Try Your Hand at This Knotty Russian Clock Puzzle

It took a mathematician 3 minutes, how long will it take you?
Fabienne Lang

Using tricks to train your brain has been a method used across a number of subjects, especially for the sciences. 

One such trick was brought to light last year, which is supposedly used as a logic test for 13 to 14-year-olds in Russia as part of their hardy maths curriculum, per Men's Health. It consists of a puzzling analog clock without any numbers, that's been rotated seemingly at random, and that has three hands pointing in different directions. 


It's worthy of a head scratch, but Economics and math pro, Presh Talwakar, posted a video on his YouTube channel, MindYourDecisions, in which he solves the trick in a matter of minutes, breaking it down step by step for us mere mortals. 

It seems that maths are a big deal in Russian training at school, as was described in this Boston Magazine article in 2017. So it comes as little surprise that they'd create problems using clocks to help kick-start logical reasoning in teenagers.

Try Your Hand at This Knotty Russian Clock Puzzle
The Russian clock in question. Source: MindYourDecisions/YouTube

Nothing like a school program to get your brain juices flowing. So let's get them started.

The problem starts with a typical question that reads as follows: "Dima saw a strange timepiece in the museum. It had no numbers and it may have been rotated out of position. The second, minute, and hour hands were all the same length. But it operated like a standard timepiece. What time was it?"

You then see the clock without any numbers, and its three hands pointing at random. 

Most Popular

You'll have to watch the video in full to see which hands stand for the hour, minutes, and seconds and Talwakar makes it easier for us by naming them Hand A, Hand B, and Hand C, so we can at least keep track of what he's talking about. 

In the end, it's actually not such an insanely tricky problem to solve (even we got it right before watching the end of the video!), but it certainly gets your logical brain into gear. 

There are a ton of mind benders out there to keep you on point. Check out these logical reasoning tests, or these 20 great brainteasers for engineers, you might even enjoy figuring out what kind of algorithm can help you solve a Rubik's Cube.

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron