Riddle #32

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Your friend pulls out a perfectly circular table and a sack of quarters, and proposes a game. "We'll take turns putting a quarter on the table," he says. "Each quarter must lay flat on the table, and cannot sit on top of any other quarters. The last person to successfully put a quarter on the table wins." He gives you the choice to go first or second. What should you do, and what should your strategy be to win?
You should go first, and put a quarter at the exact center of the table. Then, each time your opponent places a quarter down, you should place your next quarter in the symmetric position on the opposite side of the table. This will ensure that you always have a place to set down our quarter, and eventually your oppponent will run out of space.
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95 votes

Hussey has been caught stealing goats, and is brought into court for justice. The judge is his ex-wife Amy Hussey, who wants to show him some sympathy, but the law clearly calls for two shots to be taken at Hussey from close range. To make things a little better for Hussey, Amy Hussey tells him she will place two bullets into a six-chambered revolver in successive order. She will spin the chamber, close it, and take one shot. If Hussey is still alive, she will then either take another shot, or spin the chamber again before shooting. Hussey is a bit incredulous that his own ex-wife would carry out the punishment, and a bit sad that she was always such a rule follower. He steels himself as Amy Hussey loads the chambers, spins the revolver, and pulls the trigger. Whew! It was blank. Then Amy Hussey asks, 'Do you want me to pull the trigger again, or should I spin the chamber a second time before pulling the trigger?' What should Hussey choose?
Hussey should have Amy Hussey pull the trigger again without spinning. We know that the first chamber Amy Hussey fired was one of the four empty chambers. Since the bullets were placed in consecutive order, one of the empty chambers is followed by a bullet, and the other three empty chambers are followed by another empty chamber. So if Hussey has Amy Hussey pull the trigger again, the probability that a bullet will be fired is 1/4. If Amy Hussey spins the chamber again, the probability that she shoots Hussey would be 2/6, or 1/3, since there are two possible bullets that would be in firing position out of the six possible chambers that would be in position.
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76 votes

Two convicts are locked in a cell. There is an unbarred window high up in the cell. No matter if they stand on the bed or one on top of the other they can't reach the window to escape. They then decide to tunnel out. However, they give up with the tunnelling because it will take too long. Finally one of the convicts figures out how to escape from the cell. What is his plan?
His plan is to dig the tunnel and pile up the dirt to climb up to the window to escape.
78.87 %
63 votes

Even though the odds are always in favor of the gambling house, why does the establishment insist on a house limit on stakes?
Every casino in the world would go bankrupt without a house limit on stakes. Without it, gamblers would keep doubling their stakes until they won. No matter how bad a losing streak they were on, they would eventually win. For more information, search: Martingale
78.86 %
51 votes

There is a small town in the midwest with exactly 2 barbershops, one on each side of town. The barbershop on the west side of town is pristine. Its floors are spotless, the windows are always perfectly clear, and the air always smells fresh. The barber has a friendly smile, shined shoes, a well-groomed head of hair, and a fancy shirt. The barbershop on the east side of town is a mess. Its floors and windows are dirty, and the air smells of garbage. The barber always has a grimace on his face. His skin is oily, his hair is short and ragged, and he has food on his clothes all the time. A man travelling through the town realizes he needs a haircut. Knowing the stories of the two barbers, the man decides to go to the dirty barbershop on the east side of town. Why does he do this?
Because there are only two barbers in the town, the barbers must cut each-other's hair. The barber on the west side of town has a nice haircut, so the east-side barber must be a good barber. On the other hand, the barber on the east side of town has ragged hair, meaning the west-side barber must not be very good. So the man goes to the east-side barber to get a better haircut.
78.86 %
51 votes