A teacher writes six words on a board: “cat dog has max dim tag.” She gives three students, Albert, Bernard and Cheryl each a piece of paper with one letter from one of the words. Then she asks, “Albert, do you know the word?” Albert immediately replies yes. She asks, “Bernard, do you know the word?” He thinks for a moment and replies yes. Then she asks Cheryl the same question. She thinks and then replies yes. What is the word?
Riddles for Scholars
The best hard riddles for scholars.
The “Monty Hall” problem was made famous when it appeared in Parade magazine’s “Ask Marilyn” column in 1990, and it was so counterintuitive it had everyone from high school students to top mathematical minds questioning the answer—but rest assured, the solution is accurate. Named for the Let’s Make a Deal game show host, the puzzle goes like this: You are given three doors to choose from, one of which contains a car and the other two contain goats. After you’ve chosen one but haven’t opened it, Monty, who knows where everything is, reveals the location of a goat from behind one of the other two doors. Should you stick with your original choice or switch, if you want the car?
Three men are lined up behind each other. The tallest man is in the back and can see the heads of the two in front of him; the middle man can see the one man in front of him; the man in front can’t see anyone. They are blindfolded and hats are placed on their heads, picked from three black hats and two white hats. The extra two hats are hidden and the blindfolds removed. The tallest man is asked if he knows what color hat he’s wearing; he doesn’t. The middle man is asked if he knows; he doesn’t. But the man in front, who can’t see anyone, says he knows. How does he know, and what color hat is he wearing?
There are three bags, each containing two marbles. Bag A contains two white marbles, Bag B contains two black marbles, and Bag C contains one white marble and one black marble. You pick a random bag and take out one marble, which is white. What is the probability that the remaining marble from the same bag is also white?
There is a barrel with no lid and some wine in it. “This barrel of wine is more than half full,” says the woman. “No, it’s not,” says the man. “It’s less than half full.” Without any measuring implements and without removing any wine from the barrel, how can they easily determine who is correct?
Walking home one day, you take a short cut along the train tracks. The tracks cross a narrow bridge over a deep gorge. At the point you are 3/8 of the way across the bridge, you hear the train whistle somewhere behind you. You charge across the bridge, and jump off the track as the train is about to run you down. As it happens, if you had gone the other way, you would have reached safety just before being run over as well. If you can run ten miles per hour, how fast is the train moving?
Dynamite is a tool that can be used to cut down trees. To cut a tree 18 inches in diameter requires five sticks of dynamite: one on the north, south, east and west sides of the tree, and the fifth stick on the side to which the tree should fall. During construction of a dam, a tree 18 inches in diameter was completely covered by water. Since the treetop was fouling the boat's propellers, it had to be cut down. A diver went down and put a stick of dynamite on the four sides of the tree. Since the current is flowing south at 2 knots per hour, on which side of the tree would you instruct the diver to put the fifth stick of dynamite if you wanted the tree to fall north?