Riddle #900


The Devil Game

You die and the devil says he'll let you go to heaven if you beat him in a game. The devil sits you down at a perfectly round table. He gives himself and you an infinite pile of quarters. He says, "OK, we'll take turns putting one quarter down, no overlapping allowed, and the quarters must rest flat on the table surface. The first guy who can't put a quarter down loses." You guys are about to start playing, and the devil says that he'll go first. However, at this point you immediately interject, and ask if you can go first instead. You make this interjection because you are very smart and can place quarters perfectly, and you know that if you go first, you can guarantee victory. Explain how you can guarantee victory.
You place a quarter right in the center of the table. After that, whenever the devil places a quarter on the table, mimic his placement on the opposite side of the table.. If he has a place to place a quarter, so will you. The devil will run out of places to put a quarter before you do.
93.98 %
42 votes

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The Circular Lake

A swan sits at the center of a perfectly circular lake. At an edge of the lake stands a ravenous monster waiting to devour the swan. The monster can not enter the water, but it will run around the circumference of the lake to try to catch the swan as soon as it reaches the shore. The monster moves at 4 times the speed of the swan, and it will always move in the direction along the shore that brings it closer to the swan the quickest. Both the swan and the the monster can change directions in an instant. The swan knows that if it can reach the lake's shore without the monster right on top of it, it can instantly escape into the surrounding forest. How can the swan succesfully escape?
Assume the radius of the lake is R feet. So the circumference of the lake is (2*pi*R). If the swan swims R/4 feet, (or, put another way, 0.25R feet) straight away from the center of the lake, and then begins swimming in a circle around the center, then it will be able to swim around this circle in the exact same amount of time as the monster will be able to run around the lake's shore (since this inner circle's circumference is 2*pi*(R/4), which is exactly 4 times shorter than the shore's circumference). From this point, the swan can move a millimeter inward toward the lake's center, and begin swimming around the center in a circle from this distance. It is now going around a very slightly smaller circle than it was a moment ago, and thus will be able to swim around this circle FASTER than the monster can run around the shore. The swan can keep swimming around this way, pulling further away each second, until finally it is on the opposite side of its inner circle from where the monster is on the shore. At this point, the swan aims directly toward the closest shore and begins swimming that way. At this point, the swan has to swim [0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] to get to shore. Meanwhile, the monster will have to run R*pi feet (half the circumference of the lake) to get to where the swan is headed. The monster runs four times as fast as the swan, but you can see that it has more than four times as far to run: [0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] * 4 < R*pi [This math could actually be incorrect if R were very very small, but in that case we could just say the swan swam inward even less than a millimeter, and make the math work out correctly.] Because the swan has less than a fourth of the distance to travel as the monster, it will reach the shore before the monster reaches where it is and successfully escape.
90.04 %
42 votes


Prisoner sentenced to death

You are a prisoner sentenced to death. The Emperor offers you a chance to live by playing a simple game. He gives you 50 black marbles, 50 white marbles and 2 empty bowls. He then says, "Divide these 100 marbles into these 2 bowls. You can divide them any way you like as long as you use all the marbles. Then I will blindfold you and mix the bowls around. You then can choose one bowl and remove ONE marble. If the marble is WHITE you will live, but if the marble is BLACK... you will die." How do you divide the marbles up so that you have the greatest probability of choosing a WHITE marble? HINT: The answer does not guarantee 100% you will chose a white marble, but you have a much better chance.
Place 1 white marble in the bowl, and place the rest of the marbles in the other bowl (49 whites, and 50 blacks). This way you begin a 50/50 chance of choosing the bowl with just one white marble, therefore life! BUT even if you choose the other bowl, you still have almost a 50/50 chance at picking one of the 49 white marbles.
90.47 %
44 votes


Many Things At Once

It is greater than god, more evil than the devil, the poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it, you will die? What is it?
92.86 %
35 votes


The genie and the wish

General Custer is surrounded by Indians and he's the only cowboy left. He finds an old lamp in front of him and rubs it. Out pops a genie. The genie grants Custer one wish, with a catch. He says, "Whatever you wish for, each Indian will get two of the same thing." Custer ponders a while and thinks:"If I get a bow and arrow they get two. If I get a rifle they get two!" He then rubs the bottle again and out pops the genie. "Well," the genie asks "have you made up your mind?" What did Custer ask for to help him get away?
One glass eye.
87.71 %
46 votes



A sign on the barber's door says "I shave only those who do not shave themselves." Does the barber shave himself?
There is no answer, it's a paradox. It cannot be made to work.
93.22 %
37 votes


Horse travels

A horse travels a certain distance each day. Strangely enough, two of its legs travel 30 miles each day and the other two legs travel nearly 31 miles. It would seem that two of the horse's legs must be one mile ahead of the other two legs, but of course this can't be true. Since the horse is normal, how is this situation possible?
The horse operates the mill and travels in a circular clockwise direction. The two outside legs will travel a greater distance than the inside ones.
90.86 %
46 votes


Pants pocket

How can a pants pocket be empty and still have something in it?
It can have a hole in it.
87.54 %
33 votes



How could the cowboy travel on friday, then sleep two days and then travel back home on friday.
If the horse was named Friday.
85.76 %
59 votes