Okay, put on your thinking cap because this puzzle is pretty tricky. At first glance, the relatively small number of choices and the seemingly easy maze in the “Who Gets Water First” riddle looks like no big deal. Upon closer inspection, however, it appears that there’s more to it. Twitter user @_herbeautyxo shared the fluid mechanics riddle and people were completely baffled. Some people might have been overthinking it, however, because once the answer was revealed, people were surprised it wasn’t all that complicated.
Follow along: a person pours water into the top container, but where will it end up first? The cups are numbered ‘4,’ ‘9,’ ‘5’ and ‘7’ with pipes leading to each.
The riddle got thousands of likes and retweets as everyone tried their best to get the answer. Most people answered with cup 4 getting the water first, with 9, 7, and 5 getting it in that order.
Others wondered if all of the cups wouldn’t receive the water at the same time. Nope.
The riddle, it seems, has nothing to do with fluid mechanics as much as it does with paying close attention to all of the details presented. If you look closely at each of the pipes, you might just notice how easy the answer is.
Follow each pipe closely and take note that some of them are blocked, meaning the liquid never makes it to three of the cups. Only cup 5 actually has a functioning path to deliver the water!
Did you get the correct answer or were you overthinking it?
A discussion about the answer kicked off in the comments section of the Tip Hero Facebook post about the riddle, with one person guessing: “Wow all you that said 5 aren’t looking at the chambers needing to be filled first. The tube going to cup 4 is the lowest that doesn’t have to fill a chamber first. So the right answer is 4.”
Others pointed out that that could never be the case, with one commenter noting: “We are looking just fine… Look at the tubes…” and another adding “7 is blocked at the elbow so with 4 being blocked at the tank, 9 being blocked at the end of the pipe, 5 is the only correct answer.”
Other commenters explained things in even more detail, such as this person, who pointed out: “number 5…The pipe to number 4 is blocked off, as is number 9, the water would then fill up the chamber above numbers 4 and 9 and refill the original chamber, thus filling the other side. It wouldn’t go to number 7 because the pipe is blocked off, so it would fill up the two remaining chambers and number 5 would get all of the water.”
Another commenter noted: “I want to be number 5. I want all the water, give me all the water!”
At least one commenter didn’t have time for the riddle nonsense, writing: “I say just gimme the cup and carafe and let me pour my own darn water. All this foolishness with wasted water trying to see what cup fills the fastest. MINE. MY cup fills the fastest. Just gimme that blasted carafe and my cup.”