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Thursday, November 5, 2009

And The Answer Is...


Haha.. joking.

I hope everyone had a fun time puzzling over my quiz from yesterday. I know I had fun imagining the more 'driven' readers going nuts over it.

So, if you're ready for the answer, click the 'read more' button below (it's beneath the LinkWithin widget, until I can figure out how to resolve some coding issues). If you want more time to mull on it, just move on to another post, or order a Limited Edition GO 2010 calendar or something... :)

Now, we go back to our four intrepid explorers, captured by the Cannibal Chief. One person spoke out, and everyone got off scot-free!

Who spoke, and what was the logic behind his reasoning?

To figure out the answer to this puzzle, you need to think a little deviously. One of the first things to do is to put yourself in each of the explorer's shoes.

Explorer 1 is facing a wall. He in effect sees nothing and hears nothing. We can safely assume that he will not be able to give a correct answer.

Explorer 2 is also facing the wall. Actually, he is in the same position as Explorer 1, being able to see nothing and hear anything.

Explorer 3 can only see Explorer 2 in front of him, and that Explorer 2 is wearing a white hat.

Explorer 4 can see both Explorers 2 & 3, wearing white and black hats respectively. Now, consider this: If Explorer 4 had seen two white hats in front of him, wouldn't he immediately know that he himself was wearing a black hat? And if he saw two black hats in front of him, he would immediately know that he was wearing a white hat too. BUT now, he sees one white hat and one black hat in front of him, and there is no way that he can guess what he himself is wearing.

I think most readers are smart enough to have gotten to this point in their reasoning. To solve the puzzle, you just have to think one step further and assemble the facts together.

Fact #1: No one will say anything unless they were absolutely sure of their answer
Fact #2: Explorer 4 was in the best position to see the most, so all other Explorers would have been waiting for him to answer.
Fact #3: The only reason why Explorer 4 could not be absolutely sure of his answer would be because he can see one black hat and one white hand in front of him

So, once Explorer 3 understood why Explorer 4 had kept quiet for two minutes, he could easily deduce he was wearing a black hat, simply because he could see Explorer 2 with a white one!

Problem solved!

What caused me to suddenly remember this puzzle? Well, it's a simple enough story, easy to share. The wife and I were on a 4 day boat ride down the Patagonian coastline. Winds were strong, and it was really cold.

She was walking on the top deck when she suddenly realised that she did not have her buff on. After losing her underwear to horrible panty-thieves, she was desperately hoping that she did not lose another article of clothing.

She announced to me, "I'm going to retrace my steps. See if I can find my buff anywhere."

Then she turned around, and lo and behold! The buff was actually tied to the strap of her (actually Roy's) camera bag. The buff was actually pressing against her back, but she didn't feel a thing beneath the layer jackets she had on.

Grinning, I said I would accompany her, because I wanted to see her expression when she finally finds her buff. She looked at me suspiciously.

"Did you take it?"
"No.. nonono... why would I take it?"

I followed her as she retraced her steps, grinning (and not bothering to hide it) all the way. She looked at me suspiciously again, and started checking her neck area, where she normally wears the buff.

"Why are you grinning like that? Am I wearing it?"

Now, I cannot lie to my wife. Because our relationship is based on trust, and I would never want to betray that trust. But telling her 'yes' would spoil my fun. So my grin could only get wider and I could only shrug in a helpless gesture.

Climbed down 2 flights of stairs. Finally reached our cabin. She still had not found it.

"Where did you put it, baby?"
"It was with my camera bag." She indicated an unused bunk bed in our cabin.
"And where is your camera bag now?"
"Arrrrggghhhhh!!!!" She finally swung the bag around and saw it tied to the strap. "I KNEW IT!!! I knew there was something you were not telling me!!!"

Yup. Sometimes, silence can tell you many things. You just have to interpret it correctly!


Tracy Su said...

Gaaah! I didn't spend much time on your puzzle, but these things are so bleeding obvious when the reasonings all there!


Dannie said...

Tracy: Haha... yeah. Most people just miss out that last step in the reasoning and get stumped. Did I mention that I figured it out myself, though? :p

heartache said...

omg! after looking thru your explanations, it took a while for me to f-i-n-a-l-l-y "gets" the answer (though not totally convinced) hahahahaha...... ok ok, I am being too straight simply cant think "side-ways"

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