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Logic puzzles require you to think. You will have to be logical in your reasoning.


Puzzle ID:#3012
Fun:*** (3.07)
Difficulty:*** (2.12)
Submitted By:PeaceJo*ca****
Corrected By:horse_luver




A sundial is a timepiece that has the fewest number of moving parts. Which timepiece has the most moving parts?


An Hourglass

What Next?


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Apr 02, 2002

Wickedly clever. well done
(user deleted)
Apr 06, 2002

good one
Apr 12, 2002

Thats good!
Apr 12, 2002

Thats good!
Apr 19, 2002

Heard it before but the first time i heard it was easy
Apr 24, 2002

Wow I was going to say a Grandfather Clock. Good work!
May 01, 2002

I would have said an atomic clock, but I suppose that's getting a bit wacky. Bravo on the hourglass.
May 01, 2002

silly and inaccurate, i say its the universe
May 01, 2002

I love, a good one!

To: ted-johnson, the universe is not in fact a timepeice. Actually, it is not "silly", because it is in fact an hourglass.

to mad-ade: that's the first positive comment I've seen from you.
May 02, 2002

i thin kactually that the universe could be construed to be a time piece whose parts are only designed to display the time once with every moment be complete and distinct from every other, unweildy yes, useful not really, just something to think about
May 02, 2002

i didnt realize a sundial had any moving parts and your question states the fewest number of moving parts zero technically is not a number
May 06, 2002

I would have never guessed
May 06, 2002

Good one.
May 11, 2002

Very clever. Good one!
May 11, 2002

A timepiece implies something manufactured to keep track of time so I don't think the universe would count!
I like this one - well done.
May 12, 2002

this is truely brilliant, i was going to say the universe as well, but an hour-glass it is! well done!
May 14, 2002

I agree with missie, that is the first positive comment i've heard from you mad ade
May 16, 2002

DarkPrince, the puzzle states that the sundial has the fewest moving parts. This does not imply that there must be any moving parts, just that there must be fewer than any other. Since the sundial has none, it has fewer than any other timepiece.
May 18, 2002

Very clever. I feel dumb now
May 30, 2002

nothin' wacky about an atomic clock these days. must be a pretty big 'hourglass', more like a 'centuryglass'
Jun 06, 2002

My goodness. Very nice.
Jun 06, 2002

I've just thought, sundial - moving parts - one? The sun? Does it count?
Answers on a postcard please!?
Jun 12, 2002

missie is who i agree with! and mad-ade, i have seen lots of ur coments and there not very goog! liten up a bit! this coment what good though
Jun 19, 2002

The shadow is a moving piece of the sundial. It is the time keeper, which must obviously be considered a part of the timepiece.
Jul 06, 2002

pretty good
Jul 09, 2002

dont get it?!?!?!?!
Jul 11, 2002

It was a good one, even though I don't understand why people found it so hard. That was my first guess. Nice job though.
Jul 13, 2002

what do you fing do hard about it!? it's probably the easiest on the site
Jul 21, 2002

Jul 28, 2002

yep, nice and easy, gave me a good ego boost when i read the answer! does anyone else find it hilarious how worked up people can get about a teaser?!
Aug 01, 2002

I dunno why, i don't like that one
Sep 19, 2002

i liked that one
Dec 11, 2002

I always seem to think differently, what about those water clocks that were used back in the middle ages? The water pouring out of a small hole would keep track of the time passed. They were a lot bigger than an hourglass
May 01, 2003

In response to Philv, during the Y2K scare I found out the real meaning of "Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, Brother John, Brother John? Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding dong ding, Ding dong ding." Apparently the monks were the ones responsible for changing the water containers and the bells rang to wake them up for the next change. Off the topic of the teaser, but I just thought it was interesting. =)
May 01, 2003

Two things:

1. 0 (Zero) is absolutely a number. (what on earth are you thinking??)

