Logical thinking, my sack full of kittens!

January 24, 2013 at 11:50 am (Stuff that Bugs Me Right Now) ()

So this is a reasoning puzzle that’s been bugging me lately:

As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Every wife had seven sacks
Every sack had seven cats
Every cat had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks, wives.
How many were going to St Ives?

The correct answer is supposed to be one, because, obviously, if you met the man and his seven wives on your way to St. Ives, then clearly they were supposed to be returning from St. Ives.

And I say that reasoning is stupid, because if you’ve got a man who’s making his seven wives lug seven sacks that are full of cats and kittens, those people aren’t going to be moving very quickly, so isn’t it just as likely you passed them on the way to St. Ives?

And thus the answer would be math, math, math plus the narrator. Oh, but the answer could also be two, because maybe the man wasn’t bringing the wives, the sacks and the cats along with. Ooh, or it could be how many wives, cats and sacks were going to St. Ives. So, really, every answer is wrong.

Which is why I hate logical thinking puzzles.

Also, why were they carrying around kittens in sacks? I mean, who DOES that?



  1. Jamin said,

    Hah, I agree, I’ve always hated so-called logic puzzles like that one. If you have to make an assumption to get the answer, it’s not a very good puzzle.

    • lokifire said,

      Yeah! The thing you said is what I mean!

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