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  Number & Math Play

Pick a Pair
Q Ben has socks in five different colors: two pairs of blue socks, two pairs of black, three pairs of brown, four pairs of green, and four pairs of white. Ben, who is not very neat, doesn't bother to pair up his socks when he puts them away. He just throws them in the drawer. Now Ben is packing to go away for the weekend, but there's been a power failure and he can't see the socks in his drawer.

How many socks does he have to take out of his drawer to be sure he has at least two that will make a pair?

A The answer is six socks. If Ben takes out five socks, he could have one of each color, with no two matching colors. But if he takes out six socks, two have to be the same color, since there are only five colors. (Sorry we tricked you with all that unnecessary information!)