I love logic puzzles, and was drawn by the title saying this was a hard one. Usually Nautilus is well-written, but their version of this puzzle isn't as good (in my opinion) as the original, blogged about by Presh Talwalkar.

The Nautilus version of the puzzle
says to imagine your brightest friend. I imagined a friend I know likes
logic puzzles (Sharon), but since I wanted a different initial than
mine for notation purposes, I imagined another smart friend who

The answer I got is different than the answer the author got because we made different assumptions. Mine were based on his wording, his were based on Presh's wording.*might*like logic puzzles (Linda). And I began scribbling away with S's (for Sue) and L's.**Puzzle #1**(with Sue's interpretation):

To you, he gestures toward a barred window. Through it, you can see 12 statues. Out of your friend’s window, which overlooks the opposite side of the graveyard, she can see eight. Neither of you know the other’s count.The caretaker tells you each, individually, that together you can see either 18 or 20 statues. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell your friend how many you can spot.

The only way for you both to escape is for one of you to give the total number of visible statues. Get it wrong, and neither of you ever leave. The caretaker asks you each once a day [Sue assumed neither person knew who was asked first], and you can choose to answer or to pass. If you both pass on a given day, the question—are there 18 or 20?—is posed to each of you again the next day, and the next, and so on, until you get it right or wrong.

**Puzzle #2**is at Presh's blog. (No way to copy-paste that one.) It's now Alice and Bob, and they know that Alice gets asked first, so they'd both be released before Bob is asked if she has it right.

It seems that they have edited the Nautilus post.

ReplyDelete* This post was edited to clarify that the question is not posed simultaneously, and that both prisoners know who’s asked first.Thanks for letting me know they fixed it. I am still hoping someone will take me up on my alternate version of the puzzle.

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