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Dr. Gary Gruber's Brain Teasers, Vol. 3

May 15, 2014

1. Complete the analogy:
BEETHOVEN is to Violin Concerto as ...

(A) Grieg is to piano concerto
(B) Mozart is to symphony
(C) Sibelius is to symphonic poems
(D) Bach is to cantata
(E) Verdi is to opera

2. Suppose I have 40 symphony CDs and 40 classic rock CDs in a drawer. If I reach into the drawer without looking at the CDs, what is the smallest number of CDs I must take out to make sure that I have two of the same type of music (either orchestral or rock)?

(A) 2
(B) 3
(C) 4
(D) 40
(E) 41

3. A conductor’s son’s father is not a conductor. How is this possible?

4. What's wrong with this advertisement: “Buy tickets in advance and you’ll get the best seats to the concert.”

5. There are four musicians in a line. Sarah the cellist is between Barry the violinist and Mary the violist. Mary is in front of two other people and John the bassist is directly in front of Mary. Who’s first in line, second, third, and fourth?



… DOWN ...

… FOR ...



1. (A) Beethoven wrote only one violin concerto as Grieg wrote only one piano concerto.

2. B (Do this problem stepwise by starting with two CDs: If you take only two CDs, they could be two different type of music, but getting three guarantees that you will have two CDs with the same type music.)

3. The conductor is the son's mother.

4. If many concertgoers paid attention to the ad, they would all buy tickets in advance and thus wouldn’t be guaranteed to get the best seats. Of course, the reason the ad was placed was to increase ticket sales; it is assumed that not everyone would read the ad and take the advice.

5. From first to last: bassist, violist, cellist, violinist.

Label cellist, violinist, violist, and bassist as C, V, L, B respectively. Now look at the statement that gives the most direct information. It is the last statement: John the bassist is directly in front of Mary the violist. This translates to B, L. Now look at the rest of that sentence: The violist is in front of two other people. This translates to LVC or LCV. (Since the bassist is in front of the violist, the other two musicians are behind her). Thus we would have BLVC or BLCV. But from the statement “The cellist is between violinist and violist” BLVC is ruled out so we are left with BLCV.

Dr. Gary R. Gruber is recognized as the leading authority on standardized tests and the originator of the critical thinking skills used to prepare for them. The author of more than 40 books with over 7 million copies sold, his lifelong mission is to get the nation to be passionate about problem solving and to develop and hone critical thinking abilities. Check out his website: