Answer to the Friday Puzzle….


coverOn Friday I set this puzzle….

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.
If you have not tried to solve it, have a go now.  For everyone else the answer is after the break.
The two men are widowers who each married the daughter of the other.
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.

41 comments on “Answer to the Friday Puzzle….

  1. Infophile says:

    I had another solution, though it requires one to consider step- and -in-laws as legitimate daughters and mothers. Basically, one man is the father of the other man, and a widower. One woman is the mother of the other woman, and a widow. The father marries the daughter and the son marries the widow. This meets the requirements of the puzzle, and it also manages to make everyone involved their own grandparent.

  2. Steve Jones says:

    The two men don’t need to be widowers. Either, or both could be divorcees. For that matter, they may not even have married the mother of their daughter. In fact I’d argue that in with current social circumstances and extended life spans that some combination of divorces and/or illegitimate births is more likely than the double widowerhood explanation, although I’d grant that if the scenario was set in times past with more conservative social outlooks and worse health care then Richards version would be the more likely.

    Of course all are functionally equivalent explanations.

  3. RobJ says:

    I didn’t really consider status of the mother to be all that relevant. I don’t think they need to be widowers, or divorcees or anything. Simply that they married each others’ daughters. Sure, they must have had those daughters somehow, but it’s not really relevant to the puzzle is it? It just adds complication to the solution.

    • Anne Elk says:

      The daughters are the misleading bit, as others have suggested above. They could be the daughters of women not mentioned. Each man happens to have married one of them. A bit unlikely, I grant you, but…

  4. Stu says:

    Is there anyone else who finds this puzzle to be just a little bit creepy?

  5. Alma says:

    I rather like the solution (equally valid!) that someone mentioned somewhere to this puzzle: There is a female musical duo with the (unusual, but many of them are) name My Wife And Daughter, and the 2 members of this group just walked in through the door. Hence the comments from the 2 men . . . 🙂

  6. Rob says:

    My answer was ‘the two men are each about six feet tall and married each others daughters’. I feel like such an idiot.

  7. Eddie says:

    Any creepiness maybe due to the reciprocity of the arrangement…

  8. Am I being stupid here? If each marries the daughter of the other, neither can say that the daughter is his daughter.

  9. Karsten says:

    Another solution is that they have married their own daugters, a bit more creepie perhaps but still logicaly correct.Even if it’s not legal in most parts of the world.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s a complete coincidence. There are six people already in the pub: two families, each consisting of husband, wife and daughter. Two more women walk in, and are introduced by the two husbands, each of whom get to say “Here is my wife and daughter”. They’re talking *to* the new arrivals (or each other), rather than about the new arrivals.

  11. Tommy says:

    It’s a complete coincidence. There are six people already in the pub: two families, each consisting of husband, wife and daughter. Two more women walk in, and are introduced by the two husbands, each of whom get to say “Here is my wife and daughter”. They’re talking *to* the new arrivals (or each other), rather than about the new arrivals.

  12. Police Bureau says:

    The only way that this is a puzzle is if it would never occur to you that you might not be married to the mother of your child. I can understand that when this puzzle was first presented this was probably an assumption that it was considered “proper” to make. The fact that the “solution” feels it is necessary to point out the the previous wives actually died reinforces this.

    In the modern world, though, it’s barely even a puzzle. Call the men Alan and Barry, and the women Chloe and Daisy. Alan is Chloe’s husband and Daisy’s dad. Barry is Daisy’s husband and Chloe’s dad. Where’s the puzzle?

    These days it may be more of a puzzle to start with the fact that each one can call the other both his father-in-law and his son-in-law, or that the women are each others’ stepmothers and stepdaughters.

  13. sangeeta says:

    didn’t get

  14. Arr says:

    Can that be about the reflexion of one man in a mirror? 🙂 s man and his reflexion,his wife and a daughter!

  15. After a lot of thinking and kerfuffling, on Friday I worked out this solution:

    1. Albert married Beatrice
    2. Charles married Doris
    3. Albert & Beatrice had a daughter Elizabeth
    4. Charles & Doris had a daughter Frances
    5. Beatrice & Doris died
    6. Charles married Elizabeth
    7. Albert married Frances
    Elizabeth was daughter of Albert & wife of Charles
    Frances was daughter of Charles & wife of Albert

    … but now I realise that Richard’s answer is the same thing but stated much more concisely. In other words, it’s less complicated than I thought.

  16. James Bailey says:

    Along the same line as Infophile stated at the top, this old classic by Ray Stevens should help to make it clear… or maybe not!

  17. Topher says:

    Here in ‘merica, a pregnant woman occasionally counts as two people, e.g. if she’s the victim of a crime that results in her death, the perp gets two counts of murder/manslaughter. Hence, I just assumed both women were pregnant, especially because of the “Here is…” wording.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I thought that they were just two women who walked in and the two men were just showing pictures of their wife and daughter.

  19. Dharmaruci says:

    why do so many peoples read mr wiseman’s puzzels if they do not agree with the ans?

  20. Zach says:

    “My wife!” [slap] “My daughter!” [slap] “My wife!” [slap] …

    • Greg says:

      I had an answer but thought it was a bit of a cheat. The two 2 men are each married to the 2 women. The women and mother and daughter. The daughter is also pushing a pram with her daughter. The grand daughter technically did not “walk” into the pub.

  21. ivan says:

    Some people are making very heavy weather of this. The wording of the question basically needs no explanation, and to the extent one explains it at all, it is as Richard has it. Two men cannot be married to the same woman, therefor each is married to the daughter of the other. To avoid consanguinity (being married to your own grand-daughter), that requires each to have a previous wife who is the mother of the daughter.

  22. HH says:

    Or the two men are vicars…

  23. Edmundo says:

    Such MTAs are called open mail relays This was extremely crucial in the early days of the Online when network connections had been unreliable.

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