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47 votes
Accepted

Why are all numbers from 1 to 2N covered by weights with powers of 3?

It helps to think about the scale not in terms of balancing two objects, but in terms of creating a weight difference between the two sides. (If you want to balance out an object, you simply put ...
Deusovi's user avatar
  • 147k
34 votes

Two out of a dozen cartons have Easter eggs. Two people try to find one Easter egg carton, each using a different strategy. Who is expected to win?

(context: note that this question is asking for intuitive explanation why it's not equal, so a good answer would have to explain intuitively why the intuition that they will be equal is not the right ...
justhalf's user avatar
  • 6,043
32 votes

Three airplanes with enough fuel for halfway around the world - how can one make it all the way?

My first attempt resulted in crashes. Thanks Ross for pointing it out. Crashes are bad. We must land all planes. Problems like this require you thinking in the right units. Here's a revised ...
Chris Cudmore's user avatar
29 votes

Please explain this answer: “Fruit from Panama about 20 times.”

Fruit from Panama about 20 times =
shoover's user avatar
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29 votes
Accepted

Why is “AFTS” the solution to the crossword clue "Times before eves, in ads"?

The phrase "in ads" likely means "in advertisements", where you are paying for character space. This suggests "eves" is an abbreviation, and that the answer will also be ...
Jeremy Dover's user avatar
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29 votes

Why is "lion" the answer to "Take the first left turn at the zoo?"

Maybe "the first" is number one or NO. I (Roman numeral 1), followed by L, an abbreviation for "left". We take all that and turn it around to make L I ON. The definition part would ...
Jafe's user avatar
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28 votes
Accepted

Three airplanes with enough fuel for halfway around the world - how can one make it all the way?

Plane 1 can make 1 trip around the world by following the below process: Once that step is met, then: Step 3: At this point:
Anthony Ingram-Westover's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Policeman's large Elvish dagger (5)

This is a double definition. Sting, the musician, was a member of the band The Police, hence a 'Policeman'. Meanwhile there is a 'large Elvish dagger' called 'Sting' that appears in the books The ...
Stiv's user avatar
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23 votes

Why is RYE the answer to "Grass over pretty Cambridge backs"?

"Grass" is the definition of the answer. "Over pretty Cambridge backs" is the wordplay, in which "backs" means "last letters of the preceding words." R from &...
Jafe's user avatar
  • 78k
21 votes

Salon workers, for short?

Salon is a news website - "eds" refers to "editors" here. The clue attempts to misdirect you into thinking of workers at a spa by putting the name at the beginning.
Deusovi's user avatar
  • 147k
21 votes

Explain why "A Fate who didn’t finish the material (5)" is Cloth

One of the Fates of Greek mythology was Clotho. If you don't quite finish that word, you get the word cloth (defined by "the material").
Jafe's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

Why does this answer to "two doors with two guards" work?

The most common solution is usually stated as "If I asked the other guard if the left door led to freedom, what would he say?" This makes the chain of statements "run through" the liar once and ...
Deusovi's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

One thousand year old riddle (from the Exeter Book)

It seems easy enough to explain how most of this applies to But why in particular? (I've looked in a few places and everyone agrees that this specific thing is the intended answer.) I think there ...
Gareth McCaughan's user avatar
18 votes

Why is "issued" the answer to "Fire corners if one-a-side matches haven't begun"?

The answer is not ISSUED, no matter what some websites on the internet may say. I found what I think is the same crossword in another, older New Zealand publication. The crossing words give I-G-E- for ...
Gareth McCaughan's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

Explain answer to "Men in a state of agitation a very long time"

OR is one of those abbreviations which can mean "soldiers" in Britain (I think it's "other ranks"). A fever is a state of agitation, and OR inside FEVER makes the answer. The ...
Jafe's user avatar
  • 78k
17 votes

Why is "alienated" the answer to "One caregiver in particular turned indifferent"?

Explanation
hexomino's user avatar
  • 137k
17 votes

A duck for a well-known bowler (5): How to solve it?

TripeHound's user avatar
17 votes

Why is "necropolis" the answer to "Weird arachnid with venomous tail in the French cemetery"?

Hmm, an arachnid with venomous tail is a SCORPION, and "the" French is LE (French translation of "the"), and all that is anagrammed ("weird"), making NECROPOLIS (cemetery)...
oAlt's user avatar
  • 6,760
17 votes

Why is "Candy" the answer to "Last two of juicy sweets"?

Reasoning
hexomino's user avatar
  • 137k
17 votes

Cryptic Clue Explanation: Tree that's sported to keep visitors out at university (3)

msh210's user avatar
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16 votes
Accepted

How to prove that this man has a profit of 20 and not 10?

Based on his thought process: "But somebody insists that his profit is just 10 because he had used his first 10 profit to buy back the goat for 80. " But honestly, a better way to see it is ...
votbear's user avatar
  • 4,637
16 votes
Accepted

Cryptic crossword clue: "Regularly clean and wet washing"

This interpretation relies on the word 'regularly'...
Stiv's user avatar
  • 145k
16 votes
Accepted

Magic: the Gathering – Scry-sort

Assume the N cards are labeled with their desired order, 1 through N. Compare the top two cards and place the smaller of the two on the bottom. Repeat step 1 (N − 1) times. Move the top card to the ...
2012rcampion's user avatar
  • 18.9k
15 votes
Accepted

English Logic Puzzle

In more an English sense than a Puzzling one... In the question there is the keyword: That means if 100% true, then the statement is true. else it is false, even it is true 99%. In other words: ...
Omega Krypton's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Cryptic-clue explanation: What does “One in 10?” mean in the definition of ‘Ladle’

I believe you have a situation here where this answer is entirely dependent on the crossword in which it was set - specifically, upon the answer to Clue 10 in the same puzzle, the answer to which is ...
Stiv's user avatar
  • 145k
14 votes
Accepted

Single letter chemical elements on a 2x2 grid

The answer is: First row: Second row: The elements are:
GoodDeeds's user avatar
  • 913
14 votes
Accepted

Understand answer to "Herb ducks hugging ungrateful daughter (7)"

What you're missing is knowledge rather than wordplay cleverness.
Gareth McCaughan's user avatar
14 votes

Man of note got TE Lawrence in one (7)

The answer I suppose you have is: Explanation:
Stiv's user avatar
  • 145k
13 votes
Accepted

Why are these shapes impossible to draw with the given rules?

This is a variation of the Seven Bridges of Königsberg puzzle. The answer is you can't trace out the pattern if more than two nodes are odd. We call a node "odd" if it has an odd number of lines to ...
Jiminion's user avatar
  • 1,952
12 votes

Why is "lion" the answer to "Take the first left turn at the zoo?"

First is No 1 (number one in an abbreviated form), this looks like NO I. Turn it - NOI -> ION First Left is L L ION
James Westoby's user avatar

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