Thursday, November 8, 2007

A grey elephant in Denmark

My nephews visited last night and told us this really cool little mental puzzle that's well worth trying out on your family and friends. So choose your victim and tell them you're going to prove that you can read their mind. Here's how it goes.

1) Think of a number between 1 and 10.

2) Multiply it by 9.

3) Add those two digits together so that you end up with a 1-digit number. (And whichever number they chose, the sum will add up to 9. That's because the sum total of anything that's multiplied by 9 will add up to 9. Think about it, 9, 18, 27, 36, 45 etc. all the way to 90.)

4) Now subtract 5 from this number. (Of course they will end up with the number 4)

5) Work out the corresponding letter that matches this digit. For example, 1 would be A, 2 would be B and so on. (So naturally your victim will end up with D)

6) Now think of a country that begins with this letter. (Denmark is usually the first country that springs to mind because countries beginning with D are pretty sparse.)

7) Now think of an animal whose name begins with the second letter of this country. (The second letter in Denmark is E, so normally, "elephant" will automatically be chosen.)

8) Think of the colour of this animal. (Normally, people will decide that elephants are grey.)


This worked like a charm in our household. But I've got to warn you, it's not totally foolproof. My nephews told us how they'd tried it on my Dad (their grandfather). It seems that instead of choosing Denmark for his country beginning with D, he chose Dalmatia. Then, when Travis and Jarrad made their big announcement, "You're thinking of a grey elephant in Denmark," he said, "No, I'm not. I'm thinking of a brown ass in Dalmatia!" We all thought that was pretty funny. They said, "Only Papa would have to think of some tiny, obscure little country that probably only has a population of a couple of hundred people." But they say it's worked over 90% of the time with everyone else.


  1. Dalmatia? I suppose that's where Dalmations come from?

    I am definitely going to try this out on several smarty-pants people I know, it sounds like so much fun :-)

  2. Umm...It didn't work on my husband. He was thinking of a white Denmark. :o)
    We also had a little trouble getting him to think of a number. He kept telling us the number. He thinks out loud.
    Peace and Laughter,

  3. My dh would be the one to think of an obscure country. And maybe Chad, since he's big on geography. But this would definitely work on my younger kids. I like thinking jokes like this.

    Hey, I just saw the photos of your dh's projects. I LOVE that chaise lounge! What a great place to relax and read or write. He does nice work! I'll bet your kids hope that fort doesn't sell any time soon!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  4. Oh, that's fun.
    Dalmatia probably would have come up around here, too. *L* and probably Denmark.


  5. We wouldn't be able to try it on my husband either. It would never work. He always ruins stuff like that. :o) He's just too smart!

    But it does sound like fun!

  6. I'm going to have fun doing this with my smarty pants! Thanks!

  7. there's a good way to prove your dad wrong - Dalmatia is not a country, it's a region.

    There are four "d" countries - Denmark, Dominican Republic, Dominica, and Djibouti.

    It is the best letter to use, though.

  8. my dad used this on me as a kid - on question 7 where you ask to pick an animal you say: think of a large animal starting with the second letter of the country that way they think of an elephant and not something small like an eagle. and the answer at the end is YOURE THINKING OF A BIG GREY ELEPHANT IN DENMARK!!

    hope that little bit extra helps you with your trick!

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