2. Any timepiece is made up of atoms, which have moving parts, so really, it's a question of which timpiece has the most number of atoms (electrons moving).
May 01, 2003

PeaceJo: Great Teaser. (And you have inspired much discussion, which is probably even better). BTW, Johnnyonline: Thank you for mentioning Zero. If zero isn't a NUMBER, what does he think it is?
May 01, 2003

I thought it was the sun.
May 01, 2003

Amendment to previous post--a sundial would actually have many more moving parts since it is dependent upon the sun and the sun is a large conglomeration of highly active particles. This logic can be used to extend this argument further. And zero is a number.
Oct 24, 2003

The Earth would be the moving part rather than the sun in a sundial. Secondly, if you were to count the moving parts in a vacuum cleaner you wouln't include the count of parts in the power plant that powers it, so you would not count the sun (or the Earth) as a moving part in a sundial. Lastly, if a machine has no moving parts, it can be said to have fewer parts than a machine with one moving part.
Apr 09, 2004

I like it...
May 01, 2004

Why is everybody being so boring and technical? I think it's just a really great fun, quick little teaser - why are you all getting so worked up about it? I really like it!
May 01, 2004

I would have said WATER CLOCK too, simply because water molecules could be counted as moving parts same as grains of sand. And an SUN DIAL really only has one moving part, itself, as it rotates with the movement of the earth.
May 01, 2004

It is cute, and fun. I like simple, so I'm taking this great teaser for what it is - no over analyzing from me. Just enjoy.
May 01, 2004

my first thought was 'the universe'
May 03, 2004

Let me guess...There are quite a number of scientists and engineers who venture to this site! LOL It is cute how everyone is getting so worked up, but I, too, liked this teaser! Brava!
Jun 02, 2004

I never thought of an hourglass! All those pieces of sand!!!!!!!!
Jun 10, 2004

My guess is that much of the criticism comes from those that were stumped and are now trying to find an excuse. I liked it.
Jun 21, 2004

this is a lot of moving parts
(user deleted)
Aug 26, 2004

ahead of its time
Oct 29, 2004

hee hee. Funny funny. Bravo.
Nov 01, 2004

Very Cool!!
Nov 09, 2004

Lovely teaser although im not sure i would class it a s a riddle
Jan 06, 2005

Liked the riddle and my first thought was a sundial. However, just for fun, I have to disagree that a sundial has the fewest moving parts. It has two, the earth and the sun. Without them, it would not be a timepiece. The waterclock requires water and gravity to be a timepiece, but only the water moves.
Jan 21, 2005

Sorry! Had to rate it as boring. In response to previous comments,
2.Because the Earth is always rotating on its axis, everything on Earth has at least one moving part: itself.
3.The sundial would be the timepiece with the MOST moving parts. Every SECOND, over a million particles of heat energy, radiated from the surface of the Sun, hit the surface of the sundial, casting a shadow on the ground.
Feb 18, 2005

wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to easy
but very nice
Mar 02, 2005

May 02, 2005

to knightdog. He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones. For your information, everything in the universe moves. the sun DOES move as does every other atomic particle in the entire universe.
For the record my first guess was in fact the sun.
May 02, 2005

A very fun teaser
My compliments Imagineer, a fine piece of thinking, and my thanks Shandela for your comments.
(user deleted)
May 02, 2005

Well I went with the universe. If you read Heinlein's Methusaleh's Children, you would see how they use the solar system to determine the date. This can be extended to provide the exact time.

For those who claim that the universe is not a 'timepiece' - well then neither is a sundial. The sundial does nothing more than translate the position of the sun to a more usable format - but it does not keep time in and of itself the way a clock does.

Either way, I thought it was a pretty good riddle.
May 02, 2005

My mind went to the Universe too not being able to compair the sand grains in an hour glass to say the components including the computer of an atomic clock .. but it is a clever answer .. thumbs up
May 02, 2005

May 02, 2005

This was a clever puzzle.
It has pleased many people, including myself.
But for all those that want to find fault in the logic, any teaser can be contradicted with math and reason, here are a few:

a) I do agree that a sundial alone, has NO moving parts. 0 is NOT a number, it is the lack of a number, yet still a numeric character.
BUT, the sundial alone can NOT tell time. It depends on the movement of the earth, which also depends on the movement of the solar system.
So in fact, a sundial depends on MORE moving parts than any other timepiece, in oder to do its function.

b) Every item in the solar system contains many atoms and such.
You cannot use this fact to count 'moving parts' in an object, just to have an excuse for not getting this puzzle right.

c) An hour glass has many moving grains of sand, but what is the MOST important moving part it needs to do it's function???
It needs a human hand to turn it over, or it cannot do its job.

