This brain teaser from the 1900's uses language and spellings a little different from today. For instance, the phrase " and leave nine" means nine were left.
A guest asked someone to favour him with eleven pennies, and he passed the coins to the company, as depicted in our illustration. The writer says: "He then requested us to remove five coins from the eleven, add four coins and leave nine. We could not but think there must needs be ten pennies left. We were a good deal amused at the answer hereof."
Can you determine how nine pennies were left instead ten!
It is rather evident that the trick in this puzzle was as follows:—From the eleven coins take five; then add four (to those already taken away) and you leave nine—in the second heap of those removed!
Let's try another brain teaser.
The Eccentric Market-woman
Mrs. Covey, who keeps a little poultry farm in Surrey, is one of the most eccentric women I ever met. Her manner of doing business is always original, and sometimes quite weird and wonderful. She was once found explaining to a few of her choice friends how she had disposed of her day's eggs. She had evidently got the idea from an old puzzle with which we are all familiar; but as it is an improvement on it, I have no hesitation in presenting it to my readers. She related that she had that day taken a certain number of eggs to market. She sold half of them to one customer, and gave him half an egg over. She next sold a third of what she had left, and gave a third of an egg over. She then sold a fourth of the remainder, and gave a fourth of an egg over. Finally, she disposed of a fifth of the remainder, and gave a fifth of an egg over. Then what she had left she divided equally among thirteen of her friends. And, strange to say, she had not throughout all these transactions broken a single egg. Now, the puzzle is to find the smallest possible number of eggs that Mrs. Covey could have taken to market. Can you say how many?
The Eccentric Market-woman.
The smallest possible number of eggs that Mrs. Covey could have taken to market is 719. After selling half the number and giving half an egg over she would have 359 left; after the second transaction she would have 239 left; after the third deal, 179; and after the fourth, 143. This last number she could divide equally among her thirteen friends, giving each 11, and she would not have broken an egg.