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#21. Brain puzzle for the whole brain: The Blind Beggar

Exer­cise mul­ti­ple areas of your brain by try­ing to answer this rid­dle:

A blind beg­gar had a broth­er who died. What rela­tion was
the blind beg­gar to the broth­er who died?
“Broth­er” is not the answer.

Now, your brain’s turn. What is the answer?

tick tick tick tick…

still work­ing on it? …

Expla­na­tion (answer at bot­tom):
This puz­zle is very sim­ply stat­ed and yet stumps those who have not heard it before, because the lis­ten­er tends to make an implic­it assump­tion about gen­der — in this case that a blind beg­gar is a man.

Brain Use:
This puz­zle touch­es on ana­lyt­i­cal func­tions like abstract rea­son­ing, hypoth­e­sis test­ing, and implic­it assump­tions resid­ing in your frontal lobes, as well as your cre­ativ­i­ty in find­ing nov­el solu­tions to prob­lems and emo­tion­al mem­o­ry.

The blind beg­gar was the sis­ter of her broth­er, who died.



Next brain teas­er in Sharp­Brains’ top 25 series:

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46 Responses

  1. yahobahne says:

    wow, assump­tion is a pow­er­ful thing. we all do it and as a result many bias, dis­crim­i­na­tions and prej­u­dices are formed.

  2. terrell owens says:

    The beg­gar is obvi­ous­ly the sis­ter

  3. Alvaro says:

    good job-and wel­come!

  4. Rhiannon says:

    There is a sim­i­lar rid­dle that I heard a num­ber of years ago that remind­ed me of and helped me with this one: A man and his son are in a car acci­dent and both rushed to the hos­pi­tal with seri­ous injuries. The doc­tor who is about to oper­ate on the son says, “I can’t oper­ate on this boy; he is my son.” How is this pos­si­ble?

  5. Alvaro says:

    Hel­lo Rhi­an­non, that’s a good one. I’ll post it on its own-and we can post the answer, say, by Mon­day.

  6. jacky says:


  7. Lisbeth Laursen says:

    Just found this great page! I am at my first year as a math teacher (grade 1–6) and have found a lot of inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion and things to try out! Thanks very much for all your work

    🙂 Lis­beth, Den­mark

  8. Alvaro says:

    Glad to hear, Lis­beth! Feel free to share with us good teasers and exer­cis­es you may find.

  9. rhan­non
    i know that one the answer is.….….…..
    the doc­tor was his moth­er

  10. emina says:

    i like this type of teas­er, and I’m look­ing for­ward in see­ing more of this!
    It’s actu­al­ly my first time to vis­it and I instant­ly got hooked. great blog!

  11. Jess says:

    well… i thought for about 10 secs… and then i got it 😀
    I’m 16..

  12. kate says:

    hmm…I don’t real­ly get this. Why could­n’t the beg­ger be a man? If he was a man, he could still have a Broth­er..?

  13. Annemarie Lykke Hansen says:


  14. Colleen Rae says:

    The cor­rect answer should be — sib­ling.
    There is no evi­dence of gen­der.

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