I love this teaser, because it does get the old juices going in the mind.
May 02, 2005

I can't believe there are people don't think 0 is a number!

If you have 2 hourgalsses (say!) and you take one away, how many are you left with? One of course! You take another one away - how many are now left? Zero!

If zero can be the answer to "how many?" then surely it can also be the answer to "how few?"!
May 02, 2005

i got it yay very clever
(user deleted)
May 02, 2005

great teaser....grains of sand.........
May 02, 2005

Firstly, I have to say that I think this is an excellent puzzle - it seems to have generated quite a bit of thinking and feedback - surely this is the point of a good puzzle?

I would like to clear up a point about zero's status as a number:
Zero is not a NATURAL NUMBER. This is the set of "counting" numbers: 1,2,3,... If we extend this to the set of INTEGERS, we have ...,-3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3,... We can further extend this set to include all the RATIONAL NUMBERS, which can all be expressed as fractions: 1/2, 5/1, 0/923, 22/7, -451/27, etc. We can carry on to include the IRRATIONAL NUMBERS (e.g. e, PI) and then we have the complete set of REAL NUMBERS. (NB, we needn't stop there, we can include the IMAGINARY NUMBERS, but enough to get the point).

In conclusion, if you limit your definition of NUMBER to being just the NATURAL NUMBERS then zero isn't a number, but under that definition, 1/2, -5 and PI aren't numbers either.

I think the above comments reflect this matter of DEFINITION. The word "parts" in this puzzle is a little ambiguous. It can be taken to mean "a solid, macroscopic (non-microscopic) object", which would be most people's instinctive meaning. Combine this with a definition of "timepiece" as "a man-made object designed to indicate the time" and the hour glass certainly looks to be the answer.

We can extend the definition of "part" to include liquids, and then the water-clock would seem to be right, but only if we allow "parts" to be individual molecules (H20). One could further argue that in order to be a liquid, they must be above a certain temperature, and this would necessitate motion WITHIN the molecules, i.e. the hydrogen and oxygen atoms must move RELATIVE TO EACH OTHER. We can also include ELECTRONS which "orbit" the atomic nucleii, and indeed QUARKS which make up these particles, although MOTION at this scale is much harder to define.

Extending the definition of "timepiece" to include non-man-made objects, the celestial bodies (moon, sun, planets, stars) are certainly a good candidate, having been the cheif method of timekeeping for most of human history. Ice-age hunters in Europe over 20,000 years ago scratched lines and gouged holes in sticks and bones, possibly counting the days between phases of the moon. Not until 3500BC was the first sundial (an obelisk) created. (The water clock dates from 1500BC, and the mechanical clock from around 1300AD).

My point is: you're all right at a certain level. It kinda reminds me of the four blind men feeling different parts of an elephant. "It's a tree", "It's a snake", etc.

Incidentally, the number of grains in an hourglass:

Diameter of grain of sand = 0.2 mm
Volume of grain of sand = 0.0042 mm^3
Volume of bounding box = 0.008 mm^3
Volume of 3 minute timer = 2 cm^3
= 2,000 mm^3

Grains of sand in 3min timer = 2,000 / 0.008
= 250,000 grains

Grains in 1 hour timer = 250,000 x 60 / 3
= 5,000,000
May 02, 2005

Wow robinmckenzie...
that was a mouthful!

i thought i talked too much...

but i could not have said it better!
I agree with you 100%
This is a great teaser, it seems to bring out the genius in all (or most) of us!!
Keep up the mind blowing work...
May 02, 2005

This one stumped me!
May 02, 2005

I agree with lucylizzee!

nice one
May 02, 2005

Great teaser, I too was thinking "sun, moon, earth"

-the cute nerd
May 02, 2005

I eliminated atomic clock simply because they're solid state electronics. Technically no *moving* parts. I would have said the Earth. I like hourglass better, though!
May 02, 2005

Great puzzle. An hourglass is quite witty, but my initial response was time itself ... curious ...
May 02, 2005

really clever. good one.
May 02, 2005

very clever never would of thought of it good 1
(user deleted)
May 02, 2005

This may not have been said yet, but this was a great riddle! You got me with it!
May 02, 2005

This puzzle and responses would have warmed the heart of Carl Sagan (especially robinmac's).. it could probably use some warmth .. out there in the limitless universe .. with billions and billions .. (no moving parts in a solid state computer? .. got me!)
May 02, 2005

Stumped again. Bravo!!
May 02, 2005

Good one.

