
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.

36 comments on “It’s the Friday Puzzle!

  1. Baker's Dozen says:

    That’s Norfolk for you.

    • Anonymous of Diss says:

      Yes.
      My first cousin helped me solve it before we got out of bed and I took her to school this morning.

  2. Anne Elk says:

    Two or three minutes. Good puzzle. And thanks for introducing me to Skeptical Intelligencer Magazine. I’d never heard of it before today.

  3. Miss Chili says:

    Didn’t even need to finish reading it.

  4. ChrisR says:

    Read the question twice, scribbles on post-it note : 15 seconds

  5. burt777 says:

    I can think of a couple of solutions to this, but most of them are frowned upon in western society… Some aren’t legal in most countries…!

  6. DiscoveredJoys says:

    Immediate, and legal.

  7. Slange Navarr says:

    Simple. They live in Norfolk. Or they are hillbillies. Or they are time-travelling royalty.

  8. Steve Jones says:

    Well, there’s a perfectly rational explanation which does not involved any illegalities. However, I can quite imagine that they’ll all end up on the Jeremy Kyle show one day…

  9. RaduV says:

    10 minutes
    5 min to find a solution ( the illegal one )
    5 min to make the solution legal🙂

  10. Eddie says:

    Got it at last. Can now get on with my day.

  11. mgm75 says:

    I’ve seen this before so I knew the answer straight away🙂

  12. Lazy T says:

    Two mulls and I think I’ve the answer, why did it look so problematic on first reading?

  13. ivan says:

    My reaction was that this isn’t even a problem, although it would clearly require an unlikely sequence of events. No Norfolkian tendencies are required. Nor anything the Catholic church would disapprove of. Indeed anyone familiar with 19th century novels and the marriage habits there recorded can see that they wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.
    Not quite the same thing, nor quite so unlikely, but I do know two people who are each married to the other’s sibling.

  14. Ivan says:

    My reaction was that this isn’t even a problem, although it would clearly require an unlikely sequence of events. No Norfolkian tendencies are required. Nor anything the Catholic church would disapprove of. Indeed anyone familiar with 19th century novels and the marriage habits there recorded can see that they wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.
    Not quite the same thing, nor quite so unlikely, but I do know two people who are each married to the other’s sibling.

  15. Ivan says:

    My reaction was that this isn’t even a problem, although it would clearly require an unlikely sequence of events. No Norfolkian tendencies are required. Nor anything the Catholic church would disapprove of. Indeed anyone familiar with 19th century novels and the marriage habits there recorded can see that they wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.
    Not quite the same thing, nor quite so unlikely, but I do know two people who are each married to the other’s sibling..

  16. mittfh says:

    Silly answer: One of the men is colloquially known as “The Doctor”🙂

  17. Karen says:

    Why don’t the men say “Here ARE my wife and daughter?”

  18. john jahanpour-burke says:

    This Was A Good One. I Got It Instantly But It Was A Good Puzzle.

  19. Pogo Patterson says:

    Satisfying puzzle: didn’t solve it immediately but the eureka moment arrived within a minute or two via several unsatisfactory answers. I genuinely admire Richard for saving us from too many caveats. He seems to appreciate that those who argue for technically correct but different and less pleasing answers know deep down that they’re wrong, so why absolutely iron out all ambiguities or loopholes and spoil the flow of the question?

  20. Stan says:

    About 30 seconds and it reminded me of a funny movie maker.

  21. Fotoflex says:

    Got it! A few minutes.

  22. Anders says:

    how can this be true? The story or their statements? If the story, it’s trivial. I can say the same thing about any women, regardless of whether or not I’ve ever met them in my life. One is rarely under oath in a pub. If the statements, it took me about a minute to figure out how they could be true, and it would be legal pretty much everywhere I’m pretty sure,though I’m not a lawyer so any stonings resulting from taking this comment as legal advise is purely on your own head

  23. James Bailey says:

    I believe this could be outlined in the song “I Am My Own Grandpa”.

  24. Allison says:

    Got it right away. Maybe because of what’s happening in my own life!

  25. About two minutes – one minute to find a solution and one minute to check that it’s legal.

  26. Dharmaruci says:

    it is hard to know what atttitude to ADOPT to this puzzel. ha ha.

    • Sproz says:

      Adoption isn’t necessary to a solution. Plenty of other ways to have a wife who isn’t your daughter’s mother.

  27. Ben Saunders says:

    Since I’m primed to look for tricks and ambiguities in these, I’d like to point out one defect in the question “how can this be true?”.
    Does ‘this’ refer to what the men say – i.e. how can it be true that the wife and daughter of each of them just entered – or does it refer to the story? If the latter, there’s a very easy answer – one or both men were mistaken! (Nonetheless, it is true that they said what they did.)
    I think I have the ‘real’ answer, but it can be hard to know whether one’s answer will be the same as Richard’s.

  28. Arnold says:

    WOW! Astounding and well deserved.

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