Are you smarter than a graduate? This year's recruitment puzzle

Ghyston Ghyston 21-11-2018 4 minute read

Are you smarter than a graduate? This year's recruitment puzzle

We like to set a challenge for our prospective interns and graduates, because we love a puzzle ourselves! You’ll find the crossword club poring over the day’s cryptic clues at lunchtime, and regular ‘pizza and programming’ evenings to solve coding challenges and build apps in a matter of hours.

Each year we go to careers fairs up and down the country, and regularly get the highest praise from them. This is because of the people - our development team speaking earnestly and passionately to fellow tech enthusiasts and enjoying the day. But it’s also because we have tested what we provide, design it with care, and make effective changes. One aspect that has always made a big difference is the puzzle - it gets brains working and people talking.

This year's puzzle

This one is about measuring time with very limited tools. No Apple watches allowed, not even an old-fashioned pocket watch on a chain - nope, just two fuses and a box of matches, and one important piece of information:

The fuses each burn for exactly an hour.

(Hint: Assumptions are a developer’s enemy! Do not assume that the fuses burn evenly; half a fuse won’t necessarily burn for half an hour).

Recruitment puzzle

The question is, how can you use the fuses to measure exactly 45 minutes?

We expect that some students will have heard this before, and some will solve it at the careers fairs, but for some it will be a slow-burner…

Can you solve it? It’s not so much a logic puzzle, not exactly lateral, but it does require a certain clarity of thinking - which is what we want in our developers.


The trick is to forget about the metric of length - in this case it tells you nothing about the situation. The metric of time is much more appropriate. In development it is incredibly important to ignore red herrings, and find those true fundamental attributes so you can start building on a solid foundation.

Let us know if you solve it! We’ll be back with the answer soon.

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