Best riddles

logic

Coins on a table

Your friend pulls out a perfectly circular table and a sack of quarters, and proposes a game. "We'll take turns putting a quarter on the table," he says. "Each quarter must lay flat on the table, and cannot sit on top of any other quarters. The last person to successfully put a quarter on the table wins." He gives you the choice to go first or second. What should you do, and what should your strategy be to win?
You should go first, and put a quarter at the exact center of the table. Then, each time your opponent places a quarter down, you should place your next quarter in the symmetric position on the opposite side of the table. This will ensure that you always have a place to set down our quarter, and eventually your oppponent will run out of space.
94.48 %
46 votes

logic

Twelve balls, one different

You have twelve balls, identical in every way except that one of them weighs slightly less or more than the balls. You have a balance scale, and are allowed to do 3 weighings to determine which ball has the different weight, and whether the ball weighs more or less than the other balls. What process would you use to weigh the balls in order to figure out which ball weighs a different amount, and whether it weighs more or less than the other balls?
Take eight balls, and put four on one side of the scale, and four on the other. If the scale is balanced, that means the odd ball out is in the other 4 balls. Let's call these 4 balls O1, O2, O3, and O4. Take O1, O2, and O3 and put them on one side of the scale, and take 3 balls from the 8 "normal" balls that you originally weighed, and put them on the other side of the scale. If the O1, O2, and O3 balls are heavier, that means the odd ball out is among these, and is heavier. Weigh O1 and O2 against each other. If one of them is heavier than the other, this is the odd ball out, and it is heavier. Otherwise, O3 is the odd ball out, and it is heavier. If the O1, O2, and O3 balls are lighter, that means the odd ball out is among these, and is lighter. Weigh O1 and O2 against each other. If one of them is lighter than the other, this is the odd ball out, and it is lighter. Otherwise, O3 is the odd ball out, and it is lighter. If these two sets of 3 balls weigh the same amount, then O4 is the odd ball out. Weight it against one of the "normal" balls from the first weighing. If O4 is heavier, then it is heavier, if it's lighter, then it's lighter. If the scale isn't balanced, then the odd ball out is among these 8 balls. Let's call the four balls on the side of the scale that was heavier H1, H2, H3, and H4 ("H" for "maybe heavier"). Let's call the four balls on the side of the scale that was lighter L1, L2, L3, and L4 ("L" for "maybe lighter"). Let's also call each ball from the 4 in the original weighing that we know aren't the odd balls out "Normal" balls. So now weigh [H1, H2, L1] against [H3, L2, Normal]. -If the [H1, H2, L1] side is heavier (and thus the [H3, L2, Normal] side is lighter), then this means that either H1 or H2 is the odd ball out and is heavier, or L2 is the odd ball out and is lighter. -So measure [H1, L2] against 2 of the "Normal" balls. -If [H1, L2] are heavier, then H1 is the odd ball out, and is heavier. -If [H1, L2] are lighter, then L2 is the odd ball out, and is lighter. -If the scale is balanced, then H2 is the odd ball out, and is heavier. -If the [H1, H2, L1] side is lighter (and thus the [H3, L2, Normal] side is heavier), then this means that either L1 is the odd ball out, and is lighter, or H3 is the odd ball out, and is heavier. -So measure L1 and H3 against two "normal" balls. -If the [L1, H3] side is lighter, then L1 is the odd ball out, and is lighter. -Otherwise, if the [L1, H3] side is heavier, then H3 is the odd ball out, and is heavier. If the [H1, H2, L1] side and the [H3, L2, Normal] side weigh the same, then we know that either H4 is the odd ball out, and is heavier, or one of L3 or L4 is the odd ball out, and is lighter. So weight [H4, L3] against two of the "Normal" balls. If the [H4, L3] side is heavier, then H4 is the odd ball out, and is heavier. If the [H4, L3] side is lighter, then L3 is the odd ball out, and is lighter. If the [H4, L3] side weighs the same as the [Normal, Normal] side, then L4 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
94.48 %
46 votes

logicmath

Flipping Lockers

There are 1 million closed school lockers in a row, labeled 1 through 1,000,000. You first go through and flip every locker open. Then you go through and flip every other locker (locker 2, 4, 6, etc...). When you're done, all the even-numbered lockers are closed. You then go through and flip every third locker (3, 6, 9, etc...). "Flipping" mean you open it if it's closed, and close it if it's open. For example, as you go through this time, you close locker 3 (because it was still open after the previous run through), but you open locker 6, since you had closed it in the previous run through. Then you go through and flip every fourth locker (4, 8, 12, etc...), then every fifth locker (5, 10, 15, etc...), then every sixth locker (6, 12, 18, etc...) and so on. At the end, you're going through and flipping every 999,998th locker (which is just locker 999,998), then every 999,999th locker (which is just locker 999,999), and finally, every 1,000,000th locker (which is just locker 1,000,000). At the end of this, is locker 1,000,000 open or closed?
Locker 1,000,000 will be open. If you think about it, the number of times that each locker is flipped is equal to the number of factors it has. For example, locker 12 has factors 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12, and will thus be flipped 6 times (it will end be flipped when you flip every one, every 2nd, every 3rd, every 4th, every 6th, and every 12th locker). It will end up closed, since flipping an even number of times will return it to its starting position. You can see that if a locker number has an even number of factors, it will end up closed. If it has an odd number of factors, it will end up open. As it turns out, the only types of numbers that have an odd number of factors are squares. This is because factors come in pairs, and for squares, one of those pairs is the square root, which is duplicated and thus doesn't count twice as a factor. For example, 12's factors are 1 x 12, 2 x 6, and 3 x 4 (6 total factors). On the other hand, 16's factors are 1 x 16, 2 x 8, and 4 x 4 (5 total factors). So lockers 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, etc... will all be open. Since 1,000,000 is a square number (1000 x 1000), it will be open as well.
94.48 %
46 votes

