Here at Mental Floss, we love a good brain teaser—and clearly we’re not alone. From cows and chickens to river crossings, we’ve never met a riddle we didn’t want to solve—even if it was originally meant for a 5-year-old. The Bananas, Clock, Hexagon Viral Logic Puzzle, which math puzzle enthusiast Presh Talwalkar posted to his Mind Your Decisions blog, is the latest riddle to have us admittedly stumped.
According to Talwalkar, 99 percent of the people who attempt to solve the problem fail, leaving the remaining one percent to be dubbed geniuses for figuring it out. Which side will you land on?
The key to solving this puzzle is to look closely. We’ll give you a minute to do just that (or you can start the video below—it will give you a little time before giving anything away).
Now it’s time to come up with your answer. We’ll give you another minute …
So what did you come up with?
If you answered 38, congratulations—you might be a genius.
If you answered something else, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Where most people seem to be going wrong with the problem is by not looking at the images closely enough when attempting to assign a numerical value. Specifically: In the last line of the problem, all of the images—the clock, the bananas, and the hexagon—are all slightly different than the images shown in the previous lines. If you noticed this, then you probably realized that the bunch of bananas in lines one, two, and three have a different value than the fruit seen on line four. Same goes for the clock and the hexagons. Which makes this as much a visual puzzle as it a math problem.
Finish watching the video above for Talwalkar’s detailed explanation of how to solve the problem. Then stump your friends!
[h/t: Mind Your Decisions]