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 [quote="Yesterday's Child"]Okay, I'll admit that this took me ages and give myself a little private pat on the back for sticking with it. Does anyone have a good methodology for approaching a problem like this? I have a feeling that one of the reasons it took me so long was that I tackled it in a really free-form way - lots of scibbled notes and whatnot. I remember doing puzzles like this in grade school and our teacher showed us a kind of chart to build and I remember that it worked really well. Is it a whole bunch of little charts for pairs of variables, or is it one big chart with everything on it. I'd love a little advice. Also, anyone know where I can find tonnes of these puzzles to play around with?[/quote]
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papercut*
Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: 1

I'm glad a couple people caught on to the point of this puzzle. I saw the writer's (or minotaur's, whatever) solution and was afraid that everyone here would be mislead.

First things first:

A. In most circumstances of a puzzle like this, (that's not written by Einstein) the best way to solve it is a chart. Hands down. It just makes everything easier.

B. Again, were it not writ by Einstein, yes, the German has the fish.

C. It was written by Einstein. Societies have this atrocious habit of warping everything that anyone intelligent says or does, and this is a minor case of that. I don't know Einstein's original words in the challenge, but the tobacco brands and surely some of the other random names have been changed over time. Einstein did in fact write it, he did say less than 2% of people could solve it, and he was probably right.

D. We don't know who has the fish. That's the whole point.

Einstein spent the brunt of his life trying to show that (beware of pun) science was all relative. His absolute greatest work was a description of gravity, defying all known science, that turned out to be completely true... in a fictional universe. Other scientists always based their science off of what humans perceive, what we know, what effects us. So Newton's description of gravity is true, because we know it is; we feel it, it makes sense. It's obvious. We think it's obvious that someone has the fish: there's five people, four pets accounted for, and we're asked who has the fifth animal. We think someone must have it. So we go to work and tediously figure it out (eventually), using the logic and reason we know. Like Newton. Einstein looked outside of human perception though. What would happen, gravity-wise, if matter traveled at the speed of light? (Which it never will.) What would happen in a situation of rediculous gravity and mass that no human will ever come across? If there are other universes, how do they effect gravity in ours?

Apart from the babbling, the point is, Einstein looked outside of the (Earthen) box (sphere?). He threw away basic reason and logic, and this puzzle goes after the same idea.

Just because you're asked for a fish doesn't mean there is one.
Eshers*
Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:03 am    Post subject: 0

Did it at half-past midnight for a bit of fun, and it took me around 20 minutes. It would have helped if I hadn't misread one of the hints. *doh!*

And Excel is the way forward I ended up with two charts. One with the positioning across the top:
1 2 3 4 5
(colour)
(nationality)
(drink) etc.

and the other organised sideways, but slightly differently. I just filled in the grid so that all spaces were used. Then moved them around accordingly. This helped, as I could show that the German smoked Prince, without having to know where (which house) he was. From that elimination process, it became a lot easier (I only started doing that after 15 mins, then it was easy sailing)
/dev/joe*
Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:48 pm    Post subject: -1

The standard logic puzzle chart is built as follows:

Code:

Variable 1  Variable N  Variable N-1  ...   Variable 3
V  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@               @@@@
a  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@               @@@@
r  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@               @@@@
2  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@               @@@@

V  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@
a  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@
r  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@
3  @@@@          @@@@          @@@@

V  @@@@          @@@@
a  @@@@          @@@@
r  @@@@          @@@@
4  @@@@          @@@@

.
.
.

V  @@@@
a  @@@@
r  @@@@
N  @@@@

For N variables, you will have the triangle above/including the diagonal of an (N-1)x(N-1) square, each cell of which is an elimination grid on one pair of variables. The arrangement of the variables ensures that all the combinations appear once in the grid.

For standard puzzles, where there are K fixed values for each variable, this type of grid works quite well, once you learn to use it. This puzzle has 6 variables (house numbers, colors, nationalities, pets, drinks, and cigarette brands) and 5 values for each.

Some solving tips:
1. Fill in two distinctive symbols to indicate values which do or do not go together (match and non-match).

2. Watch for eliminations (where all but one value has been eliminated in a row or column of one of the sub-grids, forcing the last value to be a match). Conversely, where you are told something goes with something else, you know each of those somethings do not go with any of the other things of those types.

