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Questions tagged [real]

For puzzles that presented themselves, with real parameters and consequences, during otherwise non-puzzling activities.

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62 votes
4 answers
3k views

Which duplo digit is 6 or 9?

Not every question has to be as hard as possible, here is an easy one. I joined my kids playing with duplo, and found out that the duplo 9 and 6 look exactly the same if you turn one of them 180 ...
78 votes
1 answer
20k views

Unsolved Mysteries: Kryptos

This is the second in a series of Unsolved Mysteries posts. These posts explore current unsolved real-world puzzles. Since these have been unsolved for years, it's uncertain whether anyone on on ...
18 votes
0 answers
699 views

Determining the meaning of a challenge coin

I saw this rather cool looking challenge coin the other day, and I was wondering what the associated binary on the back of it means, as it isn't standard ASCII. In plaintext: ...
6 votes
1 answer
501 views

Late 18th/early 19th century numbers grid

I was researching an historical figure on the Isle of Man, Capt George Quayle (b.1751 - d.1835), and in amongst the museum's papers was this numbers grid which was part of his effects. The museum ...
11 votes
1 answer
791 views

What does this symbol mean

This is a real life question. I have a hat that has this symbol on it I can't figure out what it means. I have asked everyone I know. But I didn't get good answers. So What does it mean? Even if ...
42 votes
1 answer
12k views

The Beale Papers

The background to this one's given here. NB: These may not be a genuine cryptograms (current thinking is that these are gibberish); but I though it interesting to share these in case they're genuine/...
3 votes
2 answers
328 views

Was Exhibit 5 of the Chaocipher ever solved, and if so who solved it and when?

Was Exhibit 5 of the Chaocipher (published c.1991) ever solved, and if so, who solved it and when? Chaocipher is a cipher that was created by J.F. Byrne in 1918 as a machine-based cryptography system,...
8 votes
5 answers
924 views

Buying weight plates for a home gym, what is the fewest number I need

I'm buying a home gym set-up for my son (really!) and I want to know the fewest number of weight plates I need to buy to be able to go up in 5kg increments to 170kg. The bar weighs 20kg and the ...
10 votes
3 answers
756 views

Optimal refueling strategy

On the way home from work, I want to refuel my car. There are 5 petrol stations along the way that all have a different price for petrol. I know that the prices will be in the range [A, B], chosen ...
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

How can this be?

I was driving on the highway and saw a car with the following sign: "Caution: blind driver". I checked and the sign was describing true events. How can this be possible?
20 votes
10 answers
4k views

What did I photograph?

What did I capture in these photos and how did it happen? This is straight from my camera without any edits or filters. Hint 1: Hint 2: Hint 3:
-2 votes
1 answer
460 views

Another Zodiac Killer Puzzle

This is a multi-part puzzle concerning the Zodiac Killer "Pines" card sent to the San Francisco Chronicle on March 22, 1971. I will ask it as a series of questions and hints, as I think it's ...
74 votes
8 answers
24k views

My friend sent me a photo of his keyboard, but there's something I can't figure out about it

Two months ago, my friend bought a new Chromebook. He told me yesterday that while he is happy with the computer overall, he's not that impressed by the quality of the keyboard. My friend is an ...
25 votes
5 answers
2k views

Colouring a rug

I have a rectangular rug in my living room composed of coloured patches (shown below). For convenience I have labelled each distinct colour from 1 to 6. Let's suppose that it was created by starting ...
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Who can solve this cipher?

The following cipher is moderately difficult but not impossible. It is (IMO) probably easily solvable for an experienced professional code breaker. ...
4 votes
2 answers
318 views

Waffleing my Egg

This morning I had a waffle and a fried egg for breakfast. The fried egg was cooked with a mold, so it was perfectly round and three inches in diameter. The waffle was a 3-inch by 4-inch grid of one ...
129 votes
5 answers
142k views

Is this duplo train track under too much tension?

My kids were making this train track of duplo the other day, and this is what they put together. They are still very young, and for them, this is something big. They were really proud that they ...
6 votes
0 answers
863 views

Need help with a cipher: "poems" with capital letters

I am trying to figure out a cipher I think I found in a book from 1982 and it's a 36 year old mystery we are trying to solve (I will reveal the book if this turns out to be something so everyone can ...
3 votes
1 answer
295 views

What food am I making?

I was planning to make two portions, but didn't have enough potable water. Then I decided to make four portions, and the water was plentiful. What food was I making? Hint 1: Hint 2:
4 votes
3 answers
4k views

How to solve an Enigma Puzzle without indication?

A friend of mine just wrote one thing on a board : TEJDAO QZ OCUQJ UVANBVCR The only indication was "Enigma Puzzle". If it is really an Enigma like code how ...
4 votes
2 answers
772 views

Martin's magic teapot

Martin really likes tea. In fact he likes it so much that he made his own magic teapot. The first time he pours from it he gets black tea, the second time he pours milk, and finally he pours tea with ...
3 votes
3 answers
3k views

Lifting 5 bricks with one hand

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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
656 views

Decode the letters from a criminal organization

Last Saturday (2018-12-08), the Brazilian police caught those letters written by the bosses of a big Brazilian criminal organization in jail intended to be delivered to their men in the streets. The ...
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

A strange construction of locks

This gate is locked with 6 locks. What is the purpose of this construction?
6 votes
2 answers
354 views

Boxeslayers to the rescue

This is about layering boxes, not about slaying them. We have 1,830 2×5 boxes to stack safely as 10 alternating contiguous layer patterns of 183 boxes each. Layers have identical silhouettes that fit ...
13 votes
4 answers
604 views

This number sequence has entered my life recently

Just recently, I've noticed this sequence of numbers has become a pretty big part of my life. It goes like this: 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12 So here's the mystery: What is this sequence? Where do I keep seeing ...
-1 votes
2 answers
201 views

Football winners without scoring [closed]

A football (soccer) team didn't score any goals, yet they still won the game. How is this possible?
16 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is there a secret message in the first decimals of PI?

