Riddle #791


A liar and a truth teller

You are walking down a path when you come to two doors. Opening one of the doors will lead you to a life of prosperity and happiness, while opening the other door will lead to a life of misery and sorrow. You don't know which door leads to which life. In front of the doors are two twin brothers who know which door leads where. One of the brothers always lies, and the other always tells the truth. You don't know which brother is the liar and which is the truth-teller. You are allowed to ask one single question to one of the brothers (not both) to figure out which door to open. What question should you ask?
Ask "If I asked your brother what the good door is, what would he say?" If you ask the truth-telling brother, he will point to the bad door, because this is what the lying brother would point to. Alternatively, if you ask the lying brother, he will also point to the bad door, because this is NOT what the truth-telling brother would point to. So whichever door is pointed to, you should go through the other one.
93.22 %
37 votes

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A fly in between trains

Two trains are traveling toward each other on the same track, each at 60 miles per hour. When they are exactly 120 miles apart, a fly takes off from the front of one of the trains, flying toward the other train at a constant rate of 100 miles per hour. When the fly reaches the other train, it instantly changes directions and starts flying toward the other train, still at 100 miles per hour. It keeps doing this back and forth until the trains finally collide. If you add up all the distances back and forth that the fly has travelled, how much total distance has the fly travelled when the trains finally collide?
The fly has travelled exactly 100 miles. We can figure this out using some simple math. Becuase the trains are 120 miles apart when the fly takes off, and are travelling at 60 mph each, they will collide in exactly 1 hour. This gives the fly exactly 1 hour of flying time, going at a speed of 100 miles per hour. Thus, the fly will travel 100 miles in this hour.
93.84 %
41 votes


A man was driving a truck

A man was driving a truck at 60 mph. He did not have his headlights on and the moon was not up. Yet he did not hit the woman who crossed the road. How?
He was driving the truck during daytime.
92.67 %
34 votes



What does this rebus say? XLR8.
93.05 %
36 votes


The Miller's Daughter

A poor miller living with his daughter comes onto hard times and is not able to pay his rent. His evil landlord threatens to evict them unless the daughter marries him. The daughter, not wanting to marry the landlord but fearing that her father won't be able to take being evicted, suggests the following proposition to the landlord. He will put two stones, one white and one black, into a bag in front of the rest of the townspeople. She will pick one stone out of the bag. If she picks the white stone, the landlord will forgive their debt and let them stay, but if she picks the black stone, she will marry the landlord, and her father will be evicted anyway. The landlord agrees to the proposal. Everybody meets in the center of the town. The landlord picks up two stones to put in the bag, but the daughter notices that he secretly picked two black stones. She is about to reveal his deception but realizes that this would embarrass him in front of the townspeople, and he would evict them. She quickly comes up with another plan. What can she do that will allow the landlord save face, while also ensuring that she and her father can stay and that she won't have to marry the landlord?
The daughter picks a stone out, keeps it in her closed hand, and proclaims "this is my stone." She then throws it to the ground, and says "look at the other stone in the bag, and if it's black, that means I picked the white stone." The landlord will reveal the other stone, which is obviously black, and the daughter will have succeeded. The landlord was never revealed as a cheater and thus was able to save face.
94.80 %
49 votes


The best archer ever

A duke was hunting in the forest with his men-at-arms and servants when he came across a tree. Upon it, archery targets were painted and smack in the middle of each was an arrow. "Who is this incredibly fine archer?" cried the duke. "I must find him!" After continuing through the forest for a few miles he came across a small boy carrying a bow and arrow. Eventually the boy admitted that it was he who shot the arrows plumb in the center of all the targets. "You didn't just walk up to the targets and hammer the arrows into the middle, did you?" asked the duke worriedly. "No my lord. I shot them from a hundred paces. I swear it by all that I hold holy." "That is truly astonishing," said the duke. "I hereby admit you into my service." The boy thanked him profusely. "But I must ask one favor in return," the duke continued. "You must tell me how you came to be such an outstanding shot." How'd he get to be such a good shot?
The boy shot the arrow, then painted the circle around it.
93.70 %
40 votes


