A Puzzle by A.A. Milne

pooh

“TERALBAY is not a word which one uses much in ordinary life. Rearrange the letters however and it becomes such a word….Lord Melbourne had given this word to Queen Victoria once, and it had kept her awake the whole night. After this, one could not be so disloyal as to solve it at once. For two hours or so, therefore, I merely toyed with it. Whenever I seemed to be getting warm I hurriedly thought of something else. This quixotic loyalty has been the undoing of me; my chances of a solution have slipped by, and I am beginning to fear that they will never return. While this is the case, the only word I can write about is TERALBAY”.

Can you work out the answer to this puzzle that perturbed Winnie-the-Pooh author A.A. Milne so much?

Scroll down for a clue and further down for the answer.

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Clue: The first letter of the answer is a ‘B’.

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Answer: BETRAYAL.

 

Three Riddles

question

1. People buy me to eat but they never eat me. What am I?

2. What weighs a lot but isn’t very heavy?

3. I can be played, made and cracked. What am I?

Scroll down for clues and further down for the answers.

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Clues:

1. People buy this item to achieve the process of eating.

2. This item weighs ‘a lot’ with a different meaning of ‘a lot’.

3. This isn’t a physical substance. Played, made and cracked refer to sayings with this word.

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Answers:

1. Cutlery and tableware.

2. A scale.

3. A joke.

A Puzzle by Lewis Carroll

soldier

There is a group of soldiers in which 70% have lost an eye, 75% have lost an ear, 80% have lost an arm and 85% have lost a leg. At least, what percentage have lost all four?

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Clue: Add the percentages together and assume that every soldier has lost 3 parts.

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Answer: 10%

When the percentages are added together, 70 + 75 + 80 + 85, the total is 310. This would make 310 losses from the 100 soldiers. Let us attribute the maximum of 3 losses for all 100 people to make the least number having 4 losses as 10 people. Thus the answer is 10%.

Moving Furniture

cabinet image

The Smith family stayed in an apartment at a sea resort. The apartment consisted of 6 rooms on the same floor, as seen in the image above. Mr Smith demanded that the piano and bookcase switch rooms. The rooms were tiny and the pieces of furniture were large meaning that no two furniture items could be in the one room at the same time. What is the least number of moves required to move the piano into room 6 and the bookcase into room 3? It doesn’t matter if the other items of furniture end up in different rooms to where they started.

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Clue: The first 3 moves are: piano, bookcase, wardrobe.

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Answer: 17 moves.

Each item named moves into the room that is empty at the time:

Piano, bookcase, wardrobe, piano, cabinet, drawers, piano, wardrobe, bookcase, cabinet, wardrobe, piano, drawers, wardrobe, cabinet, bookcase and piano.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Coins

gold coin

A person places three coins in front of you: a gold coin, a silver coin and a bronze coin. The person says, “If you tell me a true statement, you will be given one of the coins. If your statement proves to be false, you will be given nothing”. What should you say to be guaranteed to be given the gold coin?

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Clue: You can say “You will not give me the x and y coins”.

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Answer: You say, “You will not give me the bronze or silver coin”.

If this statement is true, you will be given the gold coin as the person told you, “If you tell me a true statement, you will be given one of the coins”.

The person also said, “If your statement proves to be false, you will be given nothing” so this scenario cannot occur.

Anguish Languish

canoe

Ice peak the anguish languish, canoe? Hit snot so hot ones sue cat the fang oaf fit. The hand sir hue shriek hiss the while yam sheik’s pear store he a butt tool overs huff diver rent fame lies shoe hey tea chugger.

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Clue: Read the words out aloud.

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Answer: Romeo and Juliet.

The words in the question read:

I speak the English language, can you? It’s not so hard once you get the hang of it. The answer you seek is the William Shakespeare story about two lovers of different families who hate each other.”

The Anguish languish was created by Howard L. Chase around 1940. It consists of humorous homophonic transformation. For example:

‘Ladle Rat Rotten Hut’ means ‘Little Red Riding hood’.

‘Mural: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers’ equates to ‘Moral: Under no circumstances should little girls stop to talk with strangers’.

A Biased Coin

Hand flipping a euro coin in slow motion

Rebecca wants to toss a coin in order to make a random decision. She only has one coin that is biased. This coin doesn’t have a 50-50 chance of landing with heads or tails on top. Rebecca doesn’t know the extent of the coin’s bias. By just tossing the coin, how can Rebecca make a 50-50 random decision?

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Clue: Rebecca needs to toss the coin twice.

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Answer: Rebecca has to toss the coin twice and assign a ‘yes’ to TH and a ‘no’ to HT. If she tosses TT or HH then she ignores the coin tosses and she waits until she gets either a TH or a HT. By using this technique, Rebecca has created a 50% chance that TH will be tossed and a 50% chance that HT will be tossed, regardless of the bias of the coin (as long as it isn’t 100% biased).

Four of a Kind

deck

You have a full deck of 52 playing cards (minus the jokers).

  1. What is the minimum number of cards you need to draw from the deck blindfolded to be sure that you have a four of a kind?
  2. Can you create a formula to find a solution for decks that have a different number than 4 suits and a different number than 13 values?

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Clue: It’s possible to pick 3 of a kind for all 13 values.

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Answers:

  1. 40
  2. The formula is V x (S-1) + 1.

Let V= the number of values (eg in a standard deck there are 13 values). Let S= the number of suits (eg in a standard deck there are 4 suits).

 

A Series of Dead Trees

dead tree

Today I used a dead tree to deposit on another dead tree which was situated on another dead tree. Every time I made a mistake, I used something that paid for my mistake with part of its existence. What was I doing?

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Clue: What items are made from wood?

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Answer: I was writing with a pencil onto a piece of paper which was on a table. Each of these items was made by a dead tree. When I made a mistake, I used an eraser. The eraser “paid for my mistake with part of its existence.”

Two Heads are Better than One

coins

I will flip two coins and won’t let you see the outcome. I tell you that at least one of the coins is showing heads. What is the probability that the other coin is also showing heads?

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Clue: Write out the possible outcomes for the first and second coin.

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Answer: There is a 1/3 chance that the other coin is also showing heads.

There are three possible scenarios:

T H

H T

H H

If I show you one of the coins (heads) in the first or second scenario, then the other coin will be tails. If I show you one of the coins in the third scenario, then the other coin will be heads. This makes it a 1/3rd chance that the other coin will be heads.