Best riddles

logic

25 Horses

You have 25 horses. When they race, each horse runs at a different, constant pace. A horse will always run at the same pace no matter how many times it races. You want to figure out which are your 3 fastest horses. You are allowed to race at most 5 horses against each other at a time. You don't have a stopwatch so all you can learn from each race is which order the horses finish in. What is the least number of races you can conduct to figure out which 3 horses are fastest?
You need to conduct 7 races. First, separate the horses into 5 groups of 5 horses each, and race the horses in each of these groups. Let's call these groups A, B, C, D and E, and within each group let's label them in the order they finished. So for example, in group A, A1 finished 1st, A2 finished 2nd, A3 finished 3rd, and so on. We can rule out the bottom two finishers in each race (A4 and A5, B4 and B5, C4 and C5, D4 and D5, and E4 and E5), since we know of at least 3 horses that are faster than them (specifically, the horses that beat them in their respective races). This table shows our remaining horses: A1 B1 C1 D1 E1 A2 B2 C2 D2 E2 A3 B3 C3 D3 E3 For our 6th race, let's race the top finishers in each group: A1, B1, C1, D1 and E1. Let's assume that the order of finishers is: A1, B1, C1, D1, E1 (so A1 finished first, E1 finished last). We now know that horse D1 cannot be in the top 3, because it is slower than C1, B1 and A1 (it lost to them in the 6th race). Thus, D2 and D3 can also not be in the to 3 (since they are slower than D1). Similarly, E1, E2 and E3 cannot be in the top 3 because they are all slower than D1 (which we already know isn't in the top 3). Let's look at our updated table, having removed these horses that can't be in the top 3: A1 B1 C1 A2 B2 C2 A3 B3 C3 We can actually rule out a few more horses. C2 and C3 cannot be in the top 3 because they are both slower than C1 (and thus are also slower than B1 and A1). And B3 also can't be in the top 3 because it is slower than B2 and B1 (and thus is also slower than A1). So let's further update our table: A1 B1 C1 A2 B2 A3 We actually already know that A1 is our fastest horse (since it directly or indirectly beat all the remaining horses). So now we just need to find the other two fastest horses out of A2, A3, B1, B2 and C1. So for our 7th race, we simply race these 5 horses, and the top two finishers, plus A1, are our 3 fastest horses.
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interviewlogic

Which came first into the wolrd, the chicken or the egg?

One day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was. He asked Birbal: "Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?" Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficult day and were impatient to leave. "Ask me one difficult question," said Birbal. "Well, then tell me," said the man, "which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?" "The chicken," replied Birbal, very confidently. "How do you know?" asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice. What did Birbal answer to this?
Birbal told the scholar, "We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it" and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping.
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43 votes

logic

Past the Bridge Guard

A guard is stationed at the entrance to a bridge. He is tasked to shoot anyone who tries to cross to the other side of the bridge, and to turn away anyone who comes in from the opposite side of the bridge. You are on his side of the bridge and want to escape to the other side. Because the bridge is old and rickety, anyone who tries to cross it does so at a constant speed, and it always takes exactly 10 minutes to cross. The guard comes out of his post every 6 minutes and looks down the bridge for any people trying to leave, and at all other times he sits in his post and snoozes. You know you can sneak past him when he's sleeping, but the problem is that you won't be able to make it all the way to the other side of the bridge before he sees you (since he comes out every 6 minutes, but it takes 10 minutes to cross). One day a brilliant idea comes to you, and soon you've successfully crossed to the other side of the bridge without being shot. How did you do it?
Right after the guard goes back to his post after checking the bridge, you sneak by and make your way down the bridge. After a little bit less than 6 minutes, you turn around and start walking back toward the guard. He will come out and see you, and assume that you are a visitor coming from the other side of the bridge, since you're only about 4 minutes from the end of the other side of the bridge. He will go back into his post since he doesn't plan to turn you away until you reach him, and then you turn back around and make your way the rest of the way to the other side of the bridge.
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43 votes

logic

The Monty Hall Problem

On the game show et´s Make a Deal, Monty Hall shows you three doors. Behind one of the doors is a new car, the other two hide goats. You choose one door, perhaps #1. Now Monty shows you what´s behind door #2 and it´s a goat.He gives you the chance to stay with original pick or select door #3. What do you do?
You should always abandon your original choice in favor of the remaining door (#3). When you make your first choice the chance of winning is 1 in 3 or 33%. When you switch doors, you turn a 2 in 3 chance of losing in the first round into a 2 in 3 chance of winning in the second round.
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43 votes

