The answer

Here’s the answer to the question posted in a previous blog:

Jack, where John had had “had”, had had “had had”. “Had had” had had the teacher’s approval.


Coming home on the bus one day this week, I had a blinding flash of inspiration. This one’s for John R, who prefers computation to punctuation.

Add up the vital statistics of the answer given above:

Number of words: 17
Number of punctuation marks: 11
Number of “had”s: 11
Number of capital letters: 3

So, in an awesomely insignificant way, the answer to the question is 42. As indeed it should be.

(Please note that this calculation uses base 10, not base 13.)


About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 20 October 2007, in humour, language, technical writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Why i can’t find nothing similar in italian!!! 🙂

  2. A version of this was given to my class in elementary school without “Jack” at the beginning, so starting at “Where John had had…”. It was completely unsolvable to us kids. The teacher’s solution — very confidently delivered — was that “Had Had” was someone’s name. So it was, “Where John had had ‘had’, Had Had had had ‘had had’. Had Had had had the judge’s approval.”

    Still perplexed, I took the teacher’s “solution” home to my mom, a much better-educated teacher than the one who gave us the puzzle, and she exclaimed, “You didn’t tell me there were Lebanese people involved!” interpreting “Had Had” as being a corruption of the name Haddad.

  3. Hallo James,
    Heh, that’s an interesting twist. Coincidentally, just after reading your comment I was reading a news report which featured someone in Iran called “Haddad”. Synchronicity is alive and well 😉

  1. Pingback: Linguistics, IT and two trees « ffeathers blog

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