interviewlogicmathA 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.

## Similar riddles

See also best riddles or new riddles.

interviewlogicYou are standing before two doors. One of the path leads to heaven and the other one leads to hell. There are two guardians, one by each door. You know one of them always tells the truth and the other always lies, but you don’t know who is the honest one and who is the liar. You can only ask one question to one of them in order to find the way to heaven. What is the question?

The question you should ask is “If I ask the other guard about which side leads to heaven, what would he answer?”. It should be fairly easy to see that irrespective of whom do you ask this question, you will always get an answer which leads to hell. So you can chose the other path to continue your journey to heaven.
This idea was famously used in the 1986 film Labyrinth.
Here is the explanation if it is yet not clear.
Let us assume that the left door leads to heaven.
If you ask the guard which speaks truth about which path leads to heaven, as he speaks always the truth, he would say “left”. Now that the liar , when he is asked what “the other guard (truth teller) ” would answer, he would definitely say “right”.
Similarly, if you ask the liar about which path leads to heaven, he would say “right”. As the truth teller speaks nothing but the truth, he would say “right” when he is asked what “the other guard( liar ) ” would answer. So in any case, you would end up having the path to hell as an answer. So you can chose the other path as a way to heaven.

logicmathEvery day, Jack arrives at the train station from work at 5 pm. His wife leaves home in her car to meet him there at exactly 5 pm, and drives him home. One day, Jack gets to the station an hour early, and starts walking home, until his wife meets him on the road. They get home 30 minutes earlier than usual. How long was he walking? Distances are unspecified. Speeds are unspecified, but constant. Give a number which represents the answer in minutes.

The best way to think about this problem is to consider it from the perspective of the wife. Her round trip was decreased by 30 minutes, which means each leg of her trip was decreased by 15 minutes. Jack must have been walking for 45 minutes.

interviewlogicOne day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was.
He asked Birbal: "Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?"
Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficult day and were impatient to leave.
"Ask me one difficult question," said Birbal.
"Well, then tell me," said the man, "which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?" "The chicken," replied Birbal, very confidently.
"How do you know?" asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice.
What did Birbal answer to this?

Birbal told the scholar, "We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it" and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping.

logicmathA grandfather's clock chimes the appropriate number of times to indicate the hour, as well as chiming once at each quarter hour. If you were in another room and hear the clock chime just once, what would be the longest period of time you would have to wait in order to be certain of the correct time?

You would have to wait 90 minutes between 12:15 and 1:45. Once you had heard seven single chimes, you would know that the next chime would be two chimes for 2 o'clock.

logicmathTwo 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.

logicmath In the land of Brainopia, there are three races of people: Mikkos, who tell the truth all the time, Kikkos, who always tell lies, and Zikkos, who tell alternate false and true statements, in which the order is not known (i.e. true, false, true or false, true, false). When interviewing three Brainopians, a foreigner received the following statements:
Person 1:
I am a Mikko.
Person 2:
I am a Kikko.
Person 3:
a. They are both lying.
b. I am a Zikko.
Can you help the very confused foreigner determine who is who, assuming each person represents a different race?

Person 1 is a Miko.
Person 2 is a Ziko.
Person 3 is a Kikko.

logicmathA women walks into a bank to cash out her check.
By mistake the bank teller gives her rupee amount in change, and her paise amount in rupees.
On the way home she spends 5 paise, and then suddenly she notices that she has twice the amount of her check.
How much was her check amount ?

The check was for Rupees 31.63.
The bank teller gave her Rupees 63.31
She spent .05, and then she had Rupees 63.26, which is twice the check.
Let x be the rupees of the check, and y be the paise.
The check was for 100x + y paise
He was given 100y + x paise
Also
100y + x - 5 = 2(100x + y)
Expanding this out and rearranging, we find:
98y = 199x + 5
or 199x â‰¡ -5 (mod 98)
or 98*2*x + 3x â‰¡ -5 (mod 98)
3x â‰¡ -5 â‰¡ 93 (mod 98)
this quickly leads to x = 31

animallogicmathThere are 100 ants on a board that is 1 meter long, each facing either left or right and walking at a pace of 1 meter per minute.
The board is so narrow that the ants cannot pass each other; when two ants walk into each other, they each instantly turn around and continue walking in the opposite direction. When an ant reaches the end of the board, it falls off the edge.
From the moment the ants start walking, what is the longest amount of time that could pass before all the ants have fallen off the plank? You can assume that each ant has infinitely small length.

The longest amount of time that could pass would be 1 minute.
If you were looking at the board from the side and could only see the silhouettes of the board and the ants, then when two ants walked into each other and turned around, it would look to you as if the ants had walked right by each other.
In fact, the effect of two ants walking into each other and then turning around is essentially the same as two ants walking past one another: we just have two ants at that point walking in opposite directions.
So we can treat the board as if the ants are walking past each other. In this case, the longest any ant can be on the board is 1 minute (since the board is 1 meter long and the ants walk at 1 meter per minute). Thus, after 1 minute, all the ants will be off the board.

logicmathA man who lives in Middletown has two girlfriends, one in Northtown and one in Southtown. Trains from the Middletown train station leave for Northtown once every hour. Separate trains from the station also leave for Southtown once every hour. No trains go to both Northtown and Southtown.
Each day he gets to the Middletown train station at a completely random time and gets onto the first train that is going to either Northtown or Southtown, whichever comes first.
After a few months, he realizes that he spends 80% of his days with his girlfriend from Northtown, and only 20% of his days with his girlfriend from Southtown.
How could this be?

The train to Northtown leaves every hour, on the hour (9:00AM, 10:00AM, etc...).
The train to Southtown leaves at 12 after the hour (9:12AM, 10:12AM, etc...).
So there is only a 12/60 (1/5) chance that he will end up on the train to Southtown each day, since he will usually get to the station during the 48 minutes of each hour when the train to Northtown will be the next to come.

logicmathYou are somewhere on Earth. You walk due south 1 mile, then due east 1 mile, then due north 1 mile. When you finish this 3-mile walk, you are back exactly where you started.
It turns out there are an infinite number of different points on earth where you might be. Can you describe them all?
It's important to note that this set of points should contain both an infinite number of different latitudes, and an infinite number of different longitudes (though the same latitudes and longitudes can be repeated multiple times); if it doesn't, you haven't thought of all the points.

One of the points is the North Pole. If you go south one mile, and then east one mile, you're still exactly one mile south of the North Pole, so you'll be back where you started when you go north one mile.
To think of the next set of points, imagine the latitude slighty north of the South Pole, where the length of the longitudinal line around the Earth is exactly one mile (put another way, imagine the latitude slightly north of the South Pole where if you were to walk due east one mile, you would end up exactly where you started). Any point exactly one mile north of this latitude is another one of the points you could be at, because you would walk south one mile, then walk east a mile around and end up where you started the eastward walk, and then walk back north one mile to your starting point. So this adds an infinite number of other points we could be at. However, we have not yet met the requirement that our set of points has an infinite number of different latitudes.
To meet this requirement and see the rest of the points you might be at, we just generalize the previous set of points. Imagine the latitude slightly north of the South Pole that is 1/2 mile in distance. Also imagine the latitudes in this area that are 1/3 miles in distance, 1/4 miles in distance, 1/5 miles, 1/6 miles, and so on. If you are at any of these latitudes and you walk exactly one mile east, you will end up exactly where you started. Thus, any point that is one mile north of ANY of these latitudes is another one of the points you might have started at, since you'll walk one mile south, then one mile east and end up where you started your eastward walk, and finally, one mile north back to where you started.