Friday, March 19, 2010

Messy Socks Drawer

Your messy socks drawer has twenty four socks. Six of them are brown, six are black, six blue and the remaining six are red with white stripes. How many socks must you take out of the drawer, without looking, to be sure of having a matched pair of any color?

Photo by bahkubean, distributed under Creative Commons license

This is a puzzle from The Mensa Genius Quiz Book 2 by M. Grosswirth and A. Salny. But you really do not need to be a genius to solve this one. Stated differently: you are probably cracking puzzles like that every day and never guessed you are a genius.

Submit your answer on our Family Puzzle Marathon Be first to solve three puzzles and get a prize!


Wang said...

Since there are 4 different socks, in the worst case scenario, you can pick up 4 socks and have them all different colors:

Brown, Black, Blue, Red and White Stripes

Therefore, the 5th sock must match one of the 4 you have.

5 socks is needed to be sure of a pair.

Maria said...

You get a genius puzzle point, Wang.

This is a good puzzle to share with your kids. Just tried it on my 6-year old daughter and she solved it! Is she a genius too?

Wang said...

Yes she is! With so many puzzles, she definitely gets a lot of practice!

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