It's when people get all technical that ruin it though.

Good teaser. Keep em coming.
May 02, 2005

I see the point of all you techically minded people out there... BUT, the simplistic nature of this puzzle is its beauty! Well done! You got me!
May 02, 2005

oops! technically!!
May 02, 2005

Everyone's getting so worked up about a teaser!!
Great teaser
May 02, 2005

i agree- its just a little teaser- dont take it so seriously! its not like its life or death
May 02, 2005

i like it :
my sister hay give that you little weasle

May 02, 2005

Cute! I thought of it JUST before scrolling down to see the answer. That's a good one, I'll pass it on
May 02, 2005

great teaser
lighten up seriously!
May 02, 2005

Nice one!
May 02, 2005

That was very clever. It had me going for a while.
May 02, 2005

May 02, 2005

Good one! Though I too thought of earth revolving around the sun.
My dictionary says that a timepiece is a device used to measure the passing of time. The position of the earth relative to the sun clearly shows the passing of time, but can it be called a devise?

Since I obviously do not have as much time on my hands as robin does, I'll let the whole discussion end.
May 02, 2005

Good one! Though I too thought of earth revolving around the sun.
My dictionary says that a timepiece is a device used to measure the passing of time. The position of the earth relative to the sun clearly shows the passing of time, but can it be called a devise?

Since I obviously do not have as much time on my hands as robin does, I'll let the whole discussion end.
May 02, 2005

Tooo easy!!!!
May 02, 2005

Who Cares if 0 is a number. This was a great teaser. Quit "nukin" it.
May 02, 2005

May 21, 2005

May 25, 2005

It was really hard , but once I saw the answer it made sence to me.
Jun 03, 2005

That's really good. Not what I was thinking of. Clever!
Jun 13, 2005

Very nice!
Nov 03, 2005

I like this one!
Jan 20, 2006

I can't believe that there is always somebody out there putting down another ones teaser, quite a bummer I think, Its all suppose to be for FUN gang (for fun!!)
I liked the teaser, it was clever and witty, thanks to the sender
May 02, 2006

Sorry, guys. What about a water clock?
May 02, 2006

Easy. Cleverly worded. Lets all enjoy such teasers rather than getting too technical. This forum is for fun and education!
May 02, 2006

May 02, 2006

I actually got it surprisingly!!! But great work i loved it!!!
May 02, 2006

i thought it was a grandfateher clock, nice one!
May 02, 2006

I would have thought it was the sun considering that in some countries, you can tell time by looking at the sun and since the sun is made up of many hydrogen atoms and photons, i would be the time piece with the most parts
May 02, 2006

I loved this teaser! What I lack is the common sense and patience to try to figure out the answer before looking for myself....
May 02, 2006

You completely fooled me on that one. Good teaser.
May 02, 2006

There sure are a lot of readers that want to negate the efforts of the writer of a teaser. I suggest these readers just don't bother to answer since they think they are so much above the rest of us.
May 02, 2006

I liked this one, I didn't even try to answer it, I was like: How in the world would anyone know how many parts all these various timepieces have?

As for all the static, I just want to mention, to the person who said:"...stars don't move, you idiot!", oh well, it was so long ago, BUT, still, I want to point out that even discounting the inner motion of the energy of a star, all stars and everything else in the universe does move, it's "spreading out" which is a part of the "Big Bang Theory", so watch calling people idiots, in fact, don't do it at all on this site, and think it through before you try to blast someone!

Thanks for the fun teaser!!!!!

May 02, 2006

Good teaser.I didn't get correct answer either, was thinking Grandfather clock also. Fun trying to figure it out, tho.
May 02, 2006

Thought it was universe. much better keep them coming
May 02, 2006

If all the letters used so far were but grains of sand, we might have enough for an egg timer.

