Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Orbiting Logic

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Colonel Tom Carpenter, during his fifth space mission, was being kept awake by the blabbering of the Cape Canaveral Control Centre operator, who offered him the following puzzle.

"Here's a deck of 52 cards, Tom. I'm taking the Aces and the Royals out of the deck. Do you copy that, Tom?"
cards riddle

"Roger," the yawning voice of the astronaut answered.

"Of the 36 remaining cards, I've drawn 5 of them. These 5 cards have the following properties:
(a) all four suits are represented here;
(b) there is no more than 2 consecutive ranks for each sequence (ie a 2 followed by a 3, or a 7 by an 8, or both, but not 2, 3, 4);
(c) the sum of the even ranks and the sum of the odd ranks produce two numbers: the difference between these two numbers is 9, but I won't specify whether it's the sum of odds being greater than the sum of evens, or viceversa.
(d) the sum of ranks of the red cards is exactly twice the sum of ranks of the black cards.
You awake, Tom?"

After a pause, Tom managed a faint "Roger."
"Ok, you should also know that:
(e) a hearts is a multiple of a clubs;
(f) the rank of a diamond is greater than that of a hearts;
(g) there are no 2 cards with the same rank.

Which cards did I draw? Tom, are you listening? Which cards have I got?"

Deduce which five cards he necessarily holds.

Orbiting Logic Puzzle Solution

During the next orbit, the sleepy but correct answer came forth from the astronaut: 2 of clubs, 5 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, 9 of spades, and 10 of hearts.

Following from (g) - no two cards are the same rank - and (b), the strongest combination (ie highest ranks) possible is 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, which adds up to 36. If we write down all combinations of 2 numbers that have a difference of 9, and a maximum sum of 36, we'll have:
  • 2, 11
  • 3, 12
  • 4, 13
  • 5, 14
  • 6, 15
  • 7, 16
  • 8, 17
  • 9, 18
  • 10,19
  • 11, 20
  • 12, 21
  • 13, 22
The number of odd ranks in the 5-card combination could be 1 or 3 (not 2 and not 4 because their sum would be an even number, and a difference of 9 between two even numbers is inexistent). If there was only 1 odd rank, then there would be 4 even ranks, and the weakest combination of evens would be 2, 4, 6, 8 which add up to 20: the difference, 9, would result in a single number, 11, which does not exist in the deck of cards (the Royals were excluded). Therefore we have 3 odd ranks. The sum of the weakest 3 odd ranks (excluding the Aces) is 15, ie 3 + 5 + 7. So, from the combinations above, we can exclude all combinations that contain an odd number less than 15. We are left with
  • 6, 15
  • 8, 17
  • 10, 19
  • 12, 21
The first one (6, 15) must be excluded because the 3 odd numbers (3, 5, 7) would be joined by the only 2 even numbers which would add up to 6 (2,4), and therefore we would have a sequence of 5 consecutive numbers, which doesn't match the constraint set by (b). We are left with 3 combinations:
  • 8, 17 (and the 5 ranks would be 2, 3, 5, 6, 9)
  • 10, 19 (and the 5 ranks would be 3, 4, 6, 7, 9)
  • 12, 21 (and the 5 ranks would be 2, 5, 7, 9, 10)
But (d) states that the sum of red cards is twice of the sum of black cards, so the first 2 combinations must be excluded, because it's not possible to find 2 sets of numbers, one of which is twice the other; therefore the 5 ranks can only be 2, 5, 7, 9, 10. The red cards must be 5, 7, 10.

Following (e), rank 2 must be clubs and 10 must be hearts, so rank 9 must be spades; following (f), rank 7 has got to be diamonds and rank 5 must be hearts.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three Skullcaps

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After being captured by the tribe of the forest, the three explorers were taken to the tribe's chief, who declared that the tribe needed a successor of great wisdom. He showed the captives five skullcaps, three of which were red and the remaining two were green. He commanded the three to line up with their faces toward the wall. On each he placed a red skullcap.

"Now", the chief said, "turn around and look at each other. Whoever can tell me, with a logical explanation, the colour of the skullcap you are wearing will be granted freedom."

The three turned around, looked at each other, and after a long pause one of them said, "I don't know." Two natives impaled him on their spears.

After another pause, the second prisoner stuttered, "I don't know." The two natives threw him into a fire pit.

Immediately, the third man turned a cartwheel, announced, "My skullcap is red," and proceeded to explain.

