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How Many Were Going To Saint Ives?

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As I was going to Saint Ives,

I crossed the path of seven wives.

Every wife had seven sacks,

Every sack had seven cats,

Every cat had seven kittens,

Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,

How many were going to Saint Ives?

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Note that solution for this puzzle is already given in the following post by unreality

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48 answers to this question

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1 - You were the only one going to Saint Ives.

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the question does not provide enough information, we need to know if there are people ahead of you, or people behind you going to Saint Ives also, the man you passed with the seven wives, etc could be going to Saint Ives but, using a different route.

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As I was going to Saint Ives,

I crossed the path of seven wives.

Every wife had seven sacks,

Every sack had seven cats,

Every cat had seven kittens,

Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,

How many were going to Saint Ives?

one

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Only 1. That was me.

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As I was going to Saint Ives,

I crossed the path of seven wives.

Every wife had seven sacks,

Every sack had seven cats,

Every cat had seven kittens,

Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,

How many were going to Saint Ives?

One person is going to Saint Ives: you. You can't cross paths if you're going in the same direction as the others, you may only overtake them or they overtake you.

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As with many puzzles like this there is not enough information.

The important point is the wording about crossing of paths as Sky points out in his comment:

You can't cross paths if you're going in the same direction as the others, you may only overtake them or they overtake you.

However I disagree with Sky. I could easily use the phrase "I crossed paths with Joe at the airport and we both flew to St. Ives."

Just because you "crossed paths" doesn't mean you aren't both going to the same place.

The term "crossed paths" is slang and not rigid enough to provide adequate information.

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As with many puzzles like this there is not enough information.

The important point is the wording about crossing of paths as Sky points out in his comment:

You can't cross paths if you're going in the same direction as the others, you may only overtake them or they overtake you.

However I disagree with Sky. I could easily use the phrase "I crossed paths with Joe at the airport and we both flew to St. Ives."

Just because you "crossed paths" doesn't mean you aren't both going to the same place.

The term "crossed paths" is slang and not rigid enough to provide adequate information.

Does that mean you tarried a while - crossed is crossed and met is met (our paths met - the original is met not crossed which is even more ambiguous), or our paths are one the same?

Any way could have crossed/met, just using a different route to arrive at the same place or ending up going the same way

Like many old riddles that are well known, it's ambiguity is key and we all know the generally accepted answer! which is April 1st

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As with many puzzles like this there is not enough information.

The important point is the wording about crossing of paths as Sky points out in his comment:

You can't cross paths if you're going in the same direction as the others, you may only overtake them or they overtake you.

However I disagree with Sky. I could easily use the phrase "I crossed paths with Joe at the airport and we both flew to St. Ives."

Just because you "crossed paths" doesn't mean you aren't both going to the same place.

The term "crossed paths" is slang and not rigid enough to provide adequate information.

That does make sense, but as LIS said as well, it's an old riddle, yes? The terminology used must then be given some slack either way. I was just trying to attempt to make it clearer for those who challenged the generally accepted answer. :) (Edit: Wow that is wordy :D)

Edited by Sky
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As I was going to Saint Ives,

I crossed the path of seven wives.

Every wife had seven sacks,

Every sack had seven cats,

Every cat had seven kittens,

Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,

How many were going to Saint Ives?

2501

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actually the answer to the question that was asked:

"Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,

How many were going to Saint Ives? "

Is 0. You crossed their path. In order to cross a path you you have to CROSS a path meaning:

The ladies were going maybe east to west and you were going north to south.

The questions was not:

Including yourself Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,

How many were going to Saint Ives?

So the answer is 0 because none of the Kittens, cats, sacks, wives were going to St. Ives.

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Me...only 1

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After a couple home brews and a quick whack at the math, I came up with 448.

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after several more homebrews and a spreadsheet, now I get 2800

after several homebrews, now I get 2800

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I like the answer '0' simply because of the final phrase 'Kittens, sacks and wives, how many were going to saint ives'

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How Many Were Going To Saint Ives?

As I was going to Saint Ives,

I crossed the path of seven wives.

Every wife had seven sacks,

Every sack had seven cats,

Every cat had seven kittens,

Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,

How many were going to Saint Ives?

No one has confirmed a correct answer here and I think part of it is based on interpretation. The guy "crossed the path" of 7 wives who could've been heading to St. Ives also. Sacks are inanimate objects so they don't count. So 7 wives x 7 cats x 7 kittens = 343 + the guy going to St. Ives who is telling the story is 1 which equals 343 + 1 = 344 were going to St. Ives and I'm not counting sacks. How you view "crossed the path" can really change the answer in this riddle.

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it is 1 if those people are coming from st ives (me) or, if those people are going to st ives then it is 70 + 71 + 72+ 73+ 74 = 1 + 7 + 49 + 343 + 2041 = 2801

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The original riddle was "As I was going to St. Ives I met a man with seven wives,

Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats,

Each cat had seven kits: kits, cats, sacks and wives,

How many were going to St. Ives? " this poem is traceable back to a first publication of 1730 and St Ives is a village in Cornwall, England. I guess someone in recent history chose to remove the polygamy concept from the poem and changed "met" to "crossed the path" to keep the poetic meter (or metre sice this was a British poem) of the original. Yes, For anyone wanting confirmation, the answer is one, regardless of the amount of desire to rationalize a difficult solution. The real questions are: 1. Since the village was so remote and rarely visited except by sea until late 1800's with railroads, why were so many using land trails? 2. How did he know the number of cats and kittens inside the sacks? 3. Where was SPCA and PETA and other animal rights groups? (had to be inhumane conditions in those sacks!. 4. If you wanted to count those in the other direction, cats, kittens and sacks should not count, if I met a man when out walking and he was walking 7 dogs, I would not report that I met 8, but rather 5. Hopefully, this ends the topic to everyones satisfaction so we can get back to more current logic puzzles.

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John McClane is asked this riddle in Die Hard With a Vengeance. Good Movie too.

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400

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Only one person was going to Saint Ives.

If he or she crossed the path of the seven wives, then the kittens, cats, sacks, and wives were all going in a different direction

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Only one, cause you just saw them.

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1 or 2801. It's all down to interpretation of who's going TO st Ives and who's coming FROM st ives.

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