HELP! I Can’t Do the Math


I generally like puzzles…unless I can’t work them out and then they are the work of the devil! I can be just a tad OCD so when at 1am this morning a friend gave me a puzzle that I couldn’t work out I figured it may just be because I was a little sleepy. But no, this morning I’ve tried again and I still can’t work it out.

So…I am hoping someone reading this may know the answer. Here’s the conundrum:

3 men arrive at a hotel on a business trip. The hotel room cost £30 so they each pay £10 and go to their room. A little later the hotel realises they have overcharged the men and they send a porter to the room with £5 refund. Realising that he can’t split the £5 equally the porter pockets £2 and gives the men £3 back.

The room was £30, the porter kept £2 meaning the room cost £28 right? But, after each man received £1 back that means they paid £9 each totally £27. Where’s the missing pound?

I know there is a logical solution to this….but my brain isn’t working on finding it out just yet. Any suggestions?


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Location – The Trace Too

4 thoughts on “HELP! I Can’t Do the Math

  1. Hey Kessface, seems there are two different ways of looking at it, and the mixing of them is what causes the confusion. After the men get their £1 back each, they have spent £27 between them – £25 of that is with the hotel manager and £2 of that is with the porter (ie. there is no £30 any longer).

    The other way of looking at it is…
    £30 – £5 = £25 divided by 3 – £8.333r
    Add £1 refund each = £9.333r paid by each man.
    = £28 paid in total by the 3 men
    + £2 in the porter’s pocket = £30.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The room was £30, the porter kept £2 meaning the room cost £28 right?”

    No, the room was £30, the porter gave back £3, meaning the room cost £27.

    Or from another point of view, the room should have been £25, but the porter kept £2 so the cost was £27.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you all for the comments! Yes, once I looked at it the other way round I understood it and it really is in the wording which misleads the brain into adding instead of subtracting. My friend was highly amused once I told them I knew the answer so thank you all for the help ❤


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