Sunday, January 15, 2012


A smart one.
Here's a little question for you....  If a bat and a ball cost $1.10, and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

I heard this question on the radio.  Someone on the BBC was interviewing an expert in how the brain works, specifically in quick thinking and slow thinking.

Got the answer yet?

Well, I did not get the answer right....using my fast thinking.  When I heard what the correct answer is, I was in the car and must have driven for another ten minutes (albeit listening to the rest of the interview) wondering WHY my answer was wrong, and how their "correct" one could possibly be right.....(all the time using my slow thinking) before it came to me.  I felt so stupid.  (Nothing with numbers comes to me easily, I confess.)

Well, the next day I asked Zhenya.  He immediately came back with an answer, and I didn't miss the "of course" tone in his voice - and his answer - it was right.

He is great with numbers, and smart as a whip, as well.

They said that over half of the students at Harvard got it wrong, too......that did make me feel a bit better.

What answer did you get?

The answer is:    (scroll over)  5 cents


Mike and Christie said...

I came up with 10 cents. What am I not understanding?

Tina in CT said...

I also came up with 10 cents as the bat is a dollar more than the ball and not a dollar and 5 cents more than the ball.

Molly said...

Yeah, I got it wrong too. and now I see why! lol.

Anonymous said...

If X is the price of the ball,
2X + $1.00 = $1.10.

Therefore, 2X = $.10, so X = $.05.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

grrr, I hate these things. Will you please tell me WHY it's 5? One ball, one bat so what, did I forget tax?

Hevel Cohen said...

Yep, 5 cents, what else? ;) Seriously, I have something wrong with my brain, because that was my first answer.

Also, your answer is very legible, because your font is blue/green, not black. :)

Anonymous said...

Work it backwards. If the answer were ten cents, then (ten cents) plus (ten cents AND one dollar) should equal $1.10, but it doesn't. That equals $1.20.

Here, it works out correctly:
(five cents for a ball) plus (one dollar and five cents for a bat) gives you a total of one dollar and ten cents.

thisjourneyofmylife said...

Ha, I'm feeling wickedly smart! Not that it was that hard, but I'm a history major, not a math one, so I'm feeling pretty good about myself!

Annie said...

So Hevel, you and Zhen win the prize....but I am SERIOUSLY relieved that I am not the only person who can actually be GIVEN the correct answer and still be confused!

The cover works on my screen.... but I put it at the WAY bottom, just in case.

Tina in CT said...

I still am confused too.

Tamara said...

I figured it out and got the right answer, but it took the clue that it was a trick question for me to figure it out. ;)

Trauma Mama T said...

I was an English major. You do the math. (Took the total explanation for me to get it, too.)

Debbie said...

My instant reaction was, "The ball must cost 10 cents and the bat costs a dollar." Then, "Waaaait ... that would make the bat only cost $0.90 more than the ball."

After that I had to literally go penny by penny. "If the ball cost 9 cents, then the bat would be $1.01 (to total up at $1.10). If the ball cost 8 cents, then the bat would be $1.02. If the ball ...." FINALLY I got to "If the ball cost 5 cents, then the bat would be $1.05. That's it!"

I'm so impressed by the people who saw that right away!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

argh, this is still bugging me.

bat= 1$
total= 1.10
1.10- 1.00 = .10

Where are people getting a 5???? What is the trick to the question?

People, I went to public school. In chicago. I'm going to need clear help! LOL!

Clearly the BBC can use ME as an example of slow thinking. Possibly even stopped thinking.

MyGirlElena said...

What I learned from this is that word problems are stupid and I'm definitely an auditory learner. I only understood when Annon. explained with words and I read it aloud to myself!

Elizabeth said...

I would have had to sit down and write out the formula, and I was too lazy, so I just looked at the answer. :) I can do math, but not quickly.

Annie said...

Essie - the bat is a dollar MORE than the ball, not $1.

We just did this at dinner and Sergei (who supergenetically inherited my math abilities) was as confused as you and I were.