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.
93.70 %
40 votes


Engineers and Managers

You have just purchased a small company called Company X. Company X has N employees, and everyone is either an engineer or a manager. You know for sure that there are more engineers than managers at the company. Everyone at Company X knows everyone else's position, and you are able to ask any employee about the position of any other employee. For example, you could approach employee A and ask "Is employee B an engineer or a manager?" You can only direct your question to one employee at a time, and can only ask about one other employee at a time. You're allowed to ask the same employee multiple questions if you want. Your goal is to find at least one engineer to solve a huge problem that has just hit the company's factory. The problem is so urgent that you only have time to ask N-1 total questions. The major problem with questioning the employees, however, is that while the engineers will always tell you the truth about other employees' roles, the managers may lie to you if they like. You can assume that the managers will do their best to confuse you. How can you find at least one engineer by asking at most N-1 questions?
You can find at least one engineer using the following process: Put all of the employees in a conference room. If there happen to be an even number of employees, pick one at random and send him home for the day so that we start with an odd number of employees. Note that there will still be more engineers than managers after we send this employee home. Then call them out one at a time in any order. You will be forming them into a line as follows: If there is nobody currently in the line, put the employee you just called out in the line. Otherwise, if there is anybody in the line, then we do the following. Let's call the employee currently at the front of the line Employee_Front, and call the employee who we just called out of the conference room Employee_Next. So ask Employee_Front if Employee_Next is a manager or an engineer. If Employee_Front says "manager", then send both Employee_Front and Employee_Next home for the day. However, if Employee_Front says "engineer", then put Employee_Next at the front of the line. Keep doing this until you've called everyone out of the conference room. Notice that at this point, you'll have asked N-1 or less questions (you asked at most one question each time you called an employee out except for the first employee, when you didn't ask a question, so that's at most N-1 questions). When you're done calling everyone out of the conference room, the person at the front of the line is an engineer. So you've found your engineer! But the real question: how does this work? We can prove this works by showing a few things. First, let's show that if there are any engineers in the line, then they must be in front of any managers. We'll show this with a proof by contradiction. Assume that there is a manager in front of an engineer somewhere in the line. Then it must have been the case that at some point, that engineer was Employee_Front and that manager was Employee_Next. But then Employee_Front would have said "manager" (since he is an engineer and always tells the truth), and we would have sent them both home. This contradicts their being in the line at all, and thus we know that there can never be a manager in front of an engineer in the line. So now we know that after the process is done, if there are any engineers in the line, then they will be at the front of the line. That means that all we have to prove now is that there will be at least one engineer in the line at the end of the process, and we'll know that there will be an engineer at the front. So let's show that there will be at least one engineer in the line. To see why, consider what happens when we ask Employee_Front about Employee_Next, and Employee_Front says "manager". We know for sure that in this case, Employee_Front and Employee_Next are not both engineers, because if this were the case, then Employee_Front would have definitely says "engineer". Put another way, at least one of Employee_Front and Employee_Next is a manager. So by sending them both home, we know we are sending home at least one manager, and thus, we are keeping the balance in the remaining employees that there are more engineers than managers. Thus, once the process is over, there will be more engineers than managers in the line (this is also sufficient to show that there will be at least one person in the line once the process is over). And so, there must be at least one engineer in the line. Put altogether, we proved that at the end of the process, there will be at least one engineer in the line and that any engineers in the line must be in front of any managers, and so we know that the person at the front of the line will be an engineer.
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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.
93.98 %
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The bamboo pole

Dodge was staying with Cousin Jamie in Jamie's lakeside cabin. They were setting up Jamie's will. As Dodge was Jamie's closest living relative, much of Jamie's estate was being left to him. One day, Jamie went to Dr Dodge very disturbed. "Doctor," he began, "I have just found out that a man named Georgio wants to get me. He will be here very soon. Where will I go? Where can I hide? If he finds me in here, he will surely kill me. I do not have time to leave this clearing and go farther into the woods." Dr Dodge thought for a moment, and then grabbed a 5' long bamboo pole, with a diameter the size of a quarter. "Jamie, follow me out to the lake. This lake is 4' deep. If you lie on the bottom of the lake and breathe through this pole, Georgio will never find you. I will be in the bulrushes with a shotgun, and I will shoot him when he comes. I will swim down to find you when he is gone." Jamie consented, and lay down on the bottom of the lake with the bamboo pole in his mouth. A few hours later, a ranger passed by. He found Jamie's body, dead. Dr Dodge told the police of the circumstance, and that Jamie had probably panicked, and died. Police arrested Dr Dodge, on the charges of murdering Jamie. Why? The bamboo pole did not have any cracks or holes. Its opening was above water the whole time.
Jamie died of carbon dioxide poisoning. The pole was 5' long, but only the size of a quarter. The first time he breathed in, he breathed oxygen. When he exhaled, the air could not travel 5' before he breathed in again. He was just breathing what he exhaled. Before long, all he was breathing was carbon dioxide. He died of CO2 poisoning. Doctor Doge was the one who told him to use the pole, therefore the cause of his death. Dodge is a DOCTOR, and therefore knows about the CO2. Dodge did murder Jamie. His motive: the money in the will.
91.04 %
47 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
93.98 %
42 votes