Question 32 of the Cryptic Quiz: “Three is the Magic Number!”

15th September 2009 by Simon G

For the question junkies out there, here is question 32 (our second for today). It’s a cryptic question (quite fitting for our cryptic quiz)! MOO is celebrating our third birthday all month, with quizzes and discounts throughout September. We’re giving away a selection of prizes, including today’s prize (1 year Pro membership) from our friends at SmugMug.

For your chance to win, why not have a go at today’s questions!


Unbearable Lightness of Being

If you or I had received a note signed by the 3 Blind Mice, we’d likely know right where to go to ask questions like, “Why are you being so cryptic,” or, “Hey mice that can write, didn’t I see you in that Flower for Algernon movie?”

The three bears had different questions in mind, however.

Poppa bear snarled, “But which three blind mice wrote it?”
Momma bear scoffed, “Didn’t their mother teach them to sign their names?”
Baby bear said nothing, but got out his slide rule and started calculating.

  • 1) He knew from physics class that one and one-half bears could catch one and one-half mice in one and one-half days.
  • He knew that there was a one in six chance of catching at least one of the mice that had written the note.
  • He didn’t know how many days it would take three bears to catch enough mice to find one of the authors of the note.

Q: What’s the maximum number of mice the bears must catch and how long will it take them?


Hmmm… what a tricky question! (Oh, and there’s even more to come). Post your answers in the comments below and be sure to watch out for another question later today… Good luck everyone!

Comments (22)

  1. Stephen Miller:

    The max number of mice to catch is 6. The time to catch 6 mice is 3 days.

  2. Chi:

    3 bears can catch 4.5 mice (rounded down to 4) in 1.5 days. In 3 days, the total is 9 mice. In 6 days, the total is 18 mice. Based on the 1:6 chance, since there are 3 mice, the odds are 3:18 for a maximum of 18 mice in 6 days to catch the three blind mice.

  3. Scott:

    Three mice (there are only three, so that is the MAXIMUM number of mice they must catch).
    It will take the three of them together one and one-half days.

  4. Q:

    3 bears can catch 3 mice in .75 days. since they need to catch a combination of 720 mice, it should take them 180 days?

    wow, my math knowledge is at zero nowadays… totally pulled that one from my butt. =/

  5. Johnny H:

    6, 6 days

  6. Bart Braem:

    they must catch 6 mice and it will take them 6 days

  7. jgardy:

    They have to catch 6 mice to be guaranteed that 1 authored the note, and it should take 3 bears 3 days to catch 6 mice.

  8. Laurie Y:

    18 mice total
    9 days

  9. Elyse Fair:

    It will take 3 bears 8 days to catch the needed 16 mice to be sure of finding one of the 3
    got it

  10. Kelli Nemec:

    They must catch 6 mice and it would take them 6 days.

  11. Melissa Thiessen:

    5 mice in 2.5 days

  12. Stephanie:

    If 1.5 bears can catch 1.5 mice is 1.5 days:
    THEN, 3 bears can catch 3 mice every 1.5 days:
    SO, 3 bears can catch 6 mice within 3 days.
    With a 1 in 6 chance, one of those mice will be one of the authors. If you go on the theory that he’ll “rat out” the other two, that is the minimum.
    However, if he won’t squeak, it could take 3 bears up to 9 Days to catch 18 Mice, 3 of which will be your Blind Bandits.

  13. Sophie:

    Ooooh, a competition, exciting!

    I reckon the bears would need to catch a maximum of six mice to find one of the authors of the note, which would take them up to 3 days

  14. Tiffany Manning:

    6 mice must be caught and it will take 6 days

  15. Catherine G.:

    6 mice in 2 days (by the 3 bears)

  16. Sally:

    6 mice (fair chance of 1 of them having written the note) in 6 days.

  17. Catherine G.:

    Hi, I need to correct my comment. I typed 2 days when I meant to write 3. It should be 6 mice, 3 days.

  18. Kevin:

    6 mice, in 6 days

  19. Gabi Nüchter:

    The maximum number of mice the 3 bears will have to catch to get all three mice is 18 and it will take them 9 days.

  20. Clare Selley:

    6 mice, 18 days?

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