Much ado over stars, planets and atoms, but real point was 'damn...yes, why didn't I think of that'. Let's can the 'you got me so I'll get you thinking' and just enjoy these teasers. This one was great. You go it or it got you, either way it was still a lot of fun. Thanks.
May 02, 2006

All you people are such a HOOT!! Making such an issue over a simple little brain teaser!! I thought it was a really clever one, and I don't give a hairy rat's hiney whether or not zero is a number! Yes, it's an established fact that the universe is in motion, and I've never in my life heard of a water clock. Hourglass is the obvious answer to this teaser. Sheesh!
May 02, 2006

UGH!! Everyone is ruining a wonderful puzzle! Who even CARES if 0 is a number?! It's JUST a teaser, and a good one at that! Keep up the great work PeaceJo!
May 02, 2006

This was fun and I got it as for the rest of you guys that have to question everything, get a JOB
May 02, 2006

I say that I would've liked it better if a hint had been provided. Who normally thinks of sand as "moving parts", even if they are?

Good one, though.
May 02, 2006

Great teaser!!
May 02, 2006

WOW oh WW! This teaser teased a LOT a brains ... more brains, almost, than grains of sand in an hourglass!
May 02, 2006

You people are funny! Now it's time to get back to work.

It was a fun teaser. Thanks!
May 02, 2006

Great one! You got me!

I was thinking about atomic clocks and whether or not computers would count as timepieces. Funny to think the grains of sand in a simple little hour glass would make it the winner. Funny how our brains want to go to the most complicated answers first.

May 02, 2006

Easy - I think I saw this one (or one closely similar) on the same site a few months ago
May 02, 2006

You got me on that one also. Very clever. The answer definately wasn't the obvious.
May 02, 2006

i was thinking clocks, not timers
May 02, 2006

Wow. Lots of brainpower trying to justify answers, point out faults and discuss a very interesting topic. Kudos to all those smarter than I.

Oh, but I did stop by (love that site) and found the following:
Timepiece (n): An instrument, such as a clock or watch, that measures, registers, or records time.

So... a timepiece does not and cannot CREATE time, it only tracks it.

Sundial: measures time
Hourglass: measures time
Universe: Is/creates time
May 02, 2006

That was cool! Ice cool...
May 02, 2006

BRILLIANT, AwwSweet! Nothing like going to Webster for the final word!
May 02, 2006

I love this teaser and I think it's GREAT for two reasons: It's not only clever, but it ALSO introduced a topic that has gotten a lot of people THINKING!!!

I disagree with those who said that many of the above comments were NEGATIVE and CRITICAL. I think that this teaser has generated an interesting DISCUSSION and demonstrates how people can look at the same thing in many different ways.

I also feel that a healthy debate takes nothing away from the teaser itself or its author, (unless the poster is rude.)

So, I say "c'mon" to all those who think the debaters should lighten up.

Are we so narrow-minded here that we want to "squash" intellectual discussion? Afer all, this site is dedicated to THINKING!!

Now, in the spirit of the debate, I have two questions:

Will someone define MOVING for me? Isn't it basically a relative concept.... something is "moving" in relation to another object?

Also, TIME..... What is "time" other than an artificial concept that man has imposed, based upon the movements of the earth? The concept of time has been measured by the perceived movement of the sun, as well as movement of the moon, ever since man inhabited the earth. Primitive, but measurable nonetheless.
May 02, 2006 A lot of discussion going on! However, I just want to leave with a simple "Nice job" and put it into my favourites.
May 02, 2006

Very nice! It's a favorite!
May 02, 2006

hi all, this is my first post here.

this was a great teaser, one that i did not put very much thought into and didnt even really take a guess before looking at the answer

choptlivva - you are right about the term moving, it means just that, motion relative to another object

as for time, well that would take too much time to explain (not that i know the answer ) but you seem to have it down just the same. it is something that man has come up with in spite of his lack of knowledge about the universe. im sure there will be a point in time when we measure time differently than we do now. hope to see you all then
May 02, 2006

