15 Stories

5th-Grade Exam Question Leaves Internet Stumped

Education department says problem was meant to assess critical thinking

(Newser) - "If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats on board, how old is the ship's captain?" Stumped? So are fifth-grade students in China's Shunqing district of Nanchong, where the aforementioned question appeared on a math exam for the 11-year-olds. Some gave their best guesses, with one... More »

Teacher's Viral Tweet Reveals How Deep First-Graders Are

Bret Turner's riddle was about the letter 'e'; his student chose to link it to death

(Newser) - A fun riddle a teacher posed to his students sent at least one of them spiraling into an existential abyss, with an answer as deep as it now is viral, the Washington Post reports. Bret Turner, who instructs first- and second-graders at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, Calif., gave his... More »

To Keep Your Brain 10 Years Younger, Do a Crossword

Daily puzzling is linked to better memory and reasoning

(Newser) - Use it or lose it, right? Researchers may not be ready to claim that word puzzles can help stave off age-related neurological diseases like Alzheimer's, but a major new study shows that there does appear to be a link between word puzzle play and improved cognition. Analyzing data from... More »

Grumpy Cat? There May Be an Easy Fix

Food puzzles make cats less needy, more active: study

(Newser) - Cat owners, prepare to be stunned: A new study suggests your cat isn't really a crabby jerk—he's just bored. And there may be a simple way to improve his mood, even his health: challenge him. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley say food puzzles—think... More »

Linguist Claims He's Solved Gulliver's Travels Riddle

Irving Rothman says he's solved the centuries-old mystery

(Newser) - Long have scholars debated the origins of the "nonsense" language in Jonathan Swift's most famous novel, Gulliver's Travels, though Isaac Asimov once said making sense of it is a "waste of time" because "I suspect that Swift simply made up nonsense for the purpose."... More »

Can You Solve This Puzzle? Hong Kong 6-Year-Olds Can

You only get 20 seconds

(Newser) - Last month the Internet went nuts trying to figure out Cheryl's birthday . Today, Alex Bellos is back in the Guardian with two more stumpers, what he calls the "second installment" in his let's-drive-everyone-mad puzzle series ( the first was a sequel to the Cheryl's birthday puzzle).... More »

New Tourist Craze: Locked Rooms

From Budapest to New York, it's a bona fide craze

(Newser) - The latest tourist trend comes via Budapest, where visitors are flocking to locked rooms and struggling to get out. Sound weird? Maybe, but the city's 50-odd room-escape games are like video game puzzles where the clues—like a laminated stamp in a metal box, or numbers etched on wrench... More »

Inside the Internet's Most Mysterious Puzzle

Cicada 3301 is ... well, no one is entirely sure

(Newser) - It's a mystery cloaked in ... mystery. The Telegraph digs into Cicada 3301, but struggles a bit to describe exactly what it is—because no one is really sure. It's a sort of Internet challenge that's pretty unbelievable in its scope, designed to reel in and test the... More »

World Champ Solves Rubik's Cube in 7.36 Seconds

17-year-old Aussie crowned champion

(Newser) - An Australian teenager is the new Rubik's Cube World Champion (yes, there is a Rubik's Cube World Championship), solving a 3x3 cube with an average of 8.18 seconds and a single fastest time of 7.36 seconds. That doesn't make him the fastest in the world—... More »

Google App Solves Sudoku in Seconds

'Google Goggles' takes challenge out of puzzle

(Newser) - Sudoku fans might love or hate this: The updated Google Goggles phone app can solve even the most difficult of the numeric puzzles in seconds. The phone's camera takes an image of the puzzle and sends it to Google, whose central servers make quick work of it and send back... More »

Lose Weight: Do a Puzzle

Mental puzzles can help you shed a few pounds, says brain trainer

(Newser) - Hunkering down with a Sudoku puzzle could help you shed some pounds. Tim Forrester, the man behind brain training website cannyminds.com, says mental exercise doubles as real exercise, with the body burning 90 calories for every hour spent working on crossword puzzles or brain teasers. A passive brain requires... More »

Crazy Questions Google Asks During Interviews

Search giant wants employees good at brain-teasers

(Newser) - Google is hiring, and we hear it’s a great place to work. But even if you’re an Ivy League grad with a great GPA, you’re going to have to survive the dreaded Google Interview process. How dreaded? Well, here are some questions they’ve asked, along with... More »

Mathematician Solves Sudoku

(Newser) - A mathematician has devised a foolproof method for solving Sudoku puzzles, USA Today reports. The stimulating mental challenge of the game has attracted millions of fans all over the world, but, from a mathematical perspective, “the interesting fact about Sudoku is that it is a trivial puzzle to solve,... More »

Rubik's Cube Gets a Makeover

Inventor says Rubik 360 will be as maddening as the cube

(Newser) - Hungarian puzzle patriarch Erno Rubik promises his sphere will be as fiendish to tackle as his cube, the Melbourne Herald-Sun reports. The Rubik 360, which goes on sale later this year, features a transparent orb with colored balls that must be moved through spheres. Puzzle fans worldwide say they are... More »


The godfather of sudoku has hundreds more in the pipeline

(Newser) - Nikoli, the Japanese publisher that turned sudoku into a blockbuster, has about 250 more where that came from, most of them unknown outside Japan. Founded by a college dropout with a horseracing habit, the company doesn't invent puzzles, it relies on its readership to submit ideas, as well as help... More »

15 Stories