Showing posts with label tamerlano trap puzzle. Show all posts

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tamerlano's Trap II

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Alvise Moschin, a Venetian merchant, was dragged into the Hazel Room of Samarcanda Palacethe by a pair of soldiers. Although fairly worried, Moschin felt some confidence due to his knowledge of the East. He knew, through tales heard in wine bars, what was waiting for him and how he should react. For a start, he would find himself in front of two doors guarded by two soldiers, a liar and and truth-teller. That would not be a problem.

The street-smart Venetian was thrown onto the rug before a throne. Despite his predicament, he could not contain a grin, which only widened when he saw Tamerlano enter the room and take a seat upon the throne before him.

"Get up, merchant!" barked the conqueror. "There are two doors behind you--"

"Behind one of them there's a horse, and behind the other there are crocodiles, am I right?" interrupted the merchant.

Tamerlano leaned back. "You are smart and well informed, christian," he said. "However, this time we'll have a slight variation. You will not find two guards, but one. He will be the one to whom you may ask the single question. From that, you must decide which door will lead you to certain death and which to freedom. Also, you will not know whether he always lies or always tells the truth."

With his face pale, as if he had seen a ghost, Moschin turned around and saw that between the two doors, there was indeed only one guard. The guard bore a satanic grin, his piercing eyes staring. Moschin approached the guard slowly, his mind working frantically...

What question must Alvise Moschin ask to determine which is the door to freedom?

Tamerlano's Trap II Puzzle Solution

Moschin asked the guard: "If I had asked you which door leads to freedom, which door would you have pointed me to?"

If the guard was truthful, he would have shown the right door. If he lies, he would have again shown the right door, because he would have given the merchant the opposite answer to what he would have given if he was asked a direct question.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tamerlano's Trap

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"Now be careful!" Tamerlano warned his prisoner. "You can see that in this room, there are two doors guarded by two soldiers. You can tell by their clothes that they come from two different clans. One of the doors leads to a pool of crocodiles; the other one leads to a healthy horse and a sack of gold. To determine which door leads to certain death and which leads to freedom and wealth, you may ask a single question to one of these soldiers. From that answer, you must make your decision. One more warning; one of these soldiers always tells the truth, and the other one always lies."

The prisoner, an intelligent Greek merchant, meditated for a while, bowed to the great conqueror, and with a grin on his face, approached one of the soldiers.

What question would open the door of freedom?

Tamerlano's Trap Puzzle Solution

The merchant asked one of the soldiers, it didn't matter which one: "If I had asked your colleague which door leads to freedom, which of the two doors would he have pointed me to?"

If the interrogated soldier was the one that tells the truth, he would have pointed him to the door that leads to death, because that's the door that the liar would have showed. But even if the same question was asked the liar, the same door (the one that leads to death) would have been the one pointed at, ie the door opposite the one that would have been shown by the truthful soldier.

Once obtained the answer, the merchant went to the door he was NOT pointed at, and enjoyed his freedom.