3. Where you have matches, be sure to transfer information from one to the other (for instance, if you know the Englishman smokes Dunhill, and the Englishman does not live in a red house, and the Dunhill smoker does not own a cat, then you know the Dunhill smoker does not live in a red house and the Englishman does not own a cat). A shortcut for doing this is to compare the whole rows/columns for the two values. See below, where F=N, and you can match the F and N vs. ABCD rows, and the F vs. IJKL row with the N vs. IJKL column.

Code:

ABCD MNOP IJKL
E@@@@ @@@@ @@@@
F---- @+@@ ----
G@@@@ @@@@ @@@@
H@@@@ @@@@ @@@@

I@@@@ @|@@
J@@@@ @|@@
K@@@@ @|@@
L@@@@ @|@@

M@@@@
N----
O@@@@
P@@@@

4. When you build your grid, be sure that you write the variable values in the same order across and down for all those variables which are split among rows and columns, so that the method in (3) works.

5. When some of the variable values are times, dates, physical positions, or numbers, you usually have clues that one thing comes before, left of, or has a smaller numerical value than another thing. In these clues, at first you will only know that one of the things is not the last, right-most, or largest of the items of its type, and that the other is not the first, left-most, or smallest. If the two values compared are from different variables, you can also infer that they don't match.

6. Some puzzles are not completely standard. There are many ways this can occur. You might have one variable with twice as many values, and 2 values go to each thing. Or you might have some numerical values that are not given and you have to figure it out as you go along. As long as the bulk of the variables are standard, it is usually best to make the standard grid, modified as necessary to fit in the odd variables, and try to put the odd variables in the unbroken row and column so that there is a single place to write notes about these variables or a single deviation in the grid, etc.

I don't know any particular online source for lots of these, but you can find magazines full of the puzzles at supermarket magazine racks. Also see this gargantuan example of a standard puzzle of this sort.
Yesterday's Child
Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:04 pm    Post subject: -2

Okay, I'll admit that this took me ages and give myself a little private pat on the back for sticking with it.

Does anyone have a good methodology for approaching a problem like this? I have a feeling that one of the reasons it took me so long was that I tackled it in a really free-form way - lots of scibbled notes and whatnot. I remember doing puzzles like this in grade school and our teacher showed us a kind of chart to build and I remember that it worked really well. Is it a whole bunch of little charts for pairs of variables, or is it one big chart with everything on it.

Also, anyone know where I can find tonnes of these puzzles to play around with?
HyToFry
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 9:00 pm    Post subject: -3

w00t! Celebrate good times! Come on!
Mackay
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 8:12 pm    Post subject: -4

yay! *throws virgin rats*
Dragon Phoenix
Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 8:09 pm    Post subject: -5

Quote:
Sure,I have the same solution. Can't believe that Einstein is the father, though. BUT: what if the houses are forming a nice circle (well, pentagon) instead of the obvious straight line??

That was my post #1 in the GL. This one is #10,000.
CrystyB
Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 4:57 am    Post subject: -6

those are good times for the age you're at. But to really make it noteworthy, why don't you post in here your whole line of reasoning?
Phil
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 10:02 pm    Post subject: -7

i did this in 15 minutes and im only 16 years old. is that good? because i dont know what is a good time for this puzzle.
majo
Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2003 10:57 pm    Post subject: -8

guys, the puzzle was originally written in german AND with different brands of cigarettes!!! and those cigarettes existed even before 1900!!!
azu
Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2003 6:08 am    Post subject: -9

actually originally the problem didnt have the ninth clue i.e. the norwegian lives in the first house.The problem is still pretty easy but the solution is a bit more interesting from a logical sense.
Ghost Post
Posted: Mon May 28, 2001 1:11 am    Post subject: -10

I thought this puzzle was very easy. I did it within 30 minutes. Being at the age of 12 i consider that good. You have to find things that go with each outher then put them together.

