‘Hotel with 100 Rooms’ Riddle Answer: How Many Times Was 8 Painted?

Hotel with 100 Rooms Riddle

Getty Hotel with 100 Rooms Riddle

Anew word riddle is trending on social media. This one asks how many hotel room doors someone paints the number “8” on, and the question is trickier than you might think. The riddle is being shared on sites like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Read on to learn more about the riddle and the answer.

The riddle can be worded in several similar ways, but it typically appears like this:

In a new hotel containing 100 rooms, Tom was hired to paint the numbers from 1-100 on the doors. How many times will Tom have to paint the number 8?

The person sharing the riddle might add something like, “I won against NAME!” or “Save this riddle for those who haven’t played yet!” Sometimes the status will start with: “Riddle me this…”

This riddle has actually been circulating for a few years, but you may just now be seeing it. The riddle’s gained popularity while people are sheltering at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Are you ready for the answer to the riddle? If so, then read on. Just keep in mind that this question is debated a lot, so there are alternative answers below the initial answer in this story.

The Answer to the Riddle Is Below

How many times did Tom have to paint the number eight?

The answer is 2,000. 

Tom has to paint the number eight on the doors 2,000 times because he had to write all the numbers from 1 to 100 on all 100 doors. That means that he painted the following numbers with “8” in them on all 100 doors:

8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58, 68, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 98

Remember, “88” counts as painting “8” twice. So that’s a total of 20 times that “8” is painted on each door, for a total of 100 doors. So that adds up to poor Tom painting “8” 2,000 times total.

This was discussed in a Quora forum here where “7” was used instead of “8.” The respondee noted: “Perhaps you should have told Tom to only paint one number, sequentially, on each apartment instead of suggesting he paint every number on each apartment.”

You might also argue that the answer is 20 if the person is assuming that Tom painted one number per door from 1 to 100. But the question seems to imply that Tom painted 1-100 on each door. However, many people (including the people in this Quora discussion) take the answer to be 20, so you can make a good argument for 20 being the correct answer if you guessed it and were told that you’re wrong.

Another alternative answer might be “0” if the riddle was worded slightly differently and left off the word “from” in the question. That means the question might have been worded this way: “In a new hotel containing 100 rooms, Tom was hired to paint the numbers 1-100 on the doors. How many times will Tom have to paint the number 8?”

In that context, you could argue that Tom was painting “1-100” or “the numbers 1-100” on all 100 doors, so he never painted “8” at all. But most of the time, the question will be worded with “the numbers from 1-100 on the doors,” which clearly implies that Tom is painting every number from 1-100.

Some people even argue that the answer is one because you’re being asked specifically “How many times will Tom have to paint the number 8?” These people argue that 8 is a unique number and numbers like 18 and 88 are not the same, thus Tom only painted the “number” 8 once even if he painted the “digit” 8 more times. (Or he only painted the “number” 8 a total of 100 times if you believe he painted all the doors with the numbers 1-100 as is implied.)

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to interpret this one. The most commonly suggested answer is 2,000, followed by 20.

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