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viral maths puzzle

This viral maths puzzle is supposed to be ‘easy’ but it’s left everyone flummoxed

Resitting my maths GCSE as we speak

Give me a cheeky optical illusion or spot the difference over a maths puzzle any day. I am not and never will be a maths girlie yet every time one of these puzzles goes viral I end up feeling so incredibly stupid.

And of course, now there’s a new one making the rounds and it’s confusing literally everyone and apparently it’s meant to be super simple?? Of course, you’ve got the show-offs in the replies insisting that it’s easy and sharing the answer but then you’ve got everybody else who is just naming every single number under the sun hoping that it might be right. Thinking I need to resit my maths GCSE right about now.

Okay so, what is the viral maths puzzle and what on earth is the answer?

The puzzle is:

1 + 4 = 5

2 + 5 = 12

3 + 6 = 21

8 + 11 + ?

It gives you three sums, one of which is right and the other two appear to be wrong. You’ve got to work out what this means and therefore the answer to eight plus 11. Obviously, at first glance, there is no correlation between the answers, because they don’t straightforwardly answer the questions. But, there is a pattern and a quick way to work this one out.

Spoiler alert: Stop scrolling now unless you want the answer

So, the answer is 96. Basically what is happening is you’re multiplying the first number by the second number and then adding the answer to that to the first number. So one times four is four, add the first number (one)  and you’ve got five. Five times two is 10, add the first number (tw0) and you get 12.

So for eight plus 11 you’re doing 11 times eight which is 88 and adding eight which then gives you 96. And voila! Why is it so easy when you finally get it?

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