Difficult riddles


The nine sacks of flour

The Miller next took the company aside and showed them nine sacks of flour that were standing as depicted in the sketch. "Now, hearken, all and some," said he, "while that I do set ye the riddle of the nine sacks of flour. And mark ye, my lords and masters, that there be single sacks on the outside, pairs next unto them, and three together in the middle thereof. By Saint Benedict, it doth so happen that if we do but multiply the pair, 28, by the single one, 7, the answer is 196, which is of a truth the number shown by the sacks in the middle. Yet it be not true that the other pair, 34, when so multiplied by its neighbour, 5, will also make 196. Wherefore I do beg you, gentle sirs, so to place anew the nine sacks with as little trouble as possible that each pair when thus multiplied by its single neighbour shall make the number in the middle." As the Miller has stipulated in effect that as few bags as possible shall be moved, there is only one answer to this puzzle, which everybody should be able to solve.
The way to arrange the sacks of flour is as follows: 2, 78, 156, 39, 4. Here each pair when multiplied by its single neighbour makes the number in the middle, and only five of the sacks need be moved. There are just three other ways in which they might have been arranged (4, 39, 156, 78, 2; or 3, 58, 174, 29, 6; or 6, 29, 174, 58, 3), but they all require the moving of seven sacks.
91.77 %
30 votes


5 Pirates Fight for 100 Gold

There are 5 pirates in a ship. Pirates have hierarchy C1, C2, C3, C4 and C5.C1 designation is the highest and C5 is the lowest. These pirates have three characteristics : a. Every pirate is so greedy that he can even take lives to make more money. b. Every pirate desperately wants to stay alive. c. They are all very intelligent.There are total 100 gold coins on the ship. The person with the highest designation on the deck is expected to make the distribution. If the majority on the deck does not agree to the distribution proposed, the highest designation pirate will be thrown out of the ship (or simply killed). The first priority of the pirates is to stay alive and second to maximize the gold they get. Pirate 5 devises a plan which he knows will be accepted for sure and will maximize his gold. What is his plan?
To understand the answer,we need to reduce this problem to only 2 pirates. So what happens if there are only 2 pirates. Pirate 2 can easily propose that he gets all the 100 gold coins. Since he constitutes 50% of the pirates, the proposal has to be accepted leaving Pirate 1 with nothing. Now let’s look at 3 pirates situation, Pirate 3 knows that if his proposal does not get accepted, then pirate 2 will get all the gold and pirate 1 will get nothing. So he decides to bribe pirate 1 with one gold coin. Pirate 1 knows that one gold coin is better than nothing so he has to back pirate 3. Pirate 3 proposes {pirate 1, pirate 2, pirate 3} {1, 0, 99}. Since pirate 1 and 3 will vote for it, it will be accepted. If there are 4 pirates, pirate 4 needs to get one more pirate to vote for his proposal. Pirate 4 realizes that if he dies, pirate 2 will get nothing (according to the proposal with 3 pirates) so he can easily bribe pirate 2 with one gold coin to get his vote. So the distribution will be {0, 1, 0, 99}. Smart right? Now can you figure out the distribution with 5 pirates? Let’s see. Pirate 5 needs 2 votes and he knows that if he dies, pirate 1 and 3 will get nothing. He can easily bribe pirates 1 and 3 with one gold coin each to get their vote. In the end, he proposes {1, 0, 1, 0, 98}. This proposal will get accepted and provide the maximum amount of gold to pirate 5.
88.64 %
50 votes


Hidden message

Find a short hidden message in the list of words below. carrot fiasco nephew spring rabbit sonata tailor bureau legacy corona travel bikini object happen soften picnic option waited effigy adverb report accuse animal shriek esteem oyster
Starting with the first two words, take the first and last letters, reading from left to right. Example: Carrot fiascO "from these pairs" the message is as follows: CONGRATULATIONS CODE BREAKER
88.64 %
50 votes


Train's length

A 400 yard long train, travelling at 30 mph, enters a 4.5 mile long tunnel. How long will elapse between the moment the front of the train enters the tunnel and the moment the end of the train clears the tunnel?
9 minutes and 27.2727 seconds.
88.50 %
36 votes


Extraordinary event

Something very extraordinary happened on the 6th of May, 1978 at thirty-four minutes past twelve a.m. What was it?
At that moment, the time and day could be written as 12:34, 5/6/78.
88.42 %
49 votes


