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Math Riddles and Puzzles

Math Riddles and Puzzles

Math is a subject which is said to be a kind of a brain tester. There are so many math puzzles and riddles available that help sharpens one's logical thinking. This article has some for you.
Buzzle Staff
Last Updated: Feb 24, 2018
Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head.
-- Carl Sandburg
A puzzle is a problem that challenges one's ability to think out of the box, and come up with the right solution. Puzzles can be thought-provoking and entertaining, too. In recent times, puzzles have become the base for mathematical research. Arithmetic and logical puzzles have served this purpose well.

A riddle can be defined as an interrogatory statement that has two meanings, and is generally asked as a puzzle to be solved by the observant. Most riddles have a clue within themselves, and it lies in the creativity and presence of mind of the observer to crack it.

Let us have a look at some types of math riddles and puzzles.
Try Solving These
How can you add eight 8s to get the number 1,000 using only addition?

In a certain country, ½ of 5 = 3. If the same proportion holds, what is the value of ⅓ of 10?

Ryan can place 8 large boxes or 10 small boxes into a carton for transporting them. In one shipment, he sent a total of 96 boxes. If there are more large boxes than small boxes, how many cartons did he ship?

Brian, Rennie, and their dog start walking down a road in the same direction. They start at the same point and at the same time. Brian walks at 12 km/h, while Rennie walks at the speed of 10 km/h. Their dog runs from Brian to Rennie and back again with a constant speed of 15 km/h. How far does the dog travel in 1 hour?

If one and a half hen lays one and a half egg in one and a half day, how many eggs does one hen lay in one day?

Can you find the numbers A, B, C, and D so that the following calculation is proved?
A B C D x 4 = D C B A

Use four 9s in a math equation that equals 100.

What number comes next?
1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, ___

I add five to nine, and get two. The answer is correct, but how?

Jammy is a milkman. He has 3-liter and 5-liter milk cans. Now, he want to measure 4 liters from these milk cans. How can he do it?

There are 12 kids in a classroom. 6 kids are wearing socks and 4 are wearing shoes. 3 kids are wearing both. How many are bare feet?

Peter, Ricky, John, and Sam played basketball and scored different points: 24, 10, 6 and 28. Peter scored 4 times as many points as Sam. John scored more points than Ricky and Sam. Who scored how much?

What is the value of 1/2 of 2/3 of 3/4 of 4/5 of 5/6 of 6/7 of 7/8 of 8/9 of 9/10 of 1,000?

A baseball bat and ball costs USD 50. If the bat costs USD 49 more than the ball. What is the cost of each ?

1 = 5
2 = 25
3 = 325
4 = 4,325.
Then 5 = ?
Types of Riddles
In general, riddles can be divided into two main sections, namely, enigmas and conundrums. The former is a type of a question that is presented in a metaphorical language. These can be cracked or solved only after careful observation of the problem statement. Most ancient English poems had these kinds of enigmas embedded within them.

Conundrums are similar to enigmas, except that the answer lies hidden in the question itself. The application of the concept of punning can bring out the real answer hidden within the question. The usage of different meanings for the same word in the question with a common spelling too, can extract the hidden truth.
Types of Math Puzzles
Arithmetic Puzzles
Arithmetic puzzles are those that involve simple calculus and general mathematics. The solution simply depends on the correct application of the optimal method and performing a set of simple calculations to arrive at the final answer.
Algebraic Puzzles
Algebraic puzzles can be defined as those that involve any type of algebra to arrive at the solution. The question generally contains a statement that depicts the conditions of a problem statement precisely. In order to arrive at the solution, it is necessary that you apply theorems and common sense. Algebra does not stop with general algebra alone. The list also includes modern algebra and Boolean algebra, among others.
Combinatorial Puzzles
When a solution for a certain type of puzzle depends on the combinations or permutations of the entire input set, then the puzzle can be defined as a combinatorial puzzle. As stated earlier, the solution can only be arrived at, by using permutations and combinations of a valid set of required inputs. The solutions are relational within them, and the change in one dataset affects the whole solution.
Graph Puzzles
Certain kinds of puzzles involve the direct application of graph theory concepts, and hence, are known as graph puzzles. Well-known puzzles like the Königsberg Bridge Problem and the Shortest Path Problem are the best examples of graph puzzles.
Puzzles Based on Probability
A wide variety of puzzles are based on the concept of probability. Pure probabilistic theorems and pre-defined concepts related to probability can be used to arrive at the solution. Many arithmetic puzzles involve probabilistic puzzles within them and use probability to arrive at a part of the solution. The Monty Hall Problem and Three Prisoners Problem are well-known examples.
Puzzles Related to Packing and Dissecting
Most arithmetic problems come under this category of packing and dissecting. These are a set of trial and error kind of puzzles. The solutions to such puzzles are obtained by the method of induction. 'The Eight Queens Problem' in a chessboard is a good example of these type of problems.
Puzzles and riddles not only serve to be a good pastime, but also improve one's thinking capability and the pace of solving math problems. Just like your body muscles need exercise to develop, so does your brain require mental challenge to sharpen its thinking abilities. Try out as many math riddles and puzzles as you can. Make no mistake, after a point of time, it becomes addictive!