Can You Figure Out the Missing Word in This Brain Teaser?

Updated: Nov. 08, 2022

This one is a doozy!

lettersDiego Schtutman/Shutterstock
Colorful letter texture wallpaper background; Shutterstock ID 148469546

Brain teasers aren’t easy to solve or easy to come up with on the spot. Still, Presh Talalakar, a former economics and mathematics student and author, makes it his job to come up with a brain-busting teaser for your enjoyment. (If you can figure out this brain teaser, you might be qualified to be an astronaut.)

In a recent video from his YouTube channel, he gives his viewers a brain-busting workout with the following scenario:

Three students, named Albert, Bernard, and Cheryl, sit in a classroom. The teacher walks into the room and writes the words “cat,” “dog,” “has,” “max,” “dim,” and “tag” on the chalkboard. All three students are handed a sheet of paper with one letter from one of the words on it and are informed that when their letters are combined, they add up to one of the words on the chalkboard. They can only see their own paper.

The teacher then goes down the line, first with Albert, asking if the students know the secret word. Albert says yes, he does. He then asks Bernard, who pauses, then says yes. He then asks Cheryl, who also says yes. Can you guess what the word is from their responses?

(We’ll give you a couple of minutes.)

Give up? The secret word is “dog.”  Mental Floss provides a breakdown of why the answer is canine:

“Albert answers that he knows what the right word is based on one letter, you can use that information to narrow down his possible letters to one of the six that are never repeated on the board: c, o, h, s, x, and i. And when Bernard says that he knows too, you can deduce that his list of potential letters is limited to t, g, h, or s. That leaves ‘cat,’ ‘dog,’ and ‘has’ as the three remaining options. Cheryl’s answer confirms that she has the letter d, which means the secret word is ‘dog.’”

If you still have any brain power left after handling that doozy of a challenge, there are more puzzles where that came from. For those looking for a challenge of the visual (and reptilian) variety, try finding the snake in this photo, the turtle among these lily pads, these hidden, secret shapes, or the python in this room.

[Source: MindYourDecisions / Mental Floss]