On Friday I set this puzzle…..

The day before yesterday Joan was 17.  Next year she will be 20.  How can that be the case?

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

The statement was made on 1st January and Joan’s birthday was on 31st December.

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. The day before yesterday would have made her birthday the 30th December if the statement was made on the 1st January surely…

    1. Thanks to all those who stood by me during the vindicative posts of the past weekend.

      I am glad now to have been vindicated. A few quibbles aside the “official” answer and mine are completely consonant.

      Incidentally fully over more than half the posts made using my name (and/or spelling variations of it) are not by me. They are from anonymous trolls playing some sort of impersonation game. Let us stand firm against them.

    2. “I am glad now to have been vindicated.”
      What absolute bollocks. Here is what you said:

      1. “Today is 30/12/2014 (I pick a year to make it more real)”
      Answer is today is 1st January (any year).

      2. “… and it is her 19th birthday tomorrow.”
      Her (18th) birthday is the day before the statement was made not after. Her 19th birthday is actually 364 days from “now”.

      Not sure where all these people who apparently stood by you are hiding. The only thing for us to stand firm against is your incessant spoiling and repeated claiming to be right when you are so very wrong.

    3. Barry, I could come up with something witty here, using an amusing spoonerism of your name, but frankly I think I speak for most people on this board when I say, “Please, just fuck off.”

    4. @Steve

      When I read such words as yours I am disheartened by the state of internet commentary.

      Yet I am heartened to remember the wise words of pundit Mohendra k Gandhi: “First they laugh at you. Then they attack you. But never never surrender”.

      The silent majority speak louder than your barbs and I shall listen and be comforted.

    5. Sorry to hear that you’re so disheartened by the “state of internet commentary”, Barry. Really though, you should be disheartened by the fact that Steve has clearly shown that your claim of vindication is completely belied by your own previous statements. However, instead of addressing this, you choose to ignore it and instead misquote Gandhi.

      You still haven’t explained how someone could be 17 and then, a mere two days later, 19. That would be because you can’t. Anyone with a shred of self-respect would have just admitted that they had made a mistake, instead of falsely claiming that the above solution was “consonant” with their obviously impossible explanation.

    6. Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
      Thy micturations are to me
      As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.
      Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
      And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
      Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts
      With my blurglecruncheon, see if I don’t!”

  2. She was 17 on the 30th last year
    She became 18 on the 31st last year
    She will become 19 on the 31st this year
    She will become 20 on the 31st next year. 

    1. Which brings to mind the old joke about programmers confusing Halloween and Christmas, since Oct 31 = Dec 25 🙂

  3. My solution: Joan is an infant. The units of measure are days, not years. So the day before yesterday, Joan was 17 days old. Today she is 19 days old. Next year she will be 20 days old. The statement was made on December 31st, so “next year” is in just one day.

    1. This was my solution as well. It’s completely valid and I actually like it better as it’s less complicated.

    1. Joan never mentioned you. She told me about the pies but said she only told me and Jason.

  4. To me, the date didn’t matter. I took “next year” to mean “in a year’s time” or “365 days from now”, so this would work on any day of the year.

    1. No it won’t. “The day before yesterday” has to be in the previous year, so this will only work on 1st January

    2. But if you take “next year” to mean “365 days from now,” the day before yesterday IS in the previous year.

      At least in my circles, when referencing someone’s age, “next year” doesn’t go by the calendar, but by their birthday. E.g., “She’s only turning 29 this year, but when she turns 30 next year, we’ll have a big party.”

  5. The obvious solution seems to me that we are counting in octal, rather than decimal, here and the number that comes after 17 is 20.

  6. Discussing the answer after it has officially been given is rather silly… Let’s hope Richard will allow Friday comments, allowing us to discuss the accuracy of spoilers, as we used to do.

    1. the whole point is to talk about how richard got it wrong, or about alternative answers.

      although i concede that prohibiting comments on the friday puzzle has put a damper on all of the barry goddard clones. pity

    2. I agree with CTJ… I never thought I’d say this, but I actually *miss* the bickering of some of the subliterate wankers who wash up here or are directed here by their carers. It’s always good to have someone to laugh at on a Friday.

  7. I am so horny right now i love it when people fucl up and try to act lile they didnt make a miatake even though they so clearly did…

    P.s. who wants to suck my 2 inch chode???

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