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There are 5 identical standard bricks lying on the table. Your hand is large enough to wrap around one brick only. How can you lift all 5 bricks at once with just one hand? You cannot use any other items or assist with your body. This challenge can be completed in real life.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I might have an idea, … or three. To narrow it down: Do you have strength to hold and lift from any position, as long as you are only touching one brick? Can you arrange them first, with one hand? Is the table surface thick? Are you very good at balancing and throwing? $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2023 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ You have the strength to hold 5 bricks, but not from any position. Think of what is possible in real life.You can arrange them first as you wish. The table surface is thick. You are average at balancing. $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2023 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ This seems like there's any number of trivial solutions of varying efficacy. I think to add to the challenge you might add a rule that 4 of the 5 bricks are covered in corrosive acid (or something similar), so you cannot touch them at all, but must move them all by pushing them around with the 5th clean brick. I can think of a way to do that, but it might not fit the format of a "puzzle"... $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2023 at 17:06

3 Answers 3

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The criteria are a little unclear, so here are three possible solutions.

Firstly, you could set the first brick vertically, and stack the other bricks flat on top. This may be unstable, and gripping the bottom brick from the side may be hard.
Secondly, you could lay the first brick flat, and at each end stack the other bricks on their side. Gripping and lifting the lower brick from above should be no problem, but the stacked bricks might still be unstable.
Lastly, you could do the same as the previous, but stack the top two bricks crosswise, to form a kind of chimney. You should still be able to reach through and lift the bottom brick. The bottom brick could be put on its side if that is easier to grip and lift.

Brick solutions

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    $\begingroup$ Nice! If one can hold the weight from an ‘overhand grip’, then this should definitely be feasible. Cool illustrations. $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2023 at 6:40
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    $\begingroup$ Great work! The third one is my intended solution. Although might be easier to grip if the bottom brick is on its side. I also like the other two solutions, but they could be quite hard to execute due to balancing problems $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2023 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ The third arrangement is the standard building site "trick" but with the bottom brick on edge (if it has a frog it's also easier to grip) as mentioned. Depending on the length of your arm, more than 5 can be lifted. $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2023 at 11:03
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Simple, I just ...

make sure the bricks are evenly distributed and then I lift the entire table.
It helps that my table is one of these: A basic pub table Bricks weigh about 4.3 pounds and the actual pictured table here is about 17, so the whole load is about 40 pounds. A typical adult can easily grip and lift this by grabbing the center pole just below the tabletop.

Any suitably balanced light-weight table that can be safely lifted with one hand should work for this.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice solution, but unfortunately you cannot use any other items. $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2023 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ @DmitryKamenetsky: Looking back at the question, it says: “There are 5 identical standard bricks lying on the table.[…] You cannot use any other items or assist with your body.” It seems very reasonable to interpret “any other items” as meaning “other than the ones named”, which would allow use of the table. $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2023 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterLeFanuLumsdaine This is in fact my interpretation and is why I assumed the table was in play. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jun 17, 2023 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the loophole. $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2023 at 12:00
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What about this:

Put the first brick over the edge of the table, so it merely stays on the table and doesn't fall.

Stack the 4 other bricks over the first one.

Lift the stack from below
enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ This is what a normal person (not a puzzler) would do. $\endgroup$
    – iBug
    Jun 18, 2023 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ A very elegant solution, requiring less strength $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2023 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ Have you tried lifting 5 bricks in this way? I think it's quite hard... $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2023 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ LOL are puzzlers not normal people? ;) $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2023 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ Those are not bricks but tissue boxes. Bricks would topple to the left PDQ, as you have not got your hand underneath the CofG. Unless you have an unseen thumb squashed between the stack and the table, I bet a pound to a penny you didn't actually lift bricks by grasping the one at the bottom. You would need to drag them off the table, and maintain a tricky balancing act. It's a nice fake though. $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2023 at 19:01

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