It’s as simple as apples and bananas and coconuts…or is it? A seemingly simple children’s brain teaser has launched an Internet-wide debate over the correct answer.
The algebraic puzzle uses apples, bananas and coconuts instead of numbers and asks individuals to guess what number each fruit represents.
At first glance, the puzzle seems easy enough. The first equation has three apples, which add up to 30. The undisputed correct answer for this one is that each apple is equal to 10.
The next row isn’t too tough. One apple plus two equal bunches of bananas equals 18. Knowing that an apple equals 10, one may confidently conclude that each bunch of bananas equals 4.
The next line states that a bunch of bananas minus a coconut equals 2. A coconut, then, must equal 2 — it can be no other way.
But the fourth and final line of the puzzle is what has grown men and women arguing over the puzzle’s solution.
The last problem features a coconut, an apple and a banana, which add up to a mystery solution.
Intuitively, the answer is 16 (2+10+4). But a closer look will reveal that — and this has been the most disputed factor — seems to show that the bunch of bananas is missing one fruit, reducing the unknown sum to 15.
A news site posted the teaser on Facebook in December, and now, almost two months later, it seems as though Facebook users have grown no closer to reaching a verdict.
Paul Blanch, one of almost 400 people who attempted the riddle wrote: “16 – easy! 3 apples = 30; therefore apples are worth 10 Apple – 2 bananas = 18; the apple is worth 10, so the bananas are worth 4. Banana – coconut = 2; the banana is worth 4, so the coconut is worth 2. The last line? Coconut (2) +apple (10) +banana (4) =16.”
Obaidullah Khan Barcha said: “On second and third line there are 4 bananas in a bunch but in the last line there are only 3 bananas in a bunch, that’s why the answer is 15.”
Ethan Pearson agreed with Barcha:
One man concluded that the answer was 20. He explained, “1 apple equals 10, coconut equals 6 and banana bunch equals 4 so your answer is 20.”
The site that posted the riddle offered no definitive answer, leading to the torturous two-month dispute. So much for “simple.”
This article originally appeared on The Blaze.