Amidst the applause of the gathered tribesmen, the chief awarded the explorer vice-chiefdom of the tribe for his wisdom

How did the explorer know that his skullcap was red?

Three Skullcaps Puzzle Solution

At first, any explorer could have guessed the colour of his own skullcap only if the other two wore green skullcaps. Unfortunately, the first explorer admits to not being able to work it out, and is killed.

Then, with two people left it is possible for either explorer to know if he wears a red skullcap only if the other wears green. In that case, he could reason, "The other person wears green, so if I also have a green skullcap, then the first man would have deduced that he was wearing a red skullcap, since there are only two green caps. Therefore my skullcap is, without doubt, red." Of course, this is not the case. Stupidly, the second explorer admits he does not know and is killed as punishment.

After seeing that the other two could not deduce their colours, and believing in their deductive capabilities, the third prisoner was then sure he was wearing a red skullcap.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Red Square, Moscow, 30th April

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"And what about these two posters?"

"Those are the posters that will be hung on the south side of Red Square: as you can see they represent comrades Lenin and Marx."

"I can see that by myself. What I meant was the other two posters over there, the one with the Red Star and the one with the Hammer and Sickle."

The four posters were lined up and showed, from left to right, Lenin, Marx, the Red Star, and the Hammer And Sickle.

"Oh, they are nothing but the back of the other two. I wanted you to also see the back-faces of the posters, as these back-faces will be invisible from the inside of the Square."

communist posters riddle

"Hmmm... so enlighten me, which is the front of the poster representing the Hammer And Sickle?"
Nikita Proskoijev grinned, "I would like to test your deduction capabilities, dear comrade; a capability, I might add, which some people have had the guts to doubt. I say that all posters representing Lenin show the Hammer And Sickle on their opposite face. How would you verify this statement, in such a way that leaves no shadow of a doubt?"

"Do you mean, dear tovarisc, that I should turn these gigantic posters around to see which comrade matches the Star and which the Hammer And Sickle?"

"I have said what I have said, dear Ivanovic; it is up to you to decide what is the minimum number of posters to turn around to verify whether my statement was true or false."

Ivanovic felt very cold, as if he was in Siberia. What is the minimum number of posters, out of the four displayed, that he has to turn around to verify the statement of that cunning snake?

Ivanovic had to turn around two posters: the first one (Lenin) and the third one (the Red Star).

All that Nikita Proskoijev said was that all the posters representing Lenin show Hammer And Sickle on their opposite face. Therefore it is needed to check the back of the first poster and the front of the third one, to make sure that the Red Star wasn't linked with Lenin's face, cause if it was, then Proskoijev's statement would have been false.

Checking the front of the fourth poster (which is what Ivanovic did, that's why he's now a lumberjack near Jakutsk) is useless; if the 4th poster shows Lenin face as its front, it would just confirm what Proskoijev stated; but then, if the 4th poster showed Marx, this would not have falsified Proskoijev's statement, because he said that Lenin is linked to Hammer And Sickle, while he didn't state that Hammer And Sickle are linked to Lenin.

Monday, September 15, 2014


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The bells of the clock tower signal six o'clock (with 6 loud rings) in 5 seconds.

How long will it take for the bells to signal twelve o'clock (midday)?

Notes: It is not 10 seconds!

Mizar Puzzle Solution:

11 seconds. The 5 seconds needed to signal six o'clock are the 5 silent intermissions between rings. At twelve, the 12 rings are interleaved by 11 silent intermissions, which need 11 seconds to be executed.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Amazing Life-Sized Games

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A lot of creative experiments take place every day around the world. IN this gallery we want to present you several board games, computer games or brain teasers made life-sized. These games were created for entertainment, as well as to assist people achieve e better orientation in space. Enjoy the gallery!

1. A group of anonymous artists known as ‘Bored‘ has created a life-size version of Monopoly using the streets of Chicago as their giant game board.

2. In honor of the board game's 60th anniversary in 2009, the crookedest street in the U.S., Lombard Street, San Francisco, was transformed into the sweetest board game around - Candyland.

3. On the 3rd annual Michigan Fallapalooza in 2007 - a day of games, music and sidewalk sales, the life-sized game of Hasbro's popular Chutes and Ladders was perhaps the most attractive event.

4. The world's biggest game of Scrabble was played out on the pitch at Wembley stadium.

5. The world's biggest Chess set by Guinness has a the King that is coming in at 48 inches high.

6. Human-sized Angry Birds was made in the Mount Faber in Singapore and it is super fun!