A madman went into the room of time,
To find his great wit and line;
To his dismay he swallowed some wine,
And now he can only count nine.

Clearly nine cannot be right,
For this has some sides of eight;
He needs to solve this before he is late;
How many hours can he create?

enter image description here

Bonus: How long does the madman have to live?


Be sure to look deeper,
Straight edges there's more;
Curved edge is a keeper,
If viewed from a corner.


The glass can be viewed from the side or an angle,
But not from the top as the time is not able;
The slice is a piece that is greater than twoscore,
But less than a day that is threescore and stable.

  • $\begingroup$ do the objects have to be symmetrical? $\endgroup$
    – AHKieran
    Jan 31, 2019 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ @AHKieran nope, as long as it's an hourglass $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Jan 31, 2019 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ This looks really well-made! How long did you spend on it? $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2019 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @North Thanks to my friend who is traveled together... the first time I tried the res was too low... I increased the size to three hundred per inch... redid for an hour or so I don't know. $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


The answer is ONE.

Here's how:

The exact effect can be obtained by placing one hour-glass in the middle of a room with 8 mirrors. We used to have such mirror-tube toys when we were kids.

And now he can only count nine - [VALID]

Clearly nine cannot be right - [TRUE]

For this has some sides of eight - [the 8 in the answer]

Hints are helpful, but I did not find them really necessary since I practically encountered devices making identical effects.


I'm not sure I'm solid on what we're being asked but:

I can count 16 hour glass shapes that have flat edges (aka don't use an arc of a circle as one edge)

One could also say that the circles are hourglasses viewed from the top, e.g. the darkest most central circle is the top of an hour glass, and the palest blue just outside that is the bottom half of it that is slightly bigger. And the next two blue circles that get slightly darker as they go out are another hourglass, making the total 18. enter image description here
Each of the shapes indicated by the red line and the black line are an hourglass that is repeated 8 times, for a total of 16 hourglasses.
Therefore I deduce that the man has 18 hours to live. The man can see this as it is 2 sets of 9.

  • $\begingroup$ HINT: Nice try but look deeper... straight edges there's more... curved edge is a keeper... if viewed from a corner... $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Jan 31, 2019 at 16:51

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