Awesome Clever Cute You got me good Excellent
May 02, 2006

Wow, I thought it was a regular clock because of the second hand, but, whoa! all of that sand, one grain at a time...
May 02, 2006

Very Clever!!
May 02, 2006

No matter what all of the people who are embarassed that they didn't get the answer say, this was a great little teaser.
It always amazes me that so many people will try to justify an incorrect answer by attacking the logic of a teaser.
Hope you post more just like this one!!
May 02, 2006


May 02, 2006

righteous!! that was awesome!!
May 02, 2006

Read thru most of the comments and didn't see my thought. Since Big Ben is such a hugh time piece I guess I thought it would have the most pieces. Nice teaser tho. Thanks for making me use my brain.
May 02, 2006

Kudos to the individual who voted for the intrinsic value of intellectual discussion. I didn't get it either, thought "universe" first, but agree with the author that hourglass fits the terms of the puzzle best.
Keep having fun.
May 03, 2006

I was thinking Big Ben too. This teaser is great. I can relate to several comments. Contrivery and interest to me means it has to be a good Teaser!
May 03, 2006

To Awwwwsweet- I thought that the teaser asked which timepiece has the most moving parts, not which creates time.
May 03, 2006

rachell - you are quite correct, I was simply responding to all of the comments about the universe having the most moving parts.

As a quick follow-up:
If a grain of fine sand has a diameter of 0.1 mm, then there are approx. 1,000,000 grains of sand in one cubic cm. Imagine how many grains of fine sand in a normal-sized hourglass! (Feel free to correct me though, I'm not a math whiz, hehe.)
May 03, 2006

It was clever, and I had to add comment because I did not want to be the only one who did not comment!
Jun 10, 2006

Relatively straightforward. Good one.
Jun 14, 2006

Yes straightforward, but also tricky and ingenious
Jun 19, 2006

Jun 30, 2006

Jan 06, 2007

O great.

i thought it was a granfather clock

nice one
Feb 26, 2007

Wow! I Acctually got it! Each grain of sand... Yeah COOL! Love it!
May 02, 2007

haha i dont really think this is a riddle...or logic for that matter..more like common sense or trivia....btw to Ozymandias: wicked cool name. I'm sure you know about his statue in the desert?
May 02, 2007

Tome for me to try another teaser.
May 02, 2007

do they give stupid awards here? if so I just won one. that was great.
May 02, 2007

hey, some of you need to chill out.
this is for FUN remember. or did you just miss your naps today. live happy be happy.
May 02, 2007

A sundial on it's own will not tell time without the earth to rotate it,and the sun to to shine casting a shadow.Grantd the device in it's independent state has no parts that move,it on it's own though is useless.To function,it requires three components,and if the Earth were a non-moving part,a sundial would be useless.
I think this is worth noting.
How many points do I get?
May 02, 2007

Great teaser. I should have thought a little longer cuz I just went with my first thought and it was wrong. When I saw the answer I did have a little chuckle. Keep up the great work.
May 02, 2007

Wickedly witty. And all the discussion, both pro and con, is very amusing too as well as educational.
May 02, 2007

Well, I didn't get it, and I don't want to put down a teaser, but the reason so many of us question the answer is because of the wording "which has the most?" That's a tough question to ask. I thought ".. well, I guess the universe" since it could be used to keep track of time, and it encompases everything.

To me, the answer would be like if the teaser read as "A triangle is the regular polygon with the fewest number of sides, which regular polygon has the most?" and the answer said an octagon or something.

(I'd say it's a circle, since it's the limit as n-> inf, but maybe there is no answer, since infinity isn't a number)
May 02, 2007

May I add that those who are saying the sun is an enormous clock are being inaccurate. As we all know now, the sun doesn't revolve around the earth; it's the earth's rotation on its axis that makes the sun appear to rise and set each day. But if we regard a clock as a specifically human tool, then probably the position of the sun relative to the earth is in fact the oldest clock we know of. Recall the beginning, for instance, of Chief Joseph's famous speech: "From where the sun now stands in the sky, I will fight no more."
May 02, 2007

Loved this teaser! Very CUTE!
May 02, 2007

great one and i dont just hand out good reviews all the time ..keep it up..
May 02, 2007

I Don't know what I liked better.The actual puzzle or the comments. Both were great. I learned a lot. BUT HOW ABOUT A COOKOO CLOCK??? After all, it does go in and out 12 times when it is NOON OR MIDNIGHT..... HA LOL
May 02, 2007

May 02, 2007

Cute easy one for me.
May 02, 2007

I didn't get it .....but it's a good one
So many long comments I wore out my scrolling finger!!!!

Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques
Dormez Vous Dormez Vous, qu'est que c'est? you're thinking too hard.
Bon chance with the next one.
May 02, 2007

sorry for double posting, I should have started with:
BON JOUR evryone Ca Va??
Ca va bien. (I am fine how are U)?

Have a good day all
May 02, 2007

Excellent! Loved it, even though I guessed grandfather clock...
P.S. Some of you people need to chill...
May 02, 2007

Easy, boring... yawn...
May 02, 2007

I thought the analysis of the number of grains (and therefore moving parts) in an hoourglass was fun. I was gonna do that, but ya beat me to it, Robin. It occurs to me, though, that an atomic clock may have more moving parts, if you define parts as eeither atoms or parts of atoms. OOf course, the total number of moving parts woiuld then depend on the size of the material and its atomic number. A clock based on cesium, for example, would have more moving parts than one based on carbon, provided the size of the piece of carbon being used as the standard were small enough.

This is all kinda fun to think about, though. Good stuff for those nights when, for no known reaon, at about 3:39AM, the eyes are suddenly open, and you are lying in bed awake. LOL
May 02, 2007

Incidentally, for those of you arguing that zero is not a number, re-read the original statement. "A sundial is the timepiece that has the least number of moving parts."

I believe that statement defines the parameters. one of the assumptions of this particular problem is that zero is a number. another seems, on the face of the statement, to be moving parts are not molecules, atoms, or some other very small thing, but parts that may be distinguished by the naked eye.
May 02, 2007

May 02, 2007

I've seen this before, and *still* didn't figure it out!
May 02, 2007

I just love this teaser. Any teaser that generates this much debate is awsome. I love it.
May 02, 2007

Kinda funny very funny
May 02, 2007

Great one! My husband fixes clocks & watches so I was thinking how many gears, parts, mainsprings, etc.
May 02, 2007

Good grief, people! The only thing that comes to mind when I read this thread is Milton talking to himself about his red stapler! Take the riddle for what it's worth and stop arguing about stupid stuff!

Wait a second...I have to pass this peice of cake (even though I didn't get one last time)...
May 02, 2007

very stimulating puzzle to say the least... it"s nice to see such positive debate and even praise from puttumup!!! wow. pretty typical from doe though. well I'm outta time gtg
May 02, 2007

I love the thinking this has promoted!!!! It's super to see the discussion and follow the ideas; that's worth even more than knowing "an answer". What an educational opportunity! Wouldn't this be a great discussion in a classroom?

(I also thought of the rotation of the Earth as a timing of days and years. I guess I was thinking "size" rather than "number of moving parts")
May 02, 2007

May 02, 2007

Wow! I don't think I have seen such a discussion on a teaser here before! Excellent!!
May 02, 2007

Very good job!! I also thought of Grandfather Clock. You got me!!
May 02, 2007

wow. good.
May 02, 2007

WOW TRICKY You got me good
May 02, 2007

I'd just like to give some whole hearted praise to all these awesome people debating these important topics. (okay maybe they aren't exactly important but...)
Seriously, I love debates, and seldom get to see a good one, my only regret is that we aren't all together in person, because that is when the real debate begins!

Good teaser too, loved the answer and really loved the comments.
May 02, 2007

i was going to say a grandfather clock.
May 02, 2007

I said kookoo clock. That is witty
May 02, 2007

Hmmm..'the sands of time...' Clever, huh?
May 02, 2007

ok ... sorry to double post... It just came to me though... Time being relative and all? Wouldn't a two hour glass have more moving parts than a one hour? and how far can we carry on like this
May 02, 2007

good one!
May 02, 2007

Ok u guys have got to stop thinking so teaser that the answer cuz thats the way its written stop over thinking it! is this what you do all day or were you late for work/school cuz u were working on this?
May 02, 2007

an hour glass? I would have figured the mysticall clock of eternity.
May 02, 2007


As defined by Merriam-Webster:

timepiece: a device (as a clock or watch) to measure or show progress of time.

