Riddle #967


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

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Three Childrens' Ages

A deliveryman comes to a house to drop off a package. He asks the woman who lives there how many children she has. "Three," she says. "And I bet you can't guess their ages." "Ok, give me a hint," the deliveryman says. "Well, if you multiply their ages together, you get 36," she says. "And if you add their ages together, the sum is equal to our house number." The deliveryman looks at the house number nailed to the front of her house. "I need another hint," he says. The woman thinks for a moment. "My youngest son will have a lot to learn from his older brothers," she says. The deliveryman's eyes light up and he tells her the ages of her three children. What are their ages?
Their ages are 1, 6, and 6. We can figure this out as follows: Given that their ages multiply out to 36, the possible ages for the children are: 1, 1, 36 (sum = 38) 1, 2, 18 (sum = 21) 1, 3, 12 (sum = 16) 1, 4, 9 (sum = 14) 1, 6, 6 (sum = 13) 2, 2, 9 (sum = 13) 2, 3, 6 (sum = 11) 3, 3, 4 (sum = 10) When the woman tells the deliveryman that the children's ages add up to her street number, he still doesn't know their ages. The only way this could happen is that there is more than one possible way for the children's ages to add up to the number on the house (or else he would have known their ages when he looked at the house number). Looking back at the possible values for the children's ages, you can see that there is only one situation in which there are multiple possible values for the children's ages that add up to the same sum, and that is if their ages are either 1, 6, and 6 (sums up to 13), or 2, 2, and 9 (also sums up to 13). So these are now the only possible values for their ages. When the woman then tells him that her youngest son has two older brothers (who we can tell are clearly a number of years older), the only possible situation is that their ages are 1, 6, and 6.
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44 votes


Eight eights

Using eight eights and addition only, can you make 1000?
888 + 88 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 1000
93.05 %
36 votes


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.
93.70 %
40 votes


Twin brother

Peter celebrated his birthday on one day, and two days later his older twin brother, Paul, celebrated his birthday. How could this be?
When the mother of the twins went into labour, she was travelling by boat. The older twin, Paul, was born first, barely on March 1st. The boat then crossed a time zone,
93.22 %
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Shot to death while in his car

A man was shot to death while in his car. There were no powder marks on his clothing which indicated that the gunman was outside the car. However, all the windows were up and the doors locked. After a close inspection was made, the only bullet holes discovered were on the man's body. How was he murdered?
The victim was in a convertible.
93.39 %
38 votes


Valuable object send by mail

Suppose you want to send in the mail a valuable object to a friend. You have a box which is big enough to hold the object. The box has a locking ring which is large enough to have a lock attached and you have several locks with keys. However, your friend does not have the key to any lock that you have. You cannot send the key in an unlocked box since it may be stolen or copied. How do you send the valuable object, locked, to your friend - so it may be opened by your friend?
Send the box with a lock attached and locked. Your friend attaches his or her own lock and sends the box back to you. You remove your lock and send it back to your friend. You remove your lock and send it back to your friend. Your friend may then remove the lock she or he put on and open the box.
93.84 %
41 votes


Coins on a table

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.
94.24 %
44 votes