On Friday I set this puzzle.

A man was showing his guests his family portraits.  Pointing to one portrait, he said ‘I have no brothers or sisters, but that man’s father is my father’s son’.  Who was represented in the portrait?

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

The portrait was of the man’s son.  Did you solve it?

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. Eddie says:

Yes. In 1972.

2. fotoflex2013 says:

“Het is niet m’n broer, maar toch is het de zoon van m’n vader.
Rarara….Wie ben ik?”

3. Whistler says:

That was too easy.

4. Barry Goddard says:

Very simple if you reduce to maths symbols:

M – the mirror

TM – the man you are looking at in the mirror

TMF – TM’s father

ME – Me

MF – my father

MFS – my father’s son

XB, XS – no sisters or brotherers

Now

TMF = TFS

So cancelling Ts and Fs

M = S

So the mirror image is S, the sun

1. Bert says:

You forgot to carry the 1.

2. Baker's Dozen says:

You think writing an essay is simple?

5. It gets even simpler if you write the problem into an object-oriented pseudocode:

x.Father == me.Father.OnlySon

and you have to find ‘x’.

“me.Father.OnlySon” logically reduces to “me”.

You then get: “x.Father == me” which leads to: “x == me.Son”

1. That only works if you implicitely understand the relation between the father and son objects. Replace their names with less related terms like telephone and pillow, your pseudocode wouldn’t necessarily lead to that conclusion. 😉

6. Anonymous says:

Yawn

7. Oh, my goodness, I got this wrong! Like Fotoflex2013 above, I am used to the Dutch version of this riddle, and that tricked me into providing the Dutch answer, which doesn’t fit! Maybe something to explore in a next book, prof. Wiseman!

8. I did it by imagining the family tree and moving my focus up and down at each clue. I guess that makes me a visual learner.

1. Eddie says:

Never underestimate the power of the graphic in solving puzzles!

9. I think I read this one in my 1953 copy of Scouting for Boys that I kindly donated to the Broadcasting House library.

10. ctj says:

one day during a summit that was going very well for the US but very poorly for the USSR, michael gorbachev pulled george bush aside and asked, “how is it your people work so well for you?”

“that’s easy” replied bush. “i pick my own people.” to demonstrate his point, bush called over dan quayle, and asked him, “danny, who’s the son of your mother but not your brother?” “that’s me,” said quayle.” “aha!” said gorbachev, and it got him thinking.

upon his return to the USSR, gorbachev convened the supreme soviet. “i have only question for you – who is the son of your mother but not your brother?”

the soviet was silent. after gorbachev left, they formed a committee to research the question. after a few days, one of the committee members decided to ask boris yeltsin, who in answer to the question replied “that’s me!”

satisfied they now knew the answer, the committee reported back to the supreme soviet, who reconvened. gorbachev again took the podium and asked, “who is the son of your mother but not your brother?” to which the soviet members replied in unison, “boris yeltsin!”

“oh, no no no!” responded gorbachev, shaking his finger at them. “it’s dan quayle!”

1. That joke is almost as old as the riddle. Love it.

11. lenis says:

he is showing himself

12. Lazy T says:

13. Anonymous says:

Couldn’t it also be a picture ot the man himself ?

1. It depends what you mean by “ot”.
It could not be a picture of the man himself, however, cloning notwithstanding.

2. Trevor Day says:

Lord Manley FC: Yes, it could. Read it again. It is either the narrator or the narrator’s son.

3. Lord Manley Fan Club says:

Trevor, Zippy,

As members of the Lord Manley Fan Club it is axiomatic that we are not the sharpest tools in the box.

Would you therefore be so kind as to guide us through your answer?

Taking the puzzle apart, verbatim:-

“A man was showing his guests his family portraits. ”

“Pointing to one portrait, he said ‘I have no brothers or sisters,” — Hence the speaker is an only child.

“but that man’s father” — the father of the man in the picture

“is my father’s son” — is the speaker, as the speaker is an only child

“Who was represented in the portrait?”

So the father of the man in the picture is the speaker.

Put another way, the man in the picture is son of the speaker.

What am I missing (other than a life)?

The first one of you to provide a good answer will receive a year’s free membership to TLMFC (not including the annual outing).

14. zippy says:

Yes it could also be a picture of the man reciting the puzzle

15. I’m pretty sure I learned this one back in the 60’s, but the comments were fun to read.

16. The correct answer, as anyone knows, is “A taxi driver I met in New York.”

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