Now, I'm no scientist, but I think I can venture out on a limb to say that neither the sun, solar-system, universe, or even the space-time continuum itself are "devices" by any stretch of logic. Neither are your eyes that you would use to translate the position of the sun/stars into a specific time.

And just how would you look at the universe, really? Your sight can't be that good!!!!


just in case your wondering,

device: something devised or contrived
May 04, 2007

the sundial is the answer as well. Fun puzzle.
May 04, 2007

without the sun a sundial is just a sculputure shrouded in darkness, therefor the sun is a part of this timepiece. How many moving parts does the sun have....hmm
May 07, 2007

May 02, 2007

"ok ... sorry to double post... It just came to me though... Time being relative and all? Wouldn't a two hour glass have more moving parts than a one hour?"

I wonder what would happen if it were moving through space at speeds approaching the speed of light. Would a two-hour glass become a one-hour glass at some point? If so, then It would eventually, at some speed, become a zero hour glass ......... and ultimately, the sands would reverse direction.

Jan 03, 2008

Can't you say "sandglass," "saltgalss(HAHA)" or "timer?" An hourglass doesn't always time an hour.
Jan 21, 2009

Nice, I like it!
Aug 04, 2010

Pretty easy, but that was still a good one.
Apr 09, 2012

Well, I thought it might have been one of those alarm clocks you have to wind up to get it running and then for the alarm to go off. How old fashioned is that?
Apr 09, 2012

I got the answer, but I'll still have to come back to this one to finish reading all the comments. It's off to work . . .
Apr 09, 2012

How about an electric clock-Surely electrons outnumber 'the sands of time'?
Apr 09, 2012

Good One. Any other answer like a grandfather clock could have been disputed.
Apr 09, 2012

I loved this one! Thanks!
Apr 09, 2012

I only skimmed through a few responses. I'm not going to read over 200 comments, but, I would say, in the "spirit" of the question, that a water clock would have more parts than an hourglass. If you qualify a particle of sand as a "part" then a particle or molecule of water would be a "part" of a water clock. Thus even a smallish water clock would have more "parts" than a giant hourglass.

Zero IS a number of course, however, if you want to get really arcane with your logic, the Sun and all of its particles COULD be tabulated as part of the sundial's parts inventory, but, let's not go there.
Apr 09, 2012

excellent. I was grousing over it " Dang who would something like that. Must be an uber-expensive clock " But, was a simple one.. Nice job
Feb 23, 2013

Great teaser! I thought of both an atomic clock and the universe. Finally settled for the universe but your answer fits best. Robinmckenzie, that was a fun read!
Dec 22, 2013

A waterclock has more moving pieces
Feb 23, 2014

My agenda book at school has brain teasers interspersed on the pages, and this on was on it. I couldn't figure it out, so I turned to Braingle for help. Thanks!
Jun 04, 2015

I also guessed "universe" as in the astrological sense. However I wasn't confident in my answer and while I don't feel "universe" is wrong, I'm at peace with the answer provided.
Jun 04, 2015

I agree with answer was also universe...I did , however, enjoy this puzzle and liked the 'correct' answer!!
Jun 04, 2015

This teaser generated over 30 comments during its first year of introduction.

Has generated over 200 comments total.

To Babe ...

You - in response to my statement here of two days ago - asked ....

"what can I (or we) do to increase participation ... ?"

Babe ... are you SERIOUS ???

And ... to the rest of you ....

... are you


New teasers are being posted almost every week. And most get NO ... or ONE ... or TWO ... comments only.

Check your screen for a block that says "Newest Teasers" ....

or ... look to the left on your screen for a column that says ... "browse teasers" ... and click on "all".

If that doesn't do it for you then PM (personal message) me and I'll show you how (and more on participation).

Pleas STOP telling us you "don't know what to do" to help Braingle survive.

Us (BadBunnee, LittleBrownElf, BadBunnee02, LittleGreenMan) ...

Still laughing ....

Jun 04, 2015


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