Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Greatest Show On Earth

"This is terrible," the customs officer shouted. "It's impossible to count all these people and animals that keep moving around constantly. I can't count the same number twice! There are zebras, lions, giraffes, horses, elephants, rhinos, tigers, cheetas, flamingos, storks, doves and hummingbirds! I can't keep them under control, I just can't!"

"Count the heads, officer," the circus owner advised. "Every animal has got a head and, as the documentation shows, I can count 112 of them."

"Count the legs, officer, that's the way," the clown said. "There are 310 legs; if you subtract the number of heads from the number of legs, you'll be able to tell how many bipeds and how many four-legged animals there are."

"Wait a second, I've just counted the legs just now, and there's 297 of them," the cook said.

"This is driving me mad," the officer muttered. "One of them tells me there are 112 heads, another one talks about 310 legs, and that mentally-disturbed cook tells me that the number of legs is only 297. How many animals, including humans, are there?

To be more precise, how many bipeds and how many four-legged animals are there? And is the cook completely mad?

The Greatest Show On Earth Puzzle Solution

There are 69 bipeds and 43 four-legged animals. If all animals were four-legged, the officer would have counted 448 legs, not 310. Obviously 138 legs are missing, hence 69 subjects are bipeds.

It's worth pointing out that, within the bipeds, there are 13 stilt birds, which include flamingos and storks. The cook must have counted them as they were standing on one leg only, so whilst he is not crazy, he almost drove the customs officer mad.