Fork Spoon Puzzle

I’ve always been attracted to puzzles. Not ones involving gimmicks or trickery, but those that are really ingenuous. In many cases, they are educational as well. My most favorite one was the fork spoon puzzle.

It is my favorite because the efforts that you put in solving it are more than rewarded when you see the result! The solution is nothing short of miraculous and most people don’t believe their eyes when they see it. It is a fun educational tool for children as well as adults.

Before We Begin

  • If you already know about this one, feel free to share your experience via comments!
  • If you are able to solve it, don’t give away the solution in the comments. Let others have fun too!

What You Need

  • A Spoon (steel, not plastic)
  • A Fork (preferably from the same set)
  • A Match-Stick (wooden, preferably square)
  • A Glass (with a straight, sharp edge, preferably wide-mouthed)

Goal

Balance the fork and spoon on the glass using the match-stick, such that neither the fork nor the spoon touch the glass or the ground. Also, the match-stick can touch the glass at only one point. Yes, you read that right.

Guidelines

  • If you want to, you can cheat using the Internet. You’ll lose out on all the fun if you do.
  • Feel free to ask questions if any, via comments.
  • Feel free to invite your friends and blog-mates if you wish.
  • Remember: the solution is based on a simple scientific principle, there are no tricks or gimmicks involved.

All the best, have fun! 🙂

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  • Hey, Mahendra!
    I solved it, and sent you an email with the proof. Did ya get it?

  • Hi Ramana: my sincere apologies – I forgot to include the rule that the match-stick can touch the glass at only one point (have updated the post now).

    I’d replied to your email thinking that it was a photographic trick, but then saw it more clearly. Given the earlier constraints, I concede you did “solve” the puzzle. But now it’s more interesting, right? 🙂

  • Aaaargh!
    More exercise of feeble, dwindling cerebral neurons!!

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  • I made a mental sticky note to try this out sometime, but since I didnt use the original 3M sticky note and instead used a shady, cheap, chinese variant, it fell off some time. I am in the process of trying this out now. One clarification – Any restrictions on the matchstick touching the ground? You didn’t mention explicitly, so I ask

  • //shady, cheap, Chinese variant…it fell off…// LOL!!!

    No, no restrictions on the matchstick touching the ground; but the glass should be tall enough that the length of an ordinary matchstick will not traverse from the edge of the glass to the ground! The point is to balance the fork and the spoon on the glass, so the ground doesn’t come into the picture, except for the glass. Now is that a hint?

  • I had a hunch that joining the fork and the spoon might lead to something. But I am having trouble balancing it using the match. The surface of the match keeps slipping off the edge

  • Yes, it does lead to that ‘something’. The matchstick should be wooden, with rough edges, not a polished one. Use an ordinary steel glass with a thin edge. I said sharp edge above in the post…

  • I suck at these kinds of puzzles and so I am sure this is not what you were thinking : http://arunk.freepgs.com/tmp/fork_spoon_stick_glass.jpg

  • Arun: I would think that in your solution, the fork and the spoon were touching the glass…that’s against the rules…

    I reiterate, the solution is so elegant, so beautiful, that you will not believe what your’re seeing!

  • Oh I didnt respond because I’d been there done that albeit with 2 matchsticks (because my spoon and fork were from different set). But the trick is the same. I wish they had shown such stuff to us in school, learning concepts about COG would have been MUCH easier 🙂

  • Duh! Although I was sure I must have been breaking the rules since I spent a grand total of 5 minutes thinking about it

  • ha-ha! I realize now my original attempt was even more pathetic – I had a knife instead of a spoon 🙂

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