Riddle #141

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You have two lengths of rope. Each rope has the property that if you light it on fire at one end, it will take exactly 60 minutes to burn to the other end. Note that the ropes will not burn at a consistent speed the entire time (for example, it's possible that the first 90% of a rope will burn in 1 minute, and the last 10% will take the additional 59 minutes to burn). Given these two ropes and a matchbook, can you find a way to measure out exactly 45 minutes?
The key observation here is that if you light a rope from both ends at the same time, it will burn in 1/2 the time it would have burned in if you had lit it on just one end. Using this insight, you would light both ends of one rope, and one end of the other rope, all at the same time. The rope you lit at both ends will finish burning in 30 minutes. Once this happens, light the second end of the second rope. It will burn for another 15 minutes (since it would have burned for 30 more minutes without lighting the second end), completing the 45 minutes.
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96 votes

What is it that you throw away the outer side, then cook the insides and then throw away the insides – what is the name of the item?
Corn on the cob. You throw away the husk, cook and eat the corn kernels and throw away the cob.
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61 votes

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.
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131 votes