My Indian friend Jamal recently participated in the well-known TV quiz show Who wants to be a millionaire?. You might have heard or read about Jamal's spectacular success; the media reported on it extensively.

Here is what Jamal told us about the 250.000 Euro question:

During the next commercial break, Prem Kumar moved his face really close to mine. In a low voice, he made an offending remark that I'm not going to repeat here. Strangely enough, when the show resumed, he beamed at me with a gaze of pure paternal pride, and even chuckled at my first remark.

The 250.000 Euro question was a catastrophe, and I did not know any of the three terms mentioned in it, strange and peculiar sounding terms indeed. I decided to use the answers to get some better insight. At this level of the show, every wrong answer actually fits part of the question, and the trick is to identify the answers that do not fit more than that.

Answer A almost fit the first strange term in the question, but I knew that this was a Japanese product, and that it should have been spelled with a double-S. Answer B was obvious nonsense and a pure give-away for Indian citizens, anyway. At least the second strange term in the question was neither Braman nor Visnun. Nothing in answer C rang a bell. Answer D again touched my area of expertise, and I immediately knew that it had to be wrong: the third strange term in the question had a letter R in the end that did not belong there, similarly to Delphir and Basicr.

As I had successfully excluded A, B, and D, the only good answer was C. And so I said to Prem: "This time I will go for C!". Nailed it!!

What was the 250.000 Euro question?
What were the four possible answers A, B, C, D?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I like these puzzles so much I hope Jamal never becomes a millionaire! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


New answer with much credit going to Alexis for turning my first answer on its head

The strange terms are

Nisan, Sivan, and Adar as figured in my first answer below.

The question becomes

"What are Nisan, Sivan, and Adar?"

The answers are

A: American cars (question wording implies that the answer refers to cars that are not Japanese; I think any other kind of car works here), B: Hindu gods, C: months in the Hebrew calendar, and D: Programming languages

Original answer, contains reasoning that I didn't repeat above

Answers A is:

Nisan (almost Nissan, a Japanese car)

B is:

Sivan (take "Shiva", remove the h and add an n to the end to get "Sivan". The same transformation on "Brahma" nets "Braman",and the transformation on "Vishnu" nets Visnun. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu are the names of Hindu gods.

D is:

Adar. Delphi and Basic are programming languages, add R to get Delphir and Basicr. Ada is another programming language.

But the answers are all actually

Months in the Hebrew calendar.

Determining the question:

Adar, Nisan, and Sivan all contain Jewish festivals from the Bible. Tishrei is the only other month that has a Biblical festival, it actually has 3 (or 4 depending on how you look at it). So I conclude that...


The question is "what month of the Hebrew calendar contains the festivals of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot?" and answers are A: Nisan, B: Sivan, C: Tishrei, D: Adar.

My only uncertainty with this answer is that it is unclear how Jamal would think the answers fit the strange terms.

  • $\begingroup$ I got Nisan, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't make the connection to the rest. Fantastic answer. $\endgroup$
    – Will
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ The answers should be different: What are Adar, Nissan, Sivan? A) Japanese cars B) Hindu gods C) calendar months D) programming languages $\endgroup$
    – Alexis
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 17:13
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Alexis I think yours is probably the correct answer, but the order would be Nisan, Sivan, and Adar, based on the wording posed in the question $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 17:19

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