The Odd-one-out Dilemma

I do not like odd-one-out puzzles. This old and famous example is one of the reasons why. When given the list: skyscraper, cathedral, temple, and prayer, people usually pick “prayer” as the odd-one-out because it’s not a building. On the other hand, when the order is prayer, temple, cathedral, and skyscraper, people would pick “skyscraper” as it is not related to religion.

I created several pairs of questions that might have a similar issue: the answer depends on how the list is ordered.

Odd-one-out dilemma. Pick the odd-one-out from:

  • Pen, book, notebook, tissue.
  • Tissue, notebook, book, pen.

Odd-one-out dilemma. Pick the odd-one-out from:

  • Banana, apple, orange, grape, lime, nectarine, artichoke.
  • Artichoke, nectarine, lime, grape, orange, apple, banana.

Odd-one-out dilemma. Pick the odd-one-out from:

  • 6, 3, 15, 9, 5.
  • 5, 9, 15, 3, 6.



  1. James:

    Agree! For the last one I spotted at least three convincing answers (divisibility by 2, divisibility by 3, number of digits). But for the second one, I can only see the argument for artichoke – maybe someone can tell me what I’m missing 🙂

  2. Anton:

    Hi, James! I suppose, you`re missing the shape )

  3. Leo B.:

    Banana is the only one not ending with E.

  4. Cristóbal Camarero:

    You can always find something special about any item. It may feel more or less forced. Some examples:

    – Lime is the only one without ‘a’.
    – Grape is the only one starting with two consonants.

    – 6 is the only even number.
    – 3 is the only one that divides its surrounding numbers.
    – 15 is the only one representable as the product of two different numbers in the list.
    – 9 is the only square number.
    – 5 is the only one not divisible by 3.
    – In the first ordering, 15 is the only one greater than the preceding number.
    – In the second ordering, 3 is the only one lower than the preceding number.

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