SparkNotes Blog

THE MINDHUT PRESENTS Brainy Battles: Week Seven!

The Mindhut can’t pretend to know what happens after death. If we claimed as much it would be equal parts presumptuous, controversial, and depressing. However, we do like to imagine a post-mortal realm where the greatest minds of history are able to assemble and do what they do best… FIGHT! In our new series of weekly riddles, it is up to you to decipher the code and interpret their intellectual feuds. These are brainy battles.


Steve Jobs invented a new app. It’s a simple game for touchscreen tablets.

When you touch the screen, it changes from black to white. When you lift your finger, it changes back. And vice versa.

You can also drag your finger along the screen (one inch at a time).

If you draw a perfect square before lifting your finger, the color does NOT change.

If the square is interrupted, or if there are any additional lines drawn after the square’s completion, color does NOT NOT change. (This is not not not a typo).

Einstein claims that he didn’t need new-fangled touchscreens in his day. His mind works just fine on it’s own.

Steve Jobs wants to put his fellow genius’ power of visualization to the test, so he wrote out the following actions. Keeping the above rules in mind, can you help Einstein determine the screen’s final color?


1. Tap the screen
2. Lift your finger
3. Tap the screen
4. Drag up. Drag left. Drag down. Drag right.
5. Lift your finger
6. Tap the screen
7. Drap up. Drap right. Drag up. Drag left. Drag down.
8. Lift your finger
9. Tap the screen
10. Lift your finger
11. Tap the screen
12. Drag up. Drap up. Drag right. Drag right. Drag down. Drag left. Drag left.
13. Lift your finger
14. Tap the screen
15. Drag up. Drag down. Drag left. Drag right. Drag up. Drag down. Drag up.
16. Lift your finger

What color is the screen? If you think you’ve figured it out, post your theories below. Check back next week for a new riddle as well as this week’s answer and explanation.

Last week’s answer: SPLEEN

Explanation: dream_runner14 explained it perfectly by saying, “Multiplication of Integers.”

Two negatives equal a positive. Two flurples equal a spleen. But also, two spleens equal a spleen. (Just like two positives equal a positive). So how do we know one is negative?

When a negative and positive are multiplied, it equals a negative. So since flurple and spleen equals flurple, FLURPLE was NEGATIVE and SPLEEN was POSITIVE.

Once you know that, every equation is a matter of counting flurples. (If there is an odd number of negative numbers being multiplied together, the product will always be negative). So when there were four flurples in the final equation, the answer had to be positive ergo SPLEEN.