------------------
Justin St.Clair
Ghost Post
Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2000 7:24 pm    Post subject: -11

i started off using a 25 by 25 grid then i realized that this problem wasnt that hard and i thought it through and came up with the german
Ghost Post
Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2000 2:44 pm    Post subject: -12

Sorry i never read 31 replies.Only a few
Dragon Phoenix
Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2000 3:32 am    Post subject: -13

All of us? According to your line of thinking, Dave10000 is right...... (see one of the earlier replies in this thread).
Ghost Post
Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2000 2:30 am    Post subject: -14

I think all of you are wrong. First of all they don't give ANY information on a fish right? So at the end they said "WHO HAS FISH"
How would you know. The last person could have a turtle. So the answer is "you dont have enough information to know." If they had listed the animals at the begining it would be correct. But since nothing described a fish the German could have had a turtle or any other animal.
AEK1234
Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2000 11:18 pm    Post subject: -15

This puzzle is really easy if you don't start analyzing it so much. I liked it a lot, because it was something I could solve and I like logic puzzles. The houses in th answer were arranged in a straight line, but I solved it with the houses arranged like so:

House 1 House 2
House 5
House 3 House 4
So it is possible as long as you pick a center house.
Dragon Phoenix
Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2000 8:52 am    Post subject: -16

"The green house is on the left of the white house". This is indeed not only ambiguous, but ambibiguous. Yes, we are apparently supposed to assume it is left and adjacent, but we are also to assume it is left as we are looking to the house form the outside. If you asked the occupant of the white house, he would say that the green house is on the right side..... right?
Ghost Post
Posted: Tue Feb 22, 2000 2:36 pm    Post subject: -17

two reasons that einstein couldnt have written this:
At least one of the brands of ciggarettes was not around in the 19th century, and
surely he would have known that more than %20 of people can solve it, seeing as there are five choices to pick of the puzzle, and the puzzle is really just 'Who owns fish?'
Ghost Post
Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2000 3:14 pm    Post subject: -18

I think that the best way to solve this problem is to use a chart with 25 lines (5 for countries, 5 for drinks, 5 for cigarettes, 5 for pets and 5 for color...) and 25 columns (5 for house position, 5 for color, 5 for pets, 5 for cigarettes and 5 for drinks) ... So by that way , you've got 15 big squares 5x5 .. (in french, it's called "logigramme")... the other 10 squares are not used (because no square necessary for color in X corresponding to color in Y,for pets in X corresponding to pets in Y ... )
After that, you just have to read the hints and put a "yes" or a "no" in each little square ...
By that way, the puzzle is solved in 5-10 minutes without trial and error method...

[This message has been edited by DGA (edited 02-20-2000).]
ali yuksel
Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2000 11:37 am    Post subject: -19

the german has the fish
also i did this by reducing the number of choices that the swedish has and then the rest was just putting the things in

is there any other mathematical method to solve this without trial nad error method??

Wonko the Sane
Posted: Sat Feb 19, 2000 6:38 pm    Post subject: -20

The puzzles aren't sorted by difficulty. They're sorted by popularity. The people that visit here vote for a puzzle based on how much they like it and then they get automatically catagorized and posted like that. At least that's how I understand it to work.
Aaron
Posted: Sat Feb 19, 2000 3:00 pm    Post subject: -21

Hi all,

This is my first posting, and first time looking at this site. nice puzzles! I just solved the einstein puzzle in about 5 mins, and also wonder why it was considered so difficult in the introduction. There are a LOT of other puzzles in the archives which have lower ratings which are much more difficult as they require a laterial approach rather than pure logic. I was wondering who it is who decides the difficulty of your puzzles?
Oh well, keep them coming, I'll be back to visit lots more times from now on.

Cya,
Aaron.
Wonko the Sane
Posted: Sat Feb 19, 2000 12:42 am    Post subject: -22

I just used a chart...solved it in about 15 minutes...almost all of that time was spent mulling over whether to put the green house directly to the left of the white. If I hadn't done that it probably would have only taken 5 to 10 mins.
CrystyB
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2000 4:18 pm    Post subject: -23

5 minutes? WOW! You outdid me... Congratulations!

Here's what i posted to some other question very similar to this (I HOPE it had the exact same hints):
">Einstein Quiz.
I did it in 22 mins. But what helped me were 25 tiny bits of paper, each with the nationality or color-of-house or beverage or pet or cigar-brand on it AND one hypothesis:
that >4 - The green house is on the left of the white house
means that the green house is DIRECTLY "on the left" of the white house.
If 4 would mean GENERALLY "on the left" of the white house, we could have this arrangement:

code:
-bird- --cat- -dog- -horse --fish-
PallM. Prince Blend BlueM. Dunhill
-green -blue- white --red- -yellow
-Norw- -Germ- -Swe- -Brit- --Dane-
coffee -water -milk -beer- --tea--

