So, here it is:

Photo Credit: Gawker

The answer is definitely not 6.

It’s an old puzzle that’s been around in this form for at least 40 years in the U.S.

The older you are, the better I’d guess your chances might be.

It is not 6.

How did you try to solve the puzzle?

Did you use addition?

Photo Credit: clipartpanda

Don’t do that.


Photo Credit: Miss Barsotti


Here’s a hint that might just confuse you more:

Photo Credit: Gawker/DYK

Algebra? Calc? Trig?

Photo Credit: Ashley K-12

You’re getting warmer, but probably not in the way you think.

In fact, if you used conventional math to try and solve or prove this problem as if it was an equation, that was probably your first mistake.

It’s not a math problem:

Photo Credit: Gawker/DYK

Did those lines help?

It’s still not 6.

Or 8.

Or 5.

Or 3.

It’s not even a number.

And, I’m running out of hints:

Photo Credit: A7N8X

I could throw out a bunch of puns about finding the differential in this non-equation…

Or how a shift in technology means that most millennials and even Gen-Xers would automatically be at a disadvantage…

But, most boomers will be geared up three on a tree, or rolling all four on the floor laughing at how easy this one is…

Not that I’m picking sides in the generation wars.

I try to stay neutral…

If that didn’t give it all away, nothing will.

If you’re ready for the answer — it’s after the jump…


Photo Credit: Datsun Hunter

The answer is “R.”

It’s not a math problem.

It’s a diagram for a five-speed manual gear-shift pattern.

The sixth slot is for the reverse gear.

I’m 38.

I just traded in my fourth car with a manual transmission a few months ago.

I still didn’t get this one.

So, if you didn’t either, maybe you shouldn’t feel so bad.

h/t: Gawker, Bright Side