The most powerful poison on Earth

In a far away land, it was known that if you drank poison, the only way to save yourself is to drink a stronger poison, which neutralizes the weaker poison. The king that ruled the land wanted to make sure that he possessed the strongest poison in the kingdom, in order to ensure his survival, in any situation. So the king called the kingdom's pharmacist and the kingdom's treasurer, he gave each a week to make the strongest poison. Then, each would drink the other one's poison, then his own, and the one that will survive, will be the one that had the stronger poison. The pharmacist went straight to work, but the treasurer knew he had no chance, for the pharmacist was much more experienced in this field, so instead, he made up a plan to survive and make sure the pharmacist dies. On the last day the pharmacist suddenly realized that the treasurer would know he had no chance, so he must have a plan. After a little thought, the pharmacist realized what the treasurer's plan must be, and he concocted a counter plan, to make sure he survives and the treasurer dies. When the time came, the king summoned both of them. They drank the poisons as planned, and the treasurer died, the pharmacist survived, and the king didn't get what he wanted. What exactly happened there?
The treasurer's plan was to drink a weak poison prior to the meeting with the king, and then he would drink the pharmacist's strong poison, which would neutralize the weak poison. As his own poison he would bring water, which will have no effect on him, but the pharmacist who would drink the water, and then his poison would surely die. When the pharmacist figured out this plan, he decided to bring water as well. So the treasurer who drank poison earlier, drank the pharmacist's water, then his own water, and died of the poison he drank before. The pharmacist would drink only water, so nothing will happen to him. And because both of them brought the king water, he didn't get a strong poison like he wanted.
94.36 %
45 votes

logic

3 Lightbulb switches

There are 3 switches outside of a room, all in the 'off' setting. One of them controls a lightbulb inside the room, the other two do nothing. You cannot see into the room, and once you open the door to the room, you cannot flip any of the switches any more. Before going into the room, how would you flip the switches in order to be able to tell which switch controls the light bulb?
Flip the first switch and keep it flipped for five minutes. Then unflip it, and flip the second switch. Go into the room. If the lightbulb is off but warm, the first switch controls it. If the light is on, the second switch controls it. If the light is off and cool, the third switch controls it.
94.24 %
44 votes

funnylogic

Arrested in jail

Sam is talking to his lawyer in jail. They are very upset because the judge has refused to grant bail. At the end of the conversation Sam is allowed to leave the jail. Why?
Sam is visiting his lawyer, who had been arrested and jailed.
94.24 %
44 votes

logic

The stories of Emperor Akbar and Birbal

Emperor Akbar once ruled over India. He was a wise and intelligent ruler; and he had in his court the Nine Gems, his nine advisors, who were each known for a particular skill. One of these Gems was Birbal, known for his wit and wisdom. The story below is one of the examples of his wit. Do you have it in you to find the answer? One day the Emperor Akbar stumbled on a small rock in the royal gardens and momentarily went off balance. He was in a bad mood that day and the incident only served to make him more angry. Finding a target for his mood of the day, he ordered the gardener's arrest and execution. Birbal heard of this and visited the gardener in the cell where he was being held awaiting execution. Birbal had known the gardener for many years and also knew of the gardener's immense respect and sense of loyalty for the king. He decided to help the gardener escape the death sentence and explained his plan to the gardener, who reluctantly agreed to go along. The next day the gardener was asked what his last wish was before he was hanged, as was custom. The gardener requested an audience with the emperor. This wish was granted, but when the man neared the throne he tried to attack the emperor. The emperor was shocked and demanded an explanation. The gardener looked at Birbal, who stepped forward and explained why the gardener had attacked the emperor. The emperor immediately realised how unjust he had been and ordered the release of the gardener. How did Birbal manage this?
"Your Majesty," said Birbal, "there is probably no person more loyal to you than this unfortunate gardener. Fearing that people would say you hanged him for a silly reason and question your sense of justice, he went out of his way to give you a genuine reason for hanging him."
94.24 %
44 votes

logic

Two barbers

A man was in a small town for the day, and needed a haircut. He noticed that there were only two barbers in town, and decided to apply a bit of logical deduction to choosing the best one. Looking at their shops, he saw that the first one was very neat and the barber was clean shaven with a nice haircut. The other shop was a mess, and the barber there needed a shave and had a bad cut besides.Why did the man choose to go to the barber with the messy shop?
Since even barbers rarely try to cut their own hair, and there are only two barbers in town, they must cut each other's hair. The one with the neat hair must have it cut by the one with the bad haircut, who must then be better one, considering his own haircut.
94.24 %
44 votes

funnylogic

My boss is a woman

One day a boss said to her employees, "I can fight and beat any man who works here." A new employee, a seven-foot-tall ex-prize fighter, stood up to take on the boss. The boss kept her word, but did not beat the man or back down. What did the boss do?
She fired the new employee on the spot.
94.24 %
44 votes

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