(found it in 8 more minutes) or

code:
-bird- ****** -dog- ******* -horse
PallM. Prince Blend Dunhill BlueM.
-green -blue- white -yellow --red-
-Norw- -Germ- -Swe- --Dane- -Brit-
coffee -water -milk --tea-- -beer-

(7 or less) or

code:
-bird- ****** horse ******* --dog-
PallM. Prince Blend Dunhill BlueM.
-green -blue- -red- -yellow -white
-Norw- -Germ- -Brit --Dane- --Swe-
coffee -water -milk --tea-- -beer-

(9 or less) or

code:
-fish- --cat- --dog-- -horse -bird-
-Blend Prince Dunhill BlueM. PallM.
-green -blue- -yellow --red- -white
-Norw- -Germ- --Swe-- -Brit- -Dane-
coffee -water --milk- -beer- --tea-

(4 more minutes - that makes an hour 'wasted' on this problem!)
Note: those '*'s can be replaced by either 'cat' or 'fish'.

>Who has fish for pets?
"ascii(52)ascii(116)ascii(104)", "ascii(80)ascii(114)ascii(105)ascii(110)ascii(99)ascii(101)", "ascii(103)...", "ascii(71)..." or "ascii(99)..."? (solved in the first 22 minutes)
I made that in an editor with the possibility to view the current character's code, I DO NOT have such a long memory as to remember all the codes."

Guess it shows i use backtracking a lot, huh?

[This message has been edited by CrystyB (edited 03-20-2003 08:58 AM).]
Dragon Phoenix
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2000 8:37 am    Post subject: -24

Hank wrote : "By the way, I went ahead and solved this puzzle making the assumptions that everyone seems to have accepted. I used to go on logic problem binges prior to my discovery of the grey labyrinth, and so I can only say that this problem although slightly tedious due to the number of variables involved is straight forward and therefore easy. "
I solved a variation of this puzzle about half a year ago, challenged by one of my staff. The wording may have been slightly different, which may explain my earlier posting on the circle. My mistake, I should have read the exact wording this time. Anyway, I solved it in 5 min and would agree it was quite straightforward, but only 2 of my 15 staff solved it after many attempts. I am not quite sure what conclusion to draw from that though.....
Wonko the Sane
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2000 7:49 pm    Post subject: -25

And all religious connotations aside, it doesn't matter. The 21st century doesn't start until next year. Has nothing to do with whatever religion anyone may be. The media may deem that this is the 21st century, but it isn't. This is still this 20th for another 10 or so months.
Ghost Post
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2000 8:11 am    Post subject: -26

Wonko ... I agree with you ..
Hank ... We are still in the 20th century .. I know lot of historians are thinking Christ is born a few years before his presumed date of birth but ... anyway ... that's another problem ...

[This message has been edited by DGA (edited 02-17-2000).]
hank
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2000 5:41 am    Post subject: -27

Actually Amy, I think you were onto something here before I unintentionally steered you off course with my previous post. In the introduction of the puzzle, the minotaur refers to previous references (obviously recorded in the 20th century which is still very recent) that claim Einstein devised this puzzle in the previous century which at that time would be the 19th century. So far I don't think anyone would dispute this.

However the Minotaur poses his question during the 21st century ( I realize this is a moot point) and now the last century must refer to the 20th century. The Minotaur's question only asks if it is"possible" that Einstein authored this puzzle in the last century. Not being American, I don't know if all cigarette brands were around prior to 1955 but I assume they were and so the answer to part 2 is yes.
Wonko the Sane
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2000 12:30 am    Post subject: -28

Just responding to a couple of posts here.

All of the pet owners seem to own more than one of their type of fish. In this case, it is much more grammatically plausible to say simply fish instead of the fish, as the fish usually represents a singular/specific case of the word fish.
More things...the reason the puzzle you solved was different is because the use of cigarettes is not considered PC, so that was probably changed. I wouldn't be surprised if a few nationalities and pets got changed for whatever reasons. Probably copyright reasons or something. Anyway, just tossing that out.
One more thing, Dave1000, what is the point of a logic puzzle with no solution? There are two requirements for a logic puzzle. It must have a logical assumption and a logical answer. The logical assumption is that someone owns fish. Without that, it isn't even a puzzle. It's just a pathetic trick question, and in case you haven't noticed, Minotaur doesn't post pathetic trick questions much (I think Let There Be Light was the only one, and he said ahead of time that it had no solution, as I remember). All necessary information to solve the problem is contained within. That's stated in one of the first problems. I know some people might get off on trying to devalue puzzles, but it's really pointless. That's it for me. I'm open to flames...uhhh...cross-x....or whatever it is that happens here.
Sofis
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 11:37 pm    Post subject: -29

