Category Archives: Deduction

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You have ten lanterns, five of which are working, and five of which are broken. You are allowed to choose any two lanterns and make a test which tells you whether there is a broken lantern among them or not. How many tests do you need until you find a working lantern?

Remark: If the test detects that there are broken lanterns, it does not tell you which ones and how many (one or two) they are.

You need 6 tests:

(1, 2) → (3, 4) → (5, 6) → (7, 8) → (7, 9) → (8, 9)

If at least one of these tests is positive, then you have found two working lanterns.

It all of these tests are negative, then lantern #10 must be working. Indeed, since at least one lantern in each of the pairs (1, 2), (3, 4), (5, 6) is not working. Therefore, there are at least 2 working lanterns among #7, #8, #9, #10. If #10 is not working, then at least one of the pairs (7, 8), (7, 9), or (8, 9) must yield a positive test, which is a contradiction.

With some case analysis, it is not hard to see that 5 tests are not enough.

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The sentence below is grammatically correct. Can you explain it?

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

The sentence says that buffalo (animals) from Buffalo (city, US), which are buffaloed (intimidated) by Buffalo (city, US) buffalo (animals), themselves buffalo (intimidate) buffalo (animals) from Buffalo (city, US).

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Rearrange the eight queens so that no two of them attack each other. For an extra challenge, make sure that no three of them lie on a straight line.

The original puzzle has 10 unique solutions, up to rotation and symmetry. With the additional restriction imposed, there is only one solution.

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There are 5 houses and each of them has a different color. Their respective owners have different heritages, drink different types of beverages, smoke different brands of cigarettes, and look after different types of pets. It is known that:

  1. The Brit lives in the red house.
  2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
  3. The Dane drinks tea.
  4. Looking from in front, the green house is just to the left of the white house.
  5. The green house’s owner drinks coffee.
  6. The person who smokes Pall Malls raises birds.
  7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
  8. The man living in the center house drinks milk.
  9. The Norwegian lives in the leftmost house.
  10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
  11. The man who keeps a horse lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
  12. The owner who smokes Bluemasters also drinks beer.
  13. The German smokes Prince.
  14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
  15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.

The question is, who owns the pet fish?

The German owns the pet fish.

Since the Norwegian lives in the leftmost house (9) and the house next to him is blue (14), the second house must be blue. Since the green house is on the left of the white house (4), the person living in the center house drinks milk (8), and the green house’s owner drinks coffee (5), the fourth house must be green and the fifth one must be white. Since the Brit lives in the red house (1) and the Norwegian lives in the leftmost house (9), the leftmost house must be yellow and the center house must be red. Therefore, the colors of the houses are: YELLOW, BLUE, RED, GREEN, WHITE.

Since the Norwegian from the yellow house smokes Dunhill (7), the man from the blue house must keep a horse (11). The person smoking Blends cannot be in the red house, because this would imply that the person in the green house keeps cats and the Swede keeps dogs in the white house (2, 10). However, in this case the Dane must be drinking tea in the blue house (3) and the person smoking Blends does not have a neighbor drinking water (5), which is a contradiction (15). Also, the person smoking Blends cannot be in the green house, because this would imply that the person in the white house drinks water (15), the Dane lives in the blue house (3), and the German and the Swede live in the last two houses. Since the German smokes Prince (13) and the Swede keeps dogs (2), there is nobody who could smoke Bluemaster and drink beer (12). The person smoking Blends cannot be in the white house either, because this would imply that the person in the green house drinks water (15), when in fact he drinks coffee (5).

Therefore, the person smoking Blends must be in the blue house, and then the German and the Swede must live in the last two houses (2, 13). Since the person who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer (12), this must be the Swede with his dogs in the white house (2). The only option for the person who smokes Pall Mall and raising birds (6) is the red house. Then the Norwegian must keep cats (10) and the German is left with the pet fish in the green house.

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“If there is a vowel written on one side of a card, then there is an even number written on the other side.”
How many of these four cards do you need to flip in order to check the validity of this sentence?

What would the answer be if you know that each card contains one letter and one number?

You need to flip all cards except for the second one. If each card contains one letter and one number, then you need to flip only A and 7.

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Two people play a game of NIM. There are 100 matches on a table, and the players take turns picking 1 to 5 sticks at a time. The person who takes the last stick wins the game. Who has a winning strategy?

The first person has a winning strategy. First, he takes 4 sticks. Then every time the second player takes X sticks, the first player takes 6 – X sticks.

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An evil warden holds you as a prisoner but offers you a chance to escape. There are 3 doors A, B, and C. Two of the doors lead to freedom and the third door leads to lifetime imprisonment, but you do not which door is what type. You are allowed to point to a door and ask the warden a single yes-no question. If you point to a door that leads to freedom, the warden does answer your question truthfully. But if you point to the door that leads to imprisonment, the warden answers your question randomly, saying either “YES” or “NO” by chance. Can you figure out a way to escape the prison?

You can point towards door A and ask whether door B leads to freedom. If the warden says “YES”, then you open door B. It can not lead to imprisonment because this would mean that door A leads to freedom and the warden must have told you the truth. If the warden says “NO”, then you open door C. This is because either the warden lied, and then the imprisonment door is A, or he told you the truth, and then the imprisonment door is B.