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Stealing Apples

Math brain teasers require computations to solve.

 Puzzle ID: #1494 Fun: (2.54) Difficulty: (1.66) Category: Math Submitted By: Night Corrected By: Sane

Three boys went to their neighbor's tree to steal apples. Only one of them could climb, so that boy started to pick apples.

The neighbor woke up and he came outside to investigate. The other two boys who couldn't climb got scared and ran away.

The boy up in the tree waited patiently until the neighbor left, and then got down with the apples he picked. He divided them into three equal parts and left with his share.

The next day the second boy came and he saw the apples lying around. He divided them into three sections and took the share with the most apples.

A few hours later the third boy arrived and took all the apples that were left.

The next day when they met again, they found out they all had the same number of apples.

How could this be? How many apples were there if the boy picked fewer than 9 apples?

There were 6 apples.

The first boy divided it into 3 sections (2, 2, 2). Then took two.

The second boy divided the remaining 4 into 3 sections (2, 1, 1). Then took the share with the most apples (2).

The third boy took the remainder (2).

They each had 2 to make a total of 6.

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 mmm Nov 30, 2001 The answer is incomplete. There is more than one answer... Multiples of the suggested answer will do it as well. dgoertz Feb 09, 2002 The above is right I was thinking 12 which also works Bobbrt Apr 12, 2002 The answer given is correct. The problem doesn't say anything about the second boy dividing the apples up evenly. If there were 12 apples to begin with, the second boy would have seen 8 apples on the ground, which he could have divided up into piles of 1,1, and 6. Then the boys would have 4,6, and 2 apples. The only correct answer is 6. javaguru Feb 08, 2009 The teaser had potential, but putting the limit of less than nine killed it. Instead just say the second boy divided them as evenly as possible and left with the biggest pile and get rid of the less than nine. Makes a decent, although simple teaser that way. As it is now, it's trivial since there are only two multiples of three to even consider. Jimbo Apr 17, 2009 Ditto