The Missing Servant

A king has 100 identical servants, each with a different rank between 1 and 100. At the end of each day, each servant comes into the king's quarters, one-by-one, in a random order, and announces his rank to let the king know that he is done working for the day. For example, servant 14 comes in and says "Servant 14, reporting in." One day, the king's aide comes in and tells the king that one of the servants is missing, though he isn't sure which one. Before the other servants begin reporting in for the night, the king asks for a piece of paper to write on to help him figure out which servant is missing. Unfortunately, all that's available is a very small piece that can only hold one number at a time. The king is free to erase what he writes and write something new as many times as he likes, but he can only have one number written down at a time. The king's memory is bad and he won't be able to remember all the exact numbers as the servants report in, so he must use the paper to help him. How can he use the paper such that once the final servant has reported in, he'll know exactly which servant is missing?
When the first servant comes in, the king should write down his number. For each other servant that reports in, the king should add that servant's number to the current number written on the paper, and then write this new number on the paper. Once the final servant has reported in, the number on the paper should equal (1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 99 + 100) - MissingServantsNumber Since (1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 99 + 100) = 5050, we can rephrase this to say that the number on the paper should equal 5050 - MissingServantsNumber So to figure out the missing servant's number, the king simply needs to subtract the number written on his paper from 5050: MissingServantsNumber = 5050 - NumberWrittenOnThePaper
88.20 %
48 votes


Sphinx riddle

In classic mythology, there is the story of the Sphinx, a monster with the body of a lion and the upper part of a woman. The Sphinx lay crouched on the top of a rock along the highroad to the city of Thebes, and stopped all travellers passing by, proposing to them a riddle. Those who failed to answer the riddle correctly were killed. This is the riddle the Sphinx asked the travellers: "What animal walks on four legs in the morning, two legs during the day, and three legs in the evening?"
This is part of the story of Oedipus, who replied to the Sphinx, "Man, who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff." Morning, day and night are representative of the stages of life. The Sphinx was so mortified at the solving of her riddle that she cast herself down from the rock and perished.
87.97 %
59 votes


Zen Master

A new student met the Zen Master after traveling hundreds of miles by yak cart. He was understandably pleased with himself for being selected to learn at the great master's feet . The first time they formally met, the Zen Master asked, "May I ask you a simple question?" "It would be an honor!" replied the student. "Which is greater, that which has no beginning or that which has no end?" queried the Zen Master. "Come back when you have the answer and can explain why." After the student made many frustrated trips back with answers which the master quickly cast off with a disapproving negative nod, the Zen Master finally said, "Perhaps I should ask you another question?" "Oh, please do!" pleaded the exasperated student. The Zen Master then asked, "Since you do not know that, answer this much simpler riddle. When can a pebble hold back the sea?" Again the student was rebuffed time and again. Several more questions followed with the same result. Each time, the student could not find the correct answer. Finally, completely exasperated, the student began to weep, "Master, I am a complete idiot. I can not solve even the simplest riddle from you!" Suddenly, the student stopped, sat down, and said, "I am ready for my second lesson." What was the Zen Master's first lesson?
The student's first lesson was that in order to learn from the Zen Master, the student should be asking the questions and not the Zen Master.
87.96 %
47 votes


Four big houses

There are 4 big houses in my home town. They are made from these materials: red marbles, green marbles, white marbles and blue marbles. Mrs Jennifer's house is somewhere to the left of the green marbles one and the third one along is white marbles. Mrs Sharon owns a red marbles house and Mr Cruz does not live at either end, but lives somewhere to the right of the blue marbles house. Mr Danny lives in the fourth house, while the first house is not made from red marbles. Who lives where, and what is their house made from ?
From, left to right: #1 Mrs Jennifer - blue marbles #2 Mrs Sharon - red marbles #3 Mr Cruz - white marbles #4 Mr Danny - green marbles If we separate and label the clues, and label the houses #1, #2, #3, #4 from left to right we can see that: a. Mrs Jennifer's house is somewhere to the left of the green marbles one. b. The third one along is white marbles. c. Mrs Sharon owns a red marbles house d. Mr Cruz does not live at either end. e. Mr Cruz lives somewhere to the right of the blue marbles house. f. Mr Danny lives in the fourth house g. The first house is not made from red marbles. By (g) #1 isn't made from red marbles, and by (b) nor is #3. By (f) Mr Danny lives in #4 therefore by (c) #2 must be red marbles, and Mrs Sharon lives there. Therefore by (d) Mr Cruz must live in #3, which, by (b) is the white marbles house. By (a) #4 must be green marbles (otherwise Mrs Jennifer couldn't be to its left) and by (f) Mr Danny lives there. Which leaves Mrs Jennifer, living in #1, the blue marbles house.
87.96 %
47 votes


Magic number

Ramanujan discovered 1729 as a magic number. Why 1729 is a magic number ?
It can be expressed as the sum of the cubes of two different sets of numbers. 10^3 + 9^3 = 1729 and 12^3 + 1^3 = 1729
87.96 %
47 votes

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