Another poorly designed puzzle

I just encountered this one:

How many holes are there in this shirt? Picture

A hint:

There are two tricks in the answer.

The official answer:

Eight. There are the two obvious holes torn in the front of the shirt. Plus there are the four normal holes for your head, waist, and arms. And you can see the background color through the two torn holes, so, according to the official answer, there must be two more holes in the back of the shirt.

My objection:

We can’t see the back of the shirt. Therefore we have no way of knowing if we’re seeing the background color through two small holes or one large hole in the back. The answer, based on what we can see, could be seven or eight.

Here’s the original puzzle.

Reading the comments, I see some people raised the same objection I did.

But one person came up with a different valid answer:

They said there could only be two based on what we see. The picture looks like a regular shirt but it might just be a flat piece of cloth cut in the shape of a shirt. Therefore there wouldn’t be any actual holes for the neck, arms, or waist and no back either. The only two holes are the two obvious ones.

The title of the picture specifically says ‘Shirt,’ though, not ‘Piece of flat cloth.’ There are also visual cues that the cloth is, indeed, not flat.

I only see two holes-any other holes are an assumption based on past memory.
If you encountered this on Facebook, another good assumption is that this “puzzle” was created to drive up hits and “shares” on a website to drive up the price when/if it is sold. Right before it is sold the owner will strip away all mentions of this puzzle and insert an innocuous business name and pictures of products that aren’t even in inventory.

If the waist counts as a hole, then a flat piece of cloth also has one hole.

Of course, you could also say that the shirt has millions of holes, between the fibers that make up the cloth.

Well, I got the right answer off the bat, but it is an answer based on a good number of assumpti s, so I can see the objections to it.

I got the intended answer, but agree with the OP’s objection.

The answer does involve going into the puzzle designer’s head and figured which “tricks” they’re counting as valid and which are not. After all the answer can even be zero. There’s no proof there’s any holes at all there. But, having done a good number of these types of puzzles as a kid, you kind of get a sense for what the author was most likely thinking.

A reasonable objection, IMHO. But along those lines, I could ask [spoiler]How do we know the shirt has a back at all?

Or maybe the large hole at the back connects up with the head hole, so that they’re not separate holes?

But in those cases one could counter-object that it wouldn’t really be a shirt any more (you couldn’t wear it like one), but the question clearly identifies it as a shirt.

Anyway, I think it’s fair to say that the proposed answer of eight is the most “reasonable” answer but not the only possible answer. All we know for sure is that There is at least one field, containing at least one sheep, of which at least one side is black.[/spoiler]

The shirt could also be multicolored and have no holes at all (depending if you count the standard 4)


You could even say there are no holes. Ceci n’est pas un pipe.

I was wondering if you can truly count the head, waist, and arms as four separate holes. By that definition, a shirt with no holes would be equivalent to a balloon. How about if we make a hollow cylinder out of cloth, open on both ends; does that have two holes or one?

As long as you accept that the image is of a shirt then there are at least 4 holes in it like an ordinary shirt. The two splotches of color should be assumed to be holes, otherwise it’s a stupid puzzle, so that makes a total of 6 holes. Since those holes are the same color as the background we should assume there is at least one more hole in the back of the shirt.

But there could be 2 holes in the back of the shirt or just one large hole. So the answer could be either 7 or 8 holes without anything misleading about the image. The likely assumption is that there are 8 holes, but that’s not something that can be determined just from a reasonable interpretation of the image.

So 7 or 8 holes is all that can be determined.

It could be multi-colored with the outside of the shirt white and the inside of the shirt teal. So what appears to be the background color is just the untorn inside of the shirt which we’re seeing through the two holes in the front.

Yes, if you bring topology into it, it opens up some new possibilities. As you note, if you take a balloon and cut two holes in it, you have the same topological identity as a donut. They’re both cylinders, just with different proportions.

No, this is a collarless shortsleeve button-up shirt like a baseball jersey, and we’re looking at it from the back. The torso isn’t a cylinder, so there is no hole at the neck or waist. There is no ‘hole’ in the front to let the green show through; the two halves of the front are just pushed off to the sides.

So that leaves the sleeve openings, the two holes in the back, plus however many unseen buttonholes there are in the front. Obvious, really.

Do you, though? I think of a torus (donut) as having an interior volume, while a cylinder rolled out of a plane doesn’t.

I also got it right as well.

The assumptions you must make to reach the proper conclusion are all reasonable and derive from simple observation and knowledge of the structure of a shirt.

All puzzles require assumptions to be made in order to solve them. I see no reasonable objections to this puzzle.

You could make a strong argument that the sleeves, waist and neck don’t count as holes. Normally if someone complains about a hole in their clothing, they mean one that’s not supposed to be there.

But even if the puzzler clearly defined what he meant by “hole”, we still couldn’t know. For all we know it could be Luke Cage’s shirt, and the back could be riddled with bullet holes that don’t show from the front side.

I guessed 6. Missed the second trick part of the answer. I think it was fair,. Eight is the correct answer. To argue otherwise is outside the spirit of the puzzle I think.