Four people come to an old bridge in the middle of the night. The bridge is rickety and can only support 2 people at a time. The people have one flashlight, which needs to be held by any group crossing the bridge because of how dark it is.
Each person can cross the bridge at a different rate: one person takes 1 minute, one person takes 2 minutes, one takes 5 minutes, and the one person takes 10 minutes. If two people are crossing the bridge together, it will take both of them the time that it takes the slower person to cross.
Unfortunately, there are only 17 minutes worth of batteries left in the flashlight. How can the four travellers cross the bridge before time runs out?
The two keys here are:
You want the two slowest people to cross together to consolidate their slow crossing times.
You want to make sure the faster people are set up in order to bring the flashlight back quickly after the slow people cross.
So the order is:
1-minute and 2-minute cross (2 minute elapsed)
1-minute comes back (3 minutes elapsed)
5-minute and 10-minute cross (13 minutes elapsed)
2-minute comes back (15 minutes elapsed)
1-minute and 2-minute cross (17 minutes elapsed)
Jack and Joe were on vacation and driving along a deserted country road from the town of Kaysville to the town of Lynnsville. They came to a multiple fork in the road. The sign post had been knocked down and they were faced with choosing one of five different directions. Since they had left their map at the last gas station and there was no one around to ask, how could Jack and Joe find their way to Lynnsville?
They need to stand the signpost up so that the arm reading Kaysville points in the direction of Kaysville, the town they had just come from. With one arm pointing the correct way, the other arms will also point in the right directions.
You're walking down a path and come to two doors. One of the doors leads to a life of prosperity and happiness, and the other door leads to a life of misery and sorrow. You don't know which door is which.
In front of the door is ONE man. You know that this man either always lies, or always tells the truth, but you don't know which. The man knows which door is which.
You are allowed to ask the man ONE yes-or-no question to figure out which door to go through. To make things more difficult, the man is very self-centered, so you are only allowed to ask him a question about what he thinks or knows; your question cannot involve what any other person or object (real or hypothetical) might say.
What question should you ask to ensure you go through the good door?
You should ask: "If I asked you if the good door is on the left, would you say yes?"
Notice that this is subtly different than asking "Is the good door on the left?", in that you are asking him IF he would say yes to that question, not what his answer to the question would be. Thus you are asking a question about a question, and if it ends up being the liar you are talking to, this will cause him to lie about a lie and thus tell the truth. The four possible cases are:
The man is a truth-teller and the good door is on the left. He will say "yes".
The man is a truth-teller and the good door is on the right. He will say "no".
The man is a liar and the good door is on the left. He will say "yes" because if you asked him "Is the good door on the left?", he would lie and say "no", and so when you ask him if he would say "yes", he will lie and say "yes".
The man is a liar and the good door is on the right. Similar to the previous example, he'll say "no".
So regardless of whether the man is a truth-teller or a liar, this question will get a "yes" if the door on the left is the good door, and a "no" if it's not.