# Riddle #1004

## Mr. Black, Mr. Gray, and Mr. White

Mr. Black, Mr. Gray, and Mr. White are fighting in a truel. They each get a gun and take turns shooting at each other until only one person is left. Mr. Black, who hits his shot 1/3 of the time, gets to shoot first. Mr. Gray, who hits his shot 2/3 of the time, gets to shoot next, assuming he is still alive. Mr. White, who hits his shot all the time, shoots next, assuming he is also alive. The cycle repeats. All three competitors know one another's shooting odds. If you are Mr. Black, where should you shoot first for the highest chance of survival?
He should shoot at the ground. If Mr. Black shoots the ground, it is Mr. Gray's turn. Mr. Gray would rather shoot at Mr. White than Mr. Black, because he is better. If Mr. Gray kills Mr. White, it is just Mr. Black and Mr. Gray left, giving Mr. Black a fair chance of winning. If Mr. Gray does not kill Mr. White, it is Mr. White's turn. He would rather shoot at Mr. Gray and will definitely kill him. Even though it is now Mr. Black against Mr. White, Mr. Black has a better chance of winning than before.
74.72 %

## King and Wind Bottles

A bad king has a cellar of 1000 bottles of delightful and very expensive wine. A neighboring queen plots to kill the bad king and sends a servant to poison the wine. Fortunately (or say unfortunately) the bad king's guards catch the servant after he has only poisoned one bottle. Alas, the guards don't know which bottle but know that the poison is so strong that even if diluted 100,000 times it would still kill the king. Furthermore, it takes one month to have an effect. The bad king decides he will get some of the prisoners in his vast dungeons to drink the wine. Being a clever bad king he knows he needs to murder no more than 10 prisoners – believing he can fob off such a low death rate – and will still be able to drink the rest of the wine (999 bottles) at his anniversary party in 5 weeks time. Explain what is in mind of the king, how will he be able to do so?
Think in terms of binary numbers. (now don’t read the solution, give a try). Number the bottles 1 to 1000 and write the number in binary format. bottle 1 = 0000000001 (10 digit binary) bottle 2 = 0000000010 bottle 500 = 0111110100 bottle 1000 = 1111101000 Now take 10 prisoners and number them 1 to 10, now let prisoner 1 take a sip from every bottle that has a 1 in its least significant bit. Let prisoner 10 take a sip from every bottle with a 1 in its most significant bit. etc. prisoner = 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 bottle 924 = 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 For instance, bottle no. 924 would be sipped by 10,9,8,5,4 and 3. That way if bottle no. 924 was the poisoned one, only those prisoners would die. After four weeks, line the prisoners up in their bit order and read each living prisoner as a 0 bit and each dead prisoner as a 1 bit. The number that you get is the bottle of wine that was poisoned. 1000 is less than 1024 (2^10). If there were 1024 or more bottles of wine it would take more than 10 prisoners.
80.87 %

## It is red but smells like a blue

What is red but it smells like a blue paint?
Red paint.
80.74 %

## One word

Re-arrange the letters, O O U S W T D N E J R to spell just one word.
"Just one word".
80.29 %

## How long was he walking

Every day, Jack arrives at the train station from work at 5 pm. His wife leaves home in her car to meet him there at exactly 5 pm, and drives him home. One day, Jack gets to the station an hour early, and starts walking home, until his wife meets him on the road. They get home 30 minutes earlier than usual. How long was he walking? Distances are unspecified. Speeds are unspecified, but constant. Give a number which represents the answer in minutes.
The best way to think about this problem is to consider it from the perspective of the wife. Her round trip was decreased by 30 minutes, which means each leg of her trip was decreased by 15 minutes. Jack must have been walking for 45 minutes.
80.15 %

## Getting wet

What gets wet while it's drying?
A towel.
80.14 %

## The watchmen

One morning an airline president is leaving on a business trip and finds he left some paperwork at his office. He runs into his office to get it and the night watchman stops him and says, "Sir, don't get on the plane. I had a dream last night that the plane would crash and everyone would die!" The man takes his word and cancels his trip. Sure enough, the plane crashes and everyone dies. The next morning the man gives the watchman a \$1,000 reward for saving his life and then fires him. Why did he fire the watchman that saved his life?
He was fired from sleeping on his job.
79.99 %

## Whoever...

Whoever makes it, tells it not. Whoever takes it, knows it not. Whoever knows it, wants it not.
Counterfeit money.
79.46 %

## King's daughter

A young peasant wanted to marry the king's daughter. The king didn't like the idea of his daughter marrying a peasant, but he wanted to appear fair in front of his subjects. The king said that he would put two pieces of paper into a hat, one reading "exile" and the other reading "marriage". Later that day, the peasant overheard the king saying that both pieces of paper would read "exile", thus ensuring that the peasant would be out of his way for good. The peasant remained undaunted and, as arranged, arrived at the king's court where a large crown gathered for the big event. The peasant then did something that assured him the hand of the king's daughter. What did he do?
The peasant picked one of the pieces of paper and tore it up. He then asked the kind to show him the other piece of paper which, of course, said EXILE. The king, not wishing to appear fraudulent in front of his subjects, granted that the piece of paper the peasant had picked must have said MARRIAGE.
79.46 %

## Light as a feather

What is as light as a feather but impossible to hold for several minutes?