Possibly he wrote something similar, but using some other thing in the place of cigarette brands. I recall solving a puzzle very much like this one, only the answer to that one was "the Japanese keeps zebras".
Amy
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 9:57 pm    Post subject: -30

You're right--he did say "19th century" at the beginning of the puzzle. So the answer to that question is clearly no, given the 1939 date for the introduction of Pall Malls cigarettes.
hank
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 8:44 pm    Post subject: -31

I believe the Minotaur did specify the 19th century. By the way, I went ahead and solved this puzzle making the assumptions that everyone seems to have accepted. I used to go on logic problem binges prior to my discovery of the grey labyrinth, and so I can only say that this problem although slightly tedious due to the number of variables involved is straight forward and therefore easy. Logic problems are often rated by difficulty. Out of 5 stars, this is a 3 star problem. I can't understand why the Minotaur would call it difficult. If I ever have the time, I am going to solve this problem assumingthe first house is on the far right.
Amy
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 8:22 pm    Post subject: -32

I really hope that the question about whether Einstein could have written this puzzle "in the last century" doesn't hinge on the nitpicky point of whether the year 2000 is really the last year of the 20th century or the first year of the 21st, because it's completely arbitrary what we choose to define as the dividing line between centuries. I suspect that is exactly what the Minotaur has in mind, though, because otherwise he would have said "in the twentieth century" rather than "in the last century."
respo22
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 4:40 pm    Post subject: -33

if this message appear twice please forgive me, but I posted it before and I havent seen it yet. Since this is my first post I dont know how long it usually takes.

Here is a thought I had. The way the question is phrased, "WHO OWNS FISH?", makes me thing that FISH is the name of a pet (otherwise it should have said who owns the fish?). Im not an expert in language so if 'the fish' is incorrect English, then I am completely wrong and apologize.
I'm sure this isnt the case but I wanted to put my two cents in. Without coming up with these little side theories, the puzzle is kind of easy.
respo22
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 4:14 pm    Post subject: -34

One more point to ponder. The question is phrased " WHO OWNS FISH?". Not THE fish. Maybe FISH is the pets name. Its a cruel/funny trick but what if Einstein had a dog named Fish and he was using that to "fool" the reader. Just a thought I had.

Maybe we are looking into this puzzle too much, but otherwise it seems awfully easy.
Ghost Post
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 1:32 pm    Post subject: -35

the only conclusion about hint #4 is that white house can't be the first one (on the left) ... no conclusion about green house position (except not the fifth) ...
But by examining other hints, the only position for green house is the first one on the left of the white house .. not another position .. so it's not necessary to worry about that ...

[This message has been edited by DGA (edited 02-16-2000).]
Ghost Post
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 6:32 am    Post subject: -36

Yeah, pretty good points ppl. I tried to do it so the white house is the left of the green house (in the green house's POV), but it didn't work out, so I still stick with my answer.

And why would Einstein waste his time with making this up? He would have used his time to thing of how time is passing as time passes...or something like that.
Wonko the Sane
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2000 2:24 am    Post subject: -37

I agree with all of the other answers. The problem with this puzzle is that the wording at two critical points is vague. Without clarification there are two possible solutions, as someone pointed out earlier. The first assumption that you must make is that the first out is on the left. We don't know this for sure, it just says "the first house". In Hebrew, that would mess everyone up. Second, it says that the green house is left of the white house, but not directly to its left. Stumped me for several minutes before I decided just to assume that the green house was directly to the left of the white one and I was able to solve this. Perhaps the Minotaur, in his infinite wisdom could edit this for the final posting, no matter what the original wording was.

Who else thinks that after you made those two assumption though, this puzzle was still pretty easy? Just asking, because I don't think this is nearly as hard as advertised.

[This message has been edited by Wonko the Sane (edited 02-15-2000).]
hank
Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2000 8:28 am    Post subject: -38

I can't seem to solve this one. I could be hung up on the idea that the first house of the Norwegian, could be the furthest to the right as well as the furthest to the left. After all, house numbering on a street goes up in the same direction regardless of which side of the street you are looking at.