Riddle: Nicholas loves to collect pairs of shoes. All of his pairs of shoes are blue, except for three; all of them are white, except for three; all of them are brown, except for three; finally, all of them are beige, except for three. How many pairs of shoes does Nicholas have?

Answer: Nicholas has four pairs of shoes. Let's say that x is the number of pairs of shoes Nicholas has. x - 3 should be the term we need to use because the phrase "(color) except for three" means that three pairs of shoes in his collection are NOT of that color. And we should use this term four times because four colors are mentioned in the riddle. 4(x - 3) should be equal to x because once again, x represents the number of pairs of shoes. Here is the algebra: 4 (x - 3) = x 4x - 12 = x -12 = -3x 4 = x Therefore, there are four pairs of shoes in Nicholas' collection: one blue, one white, one brown, and one beige.

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