Gasp... Is This the End of the Weekend Genius Challenge?

It's been a struggle to come up with mental exercises that are difficult enough for the many, many brilliant folks who read mental_floss and visit It's difficult to develop puzzles that are (1) safe from Web searches, but (2) not impossible to solve. After seeing many difficult contests won in a matter of minutes, I'm taking this weekend off to reassess the Weekend Genius Challenge.

We get the most entries in creative-type challenges... having you write haikus using the two words from the ReCaptcha service, asking you to tell us where the "lost" hour went during Daylight Saving Time, and so forth. So we're considering going that route for future WGCs. What do you think? Ideas, suggestions, and comments are more than welcome. In fact, if you'll kindly take the time to chime in, we'll pick a random comment and send the responsible party the mental_floss T-shirt of his or her choice. Thanks in advance.

In the meantime, we'll continue to do Brain Games on a daily basis, with puzzles of varying description each weekday. And we'll have results for the last two WGCs in a day or two. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Weekend Genius Challenge #30: Unwritten Rules

We got SO many entries for last week's WGC that it may take us the rest of the weekend to sort through all the responses... but we'll choose a winner before Monday arrives. In the meantime, since you all seem to enjoy being creative, let's give away another T-shirt by unleashing Weekend Genius Challenge #30!

Many "unwritten rules" guide our planet. Here are a few I've jotted down over the years:

1. All really good architects must go by three names.

2. The number of leaves that end up in your yard in the fall has more to do with your neighbor's trees than your own.

3. During trip to a restaurant with someone else, when you ask for two orders of fries, both orders will be incredibly large and too much to eat. But the next time you go to that restaurant with someone else and ask for only a single order of fries -- thinking it will be enough to share -- the order will be incredibly small.

Your job is to fill us in on the "unwritten rules" that you've experienced in life. The mind behind the one we vote best will win a T-shirt of his or her choice from our online store. REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT: To be absolutely clear, your entries should have nothing to do with identity, race, color, religion, sexual preference, political preference, physical or mental issues, or anything bordering that. In other words, don't direct them towards any person or group of people who might possibly take offense. So be smart. Play nice. Sit up straight. And tell your sister you love her.

Also, please remember that all comments will be moderated before they're released, so it may take a while for them to appear on the site. Enter as many times as you like, but please put each entry in a separate comment. Good luck!

Weekend Genius Challenge #29: The Writer in You

About two years ago, I got the idea of compiling some works of poetry or prose using the subject lines from the scores and scores of spam emails I receive every day. Many of them use random-word generators, so you end up with some nonsensical (but interesting-sounding) phrases. One email that I got was labeled "A Twirl of Wheezy," and I was so gung-ho on the project that I actually reserved that domain name thinking that I'd use it as the title of said book. Alas, as with many of my ideas, I learned that I was a day late and a dollar short. Before I had the time to act on the idea, several similar sites popped up across the WWW. But the concept still intrigues me, and it inspired this weekend's WGC.

cookie.jpgIf you've played a Weekend Genius Challenge or otherwise commented on a post recently, you've noticed that we've implemented the ReCaptcha system to prevent misuse. When we comment on others' posts, we have to key in the words just like you do, and I've noticed the wide variation of two-word sequences that pop up on ReCaptcha. So for WGC #29, I want you to write something -- a sentence, a phrase, a headline, a poem, a paragraph -- using the two ReCaptcha words that pop up when you click "comment." Put the two words in ALL CAPS so that we know which two they are. And no, we're not going to require a screen capture or anything complex to prove you're being honest. We trust you.

As usual, we're looking for the creative, the smart, the bizarre, and the humorous. So if you keep refreshing until you get two "good" words, you'll probably end up ruining your chances. Challenge yourself. It is a great person who can make something from nothing. (Sounds like a fortune cookie, eh?) We'll allow up to three entries per person, but each entry must be in its own comment. And PLEASE remember that comments are moderated, so they will NOT show up immediately after you enter them; it may take minutes/hours before they're released. Good luck!


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