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John and his wife own a car that fits a maximum of 5 people. He drives Molly to work every day. On his way, he drops his three kids off at school, and his mom at the mall.

How did everyone fit in the Car?

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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of this question. It was very funny and there were a lot of possibilities. But in the end it was indeed too broad exactly because there are so many possible answers and so few things constraining them that almost everything could be an answer. Sorry, I've voted to close this question as too broad for the same reason. $\endgroup$ – Victor Stafusa Nov 19 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ While these type of lateral-thinking questions can be entertaining, they work better in a face-to-face context. On Puzzling.SE, we require that a puzzle have one, umambiguously correct answer, that can be arrived at through reasoning, not guesswork. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Nov 19 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ @VictorStafusa Sorry, there might be a lot of possibilities on how we think and approach the problem but it was a pretty logical puzzle to solve. And your examples seem to be a lot wider with the overthinking.... $\endgroup$ – Krishna Nov 20 at 5:08
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    $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain Sorry, this puzzle has the ambiguously correct answer, that can be arrived at through Logical Thinking, not guesswork. $\endgroup$ – Krishna Nov 20 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Krishna If this is the case, I suggest you to edit the question to add something that answerers can do to verify if the answer is good and reject possible bad answers without having to resort to asking you. As it is, there seems to be no way to draw a reasonable conclusion about an idea being classifiable either as "bad" or "the perfect unique solution that solves everything". At least, present some evidence that there is indeed an unambiguous correct answer reachable through Logical Thinking instead of pure guesswork. If you do that, I'll happily vote for a reopen. $\endgroup$ – Victor Stafusa Nov 20 at 6:23

14 Answers 14

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John and his wife have:

named their car Molly.

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    $\begingroup$ Man, I wanted to post that ! $\endgroup$ – Pierre Cathé Nov 19 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ The only answer that fits perfectly without any trick. $\endgroup$ – Echox Nov 19 at 15:51
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Hazarding a guess,

His mother's name is Molly

and

she works at the mall.

There is no

paradox at all; some misdirection is employed with the phrase "and his wife." Our brains automatically assume that the next name mentioned (Molly) refers to his wife. We also assume that the mother is going to the mall to shop. Neither of these things are true, and there are simply 5 people in the car.

Alternatively,

"Perhaps Molly is the name of the car, since he drops off his mother 'on the way' to driving Molly to work." - Jay We could also assume other non-human items might be the intended answer, but I find this unlikely. Still, they would fit.

As a note,

while this puzzle is certainly entertaining, it floats at least somewhat near the closure line. Some puzzles in this genre are not suitable for this site (again, it is my opinion that this one is suitable).

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    $\begingroup$ [rot13] Creuncf Zbyyl vf gur anzr bs gur pne, fvapr ur qebcf bss uvf zbgure "ba gur jnl" gb qevivat Zbyyl gb jbex. $\endgroup$ – Jay Nov 19 at 6:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Jay has a very good point. $\endgroup$ – Bass Nov 19 at 6:21
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm. The phrase "On his way..." makes me favor Jay's suggestion. $\endgroup$ – user3294068 Nov 19 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ The wording makes the first answer here rather awkward - you're suggesting that John drops his mother off at work while on his way to drop his mother off at work, which doesn't really make any sense. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Wang Nov 19 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ Please don't put notes like that in your posts. They belong in comments. It just leaves a horrible taste in your post. $\endgroup$ – Araucaria - Not here any more. Nov 19 at 18:58
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John owns two cars - one that fits 5, and the other fits 7. The latter is the car he usually drives.

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  • $\begingroup$ Fits latteral thinking. $\endgroup$ – kyle Nov 19 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ This reminds me of the coin that's not a nickel. $\endgroup$ – Admiral Jota Nov 19 at 20:15
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Here's my ___ theory...

...in which the blank stands for "pet"...my pet theory...hahaha...heh...ehh...

Anyway, my theory is that everyone fits in the car because John, his mother, and his kids all sit in seats.

Molly is a Chihuahua or some similarly-sized pet that fits in a crate/cage/carrier in the trunk. John's workplace allows for pets.

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  • $\begingroup$ what i thought. My coworker would drive their Molly to work too $\endgroup$ – aaaaa says reinstate Monica Nov 19 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ I assume you mean John, his mother and his kids, not John, his wife and their kids, since we know his mother gets dropped off; while his wife just owns the car. $\endgroup$ – JMac Nov 19 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, my bad. Mixed up familial relations. $\endgroup$ – CGreen Nov 19 at 20:01
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Double solution:

One of his children is called Molly and works as a schoolteacher. Despite the name, Molly is a male (or perhaps it's a surname or an assumed gender), and John drops his (Molly's) mom, i.e. John's wife, at the mall where she works.

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Another try:

John's mom works as a school janitor (in the same school where his kids learn) at night shifts, so John picks her up at school, not at home (first he drops off his kids, then waits some time for his mom, then drives her to the mall).

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And now for something completely different:

John works as a streetcar driver. Molly takes his bus to her place of work every day. The route he's driving goes from his house to his childrens' school and also the mall, so his children and mother can take the streetcar he drives to get there. The streetcar can carry plenty of people. His own car doesn't even enter into it :)

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    $\begingroup$ The lateral thinking is nice! However, the question "How did everyone fit in the car?" implies to me that the car was involved somehow. $\endgroup$ – CGreen Nov 19 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @CGreen good point - edited my answer to address this! $\endgroup$ – Frauke Nov 19 at 15:51
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Here is my answer:

John drops his kids and mom off on the way to Molly's house to pick her up. Maybe she's a coworker that lives a little ways down the road, with the mall and school between them.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edit, @Rewan. $\endgroup$ – Hosch250 Nov 19 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ You’re welcome! $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Nov 19 at 18:21
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Since the phrase "on his way" seems to clearly indicate that

Molly isn't the same person as his mother or one of his kids, because he can't drop them off somewhere while he's still "on the way" to driving them someplace,

I have two other possible solutions:

His mother doesn't live with him. He picks her up after dropping off the kids, because both her house and the mall are along the way from the school to Molly's workplace.

Or, alternately:

One of the kids is an infant being dropped off at nursery school while he and his wife work, so they're able to ride in somebody's lap.

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John and his wife own a car that fits a maximum of 5 people, that is why he has to drop out some. And he did it.

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3
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If Molly is his wife's name:

Molly works at the children's school and is pregnant with the third child.

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Here is my guess:

John, three children, and Molly get in the car= 5 people in the car. Drop the youngest at school = 4 people in the car, picks up his mom at her house = 5 people in the car. Drops Molly at work, drops his mother at the Mall, Drops the remaining children at their school.

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It could be that:

His mother works cleaning classrooms at the children's school and has the teaching part of the day off when the classrooms are all being used. So when he drops his kids off at school, he picks up his mother to take to the mall.

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  • John is driving the car.
  • John's wife is irrelevant.
  • Molly, John's mom, works at the mall.
  • John drops off his three kids at school, on the way to Molly's work at the mall.

John, Molly, and three kids in the car.

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