logicprobability

Russian roulette choice

Your enemy challenges you to play Russian Roulette with a 6-cylinder pistol (meaning it has room for 6 bullets). He puts 2 bullets into the gun in consecutive slots, and leaves the next four slots blank. He spins the barrel and hands you the gun. You point the gun at yourself and pull the trigger. It doesn't go off. Your enemy tells you that you need to pull the trigger one more time, and that you can choose to either spin the barrel at random, or not, before pulling the trigger again. Spinning the barrel will position the barrel in a random position. Assuming you'd like to live, should you spin the barrel or not before pulling the trigger again?
You are better off shooting again without spinning the barrel. Given that the gun didn't fire the first time, it was pointing to one of the four empty slots. Because your enemy spun the cylinder randomly, it would have been pointing to any of these empty slots with equal probability. Three of these slots would not fire again after an additional trigger-pull, and one of them would. Thus, by not spinning the barrel, there is a 1/4 chance that pulling the trigger again would fire the gun. Alternatively, if you spin the barrel, it will point to each of the 6 slots with equal probability. Because 2 of these 6 slots have bullets in them, there would be a 2/6 = 1/3 chance that the gun would fire after spinning the barrel. Thus, you are better off not spinning the barrel.
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43 votes

logicprobability

Red and blue marbles

Your friend shows you two jars, one with 100 red marbles in it, the other with 100 blue marbles in it. He proposes a game. He'll put the two jars behind his back and tell you to pick one of them at random. You'll then close your eyes, he'll hand you the jar you picked, and you'll pick a random marble from that jar. You win if the marble you pick is blue, and you lose otherwise. To give you the best shot at winning, your friend gives you the two jars before the game starts and says you can move the marbles around however you'd like, as long as all 200 marbles are in the 2 jars (that is, you can't throw any marbles away). How should you move the marbles around to give yourself the best chance of picking a blue marble?
Put one blue marble in one jar, and put the rest of the marbles in the other jar. This will give you just about a 75% chance of picking a blue marble.
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43 votes

logic

Three friends

At a local bar, three friends, Mr. Green, Mr. Red and Mr. Blue, were having a drink. One man was wearing a red suit; one a green suit; and the other a blue suit. "Have you noticed," said the man in the blue suit, "that although our suits have colors corresponding to our names, not one of us is wearing a suit that matches our own names?" Mr. Red looked at the other two and said, "You're absolutely correct." What color suit is each man wearing?
Since none of the men are wearing the color of suit that corresponds to their names, and Mr. Red was replying to the man in the blue suit, it had to be Mr. Green to whom he replied. We then know that Mr. Green is wearing a blue suit. Therefore, Mr. Red is wearing a green suit and Mr. Blue is wearing a red suit.
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43 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.
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43 votes

logic

A challenge for my son

A man told his son that he would give him $1000 if he could accomplish the following task. The father gave his son ten envelopes and a thousand dollars, all in one dollar bills. He told his son, "Place the money in the envelopes in such a manner that no matter what number of dollars I ask for, you can give me one or more of the envelopes, containing the exact amount I asked for without having to open any of the envelopes. If you can do this, you will keep the $1000." When the father asked for a sum of money, the son was able to give him envelopes containing the exact amount of money asked for. How did the son distribute the money among the ten envelopes?
The contents or the ten envelopes (in dollar bills) hould be as follows: $1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 489. The first nine numbers are in geometrical progression, and their sum, deducted from 1,000, gives the contents of the tenth envelope.
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43 votes

logicmath

A fly in between trains

Two trains are traveling toward each other on the same track, each at 60 miles per hour. When they are exactly 120 miles apart, a fly takes off from the front of one of the trains, flying toward the other train at a constant rate of 100 miles per hour. When the fly reaches the other train, it instantly changes directions and starts flying toward the other train, still at 100 miles per hour. It keeps doing this back and forth until the trains finally collide. If you add up all the distances back and forth that the fly has travelled, how much total distance has the fly travelled when the trains finally collide?
The fly has travelled exactly 100 miles. We can figure this out using some simple math. Becuase the trains are 120 miles apart when the fly takes off, and are travelling at 60 mph each, they will collide in exactly 1 hour. This gives the fly exactly 1 hour of flying time, going at a speed of 100 miles per hour. Thus, the fly will travel 100 miles in this hour.
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43 votes