Category Archives: Insight

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David Justice and Derek Jeter were professional baseball players. In 1997 they had the following conversation:

David: Did you know that in both 1995 and 1996 I had better batting averages than you?

Derek: No way, my batting average over the last two years was definitely higher than yours!

It turned out that both of them were right. How is it possible?

This is the so called Simpson’s paradox. The reason it occurred is that during 1996 both players had high averages and Derek Jeter had many more hits than David Justice. In 1996 both players had low averages and David Justice had many more hits than Derek Jeter. You can see their official statistics below.

Player199519961995-1996
Derek Jeter12/48 (.250)183/582 (.314)
195/630 (.310)
David Justice104/411 (.253)45/140 (.321)149/551 (.270)
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These are a few enigmas from the puzzle book CODEX ENIGMATUM. What is the answer to puzzle #9?

You can buy the complete book, created by Rami Hansenne, from this LINK.

  • Puzzle #2 After turning the first wheel 22 times to the right, then 19 times to the left, then 15 times to the right, and finally 11 times to the left, the final wheel will spell the word EXIT.
  • Puzzle #3 The total number of spots on the hidden sides of the die on the left is 6, which corresponds to the sixth letter in the alphabet – F. Therefore, the four dice on the right correspond to the letters K, I, N, G.
  • Puzzle #4 In the mosaic on the right, you can find a little star which contains pieces with letters H, I, D, E.
  • Puzzle #6 If you trace the signature on the paper, starting from the large C, you will pass through the letters C, O, N, T, I, N, U, O, U, S.
  • Puzzle #8 The picture on the left and the answer to puzzle #6 (“continuous”) suggest that we have to consider the images on the right which can be drawn continuously, without taking off the pencil from the paper or passing through any segment twice. These images are labeled with the letters N, O, S, E.
  • Puzzle #9 The first 2 letters from the word NOSE spell NO. The last letter from the word EXIT is T. The first letter from the word HIDE is H. The last three letters from the word KING spell ING. When you combine all of them, you get the word NOTHING.

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A woman was standing in her hotel room, when somebody knocked on the door. When she opened the door, there was a man who said that he has mistaken his door, apologized, and continued down the corridor. When the woman closed the door, she called security to warn them about the thief. Why did she think the man was planning to rob her?

If the man really thought this was his room, he wouldn’t have knocked on the door.

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You have a big bag of flour, two 5lbs weights, and an inaccurate balance scale. How can you measure exactly 10lbs of flour?

Put both weights on one side, then fill the other side with flour so that the scale balances out. Then remove the weights and replace them with flour so that the balance scale is balanced again. The amount of flour you put there is exactly 10lbs.

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Alex and Bob are playing a game. They are taking turns drawing arrows over the segments of an infinite grid. Alex wins if he manages to create a closed loop, Bob wins if Alex does not win within the first 1000 moves. Who has a winning strategy if:

a) Alex starts first (easy)
b) Bob starts first (hard)

Remark: The loop can include arrows drawn both by Alex and Bob.

In both cases, Bob wins. An easy strategy for part a) is the following:

Every time Alex draws an arrow, Bob draws an arrow in such a way, that the two arrows form an L-shaped piece and either point towards or away from each other. Since every closed loop must contain a bottom left corner, Alex cannot win.

For part b), Bob should use a modification of his strategy in part a). First, he draws a horizontal arrow. Then, he splits the remaining edges into pairs, as shown on the image below. If Alex draws one arrow on the grid, then Bob draws its paired arrow, such that the two arrows point either towards or away from each other. The only place where a loop can have a bottom left corner is where Bob drew the first arrow. However, if a loop has a bottom left corner in this positio, then it must have at least one more bottom left corner, which is impossible.