Is there a secret message encoded in the first decimals of $\pi$? Source: Vi Hart
18 votes
10 answers
2k views

Two many rainbows?

Wish I’d had a camera at the time but a cartoon will have to suffice, representing two actual incomplete rainbows that stop in midair where they meet, lit only by a setting sun. This seemed so ...
31 votes
1 answer
3k views

Goodbye grand mother <3

My grand-mother died the 17th of June 20 from cancer after spending the last three months nearly alone in her house because of the COVID Pandemic. I dedicate her this puzzle. She's Lao and today, for ...
4 votes
2 answers
265 views

The case of a piece that could go missing

What piece of hardware was after all unnecessary? And how? These diagrams, though somewhat schematic, are meant to directly represent everything pertinent. Nothing has been omitted or added to ...
8 votes
11 answers
2k views

Beware of raining cephalopods

The picture depicts a real traffic sign painted in South Africa. It was intended to be an official traffic sign - but the painter, being unfamiliar with them, painted this according to the brief he ...
9 votes
1 answer
516 views

Reconstructing the Candidates Tournament 2018

The Candidates Tournament 2018 was an eight-player double round-robin chess tournament, which was held in Berlin, Germany, between 10–28 March 2018. The winner, Fabiano Caruana, earned the right to ...
0 votes
6 answers
644 views

How can you drive back without refueling? [closed]

My husband and I set out for a day trip towards a tourist town 20km away from our location. We only have enough fuel to reach the town, but my husband assured me that we will easily drive back to our ...
8 votes
2 answers
599 views

Largest rectangle from 20 Lego bricks

You have twenty 2x4 Lego bricks, like the one shown below What is the area of the largest rectangle you can make satisfying the following conditions: All bricks must be connected in a single ...
20 votes
5 answers
2k views

The Greenhouse Problem

While I was playing a certain popular indie farming game, I came across a dilemma. I have a greenhouse that I'd like to fill as efficiently as possible. How many plants can I fit in the greenhouse? ...
20 votes
3 answers
1k views

Early 1900's Paper Puzzle - Release the Key and Live Forever

This puzzle was found in an old attic and was a religious invitation. Release the key and you could send it in to receive a Bible based book. Apparently 1000's were made but I can find no more other ...
5 votes
2 answers
680 views

Gold, silver and bronze in the balance

Equivalent to finding three heaviest coins in order of weight, on a balance that holds one coin on each side. (Simplified, with some Wikipedia references corrected, from the original puzzle. The ...
2 votes
2 answers
376 views

Scheduling Meetings

I came across this problem in real life and thought it could be made into an interesting puzzle. I will enjoy seeing how my eventual solution could be improved! Here's the situation. There ...
26 votes
4 answers
4k views

The "Loop of rope" dilemma

It's a "dilemma" that I encountered in real life problems. I believe that it's not new and is quite easy to explain, but may look puzzling at first glance. Alice and Bob are playing with a ...
9 votes
2 answers
507 views

Third timer's a charm

Three motorized 24-hour light timers are arranged between a power outlet and a light bulb, with timer A parallel to a daisy chain of timers B and  C. For these timers, devise schedules that ...
6 votes
1 answer
274 views

What are these two athletes talking about?

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon are currently the two drivers driving for Alpine Racing Team in the 2021 Formula 1 season. Earlier today, Fernando and Esteban had this conversation in clearly coded ...
8 votes
1 answer
361 views

Simple puzzle, but that's not the point - what's the significance of the spacing of the shelves?

We had a cabinet that used to contain CDs. We liked the cabinet but had to admit that we hadn't taken them out for years. We decided to put some shelves in the middle (the outer ones will have hanging ...
9 votes
0 answers
684 views

Signatures of serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards?

This is from a real-life murder-mystery. In 2009 Edward Wayne Edwards was arrested and convicted of five murders, following a tip-off from his daughter April. Former detective John A. Cameron ...
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Improve my 3D puzzle to have a single solution

3D View of one solutions http://autode.sk/2Dg4FWx I designed a 4x4x4 soma cube in AutoCad and then built it with wood cubes. There are twelve pentacubes and one tetracube. Each piece is unique and if ...
6 votes
1 answer
531 views

Picture a graph without words

You may have played/sung/heard a song without words in concert, in choir, and in a Sushi restaurant. Who hasn’t?! Well here is a picture without words, only axes: And here it is without JPG-...
4 votes
1 answer
156 views

Reconstructing sport climbing results

Sport climbing at the 2020 Summer Olympics – Women's combined Warmup Sport climbing is a new event (one of four) at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and it just finished. Two events were held, one ...
15 votes
6 answers
2k views

Pulling Apart a Jigsaw Puzzle

Assume you have a jigsaw puzzle that is also a tessellation. This means every piece has an identical shape and can be assembled into a 2D pattern that fills the plane with no gaps. Such a jigsaw ...
2 votes
2 answers
172 views

Where is this coat of arms from? [closed]

My father found an old glass during a recent move and has no idea where it's from. It looks vaguely familiar to me (maybe all coats of arms look vaguely familiar), but I've looked up the places we're ...
7 votes
1 answer
415 views

Discounts in a shop

I came across this sign in a shop and thought it could make a nice puzzle. So you can buy items and get discounts depending on how many items you got. You can combine discounts and use as many as you ...