What are the best brain teasers?

Answer by Achintya Paradkar:

Probably no the best but here are a few as a food for your intellect:

1) Two Egg Problem

This is asked in Google interview.

* You are given 2 eggs.
* You have access to a 100-storey building.
* Eggs can be very hard or very fragile means it may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from 100 th floor.Both eggs are identical.
* You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-storey building an egg can be dropped without breaking.
* Now the question is how many drops you need to make. You are allowed to break 2 eggs in the process

The question is: What strategy should you adopt to minimize the number egg drops it takes to find the solution?

There are no tricks, gotchas or other devious ruses. Don’t rat-hole with issues related to terminal velocity, potential energy or wind resistance. This is a math puzzle plain and simple.

2) Husbands and Wives

Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?

3) Rope Bridges

Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough light left for seventeen minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without a flashlight, and it's only strong enough to support two people at any given time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge in 1 minute, another in 2 minutes, the third in 5 minutes, and the slow poke takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes?

4) Switch and Bulbs

You have a set of 3 light switches outside a closed door. One of them controls the light inside the room. With the door closed from outside the room, you can turn the light switches on or off as many times as you would like.

You can go into the room – one time only – to see the light. You cannot see the whether the light is on or off from outside the room, nor can you change the light switches while inside the room.

No one else is in the room to help you. The room has no windows.

Based on the information above, how would you determine which of the three light switches controls the light inside the room?

5) Pirates and the 100 Gold Coins

5 pirates of different ages have a treasure of 100 gold coins.

On their ship, they decide to split the coins using this scheme:

The oldest pirate proposes how to share the coins, and ALL pirates (including the oldest) vote for or against it.

If 50% or more of the pirates vote for it, then the coins will be shared that way. Otherwise, the pirate proposing the scheme will be thrown overboard, and the process is repeated with the pirates that remain.

As pirates tend to be a bloodthirsty bunch, if a pirate would get the same number of coins if he voted for or against a proposal, he will vote against so that the pirate who proposed the plan will be thrown overboard.

Assuming that all 5 pirates are intelligent, rational, greedy, and do not wish to die, (and are rather good at math for pirates) what will happen?

6) Mislabeled Jars

This problem is also called Jelly Beans problem. You have three jars that are all mislabeled. one contains apples, another has grapes, and the third has a mix of both.

Now you are allowed to open any one jar and you can able to see one fruit. [ The jar you are open may contain one fruit or two fruit. but you could able to see only one fruit and you can't find weather the opened jar has one or two fruit].  How could you fix the labels on the jars ?

7) Heaven Puzzle

A person dies, and he arrives at the gate to heaven. There are three doors in the heaven. one of them leads to heaven. another one leads to a 1-day stay at hell, and then back to the gate, and the other leads to a 2-day stay at hell, and then back to the gate. every time the person is back at the gate, the three doors are reshuffled. How long will it take the person to reach heaven?

this is a probability question – i.e. it is solvable and has nothing to do with religion, being sneaky, or how au dente the pasta might be.

8) Queen Rules the Chess Board

Imagine there are infinite number of Queens (Chess Game Piece) with u. Find the minimum number of queens required so that every square grid on the chess board is under the attack of a queen. Arrange this minimum no. of Queens on a chess board.

9) The Devil's Game

A blind gnome and an evil goblin take turns to play a game. Four tumblers are placed at the corners of a square table. The initial configuration of the tumblers (facing up or facing down) is chosen by the evil goblin. When the blind gnome gets his turn, he is allowed to specify a subset of the four tumblers and flip them simultaneously. To be precise, he may choose “one tumbler”, “two diagonally opposites”, “two adjacent”, “three tumblers” or “four tumblers” lying in front of him, and flip them simultaneously. After flipping, if all four tumblers are upright, he wins the game! Otherwise, the game continues and the evil goblin is allowed to rotate the table by an amount of his choice. Can the blind gnome win the game with a deterministic strategy?

10) Four Ships

Four ships are sailing on a 2D planet in four different directions. Each ships traverses a straight line at constant speed. No two ships are traveling parallel to each other. Their journeys started at some time in the distant past. Sometimes, a pair of ships collides. A ship continues its journey even after a collision. However, it is strong enough only to survive two collisions; it dies when it collides a third time. The situation is grim. Five of six possible collisions have already taken place (no collision involved more than 2 ships) and two ships are out of commission. What fate awaits the remaining two?

11) Engineers and Managers

In a city, The police has surrounded the Bank. There are 50 people in the building. Each person is either an engineer or a manager of the bank. All computer files have been deleted, and all documents have been shredded by the managers. The problem confronting the police is to separate the people into these two classes, so that all the managers are locked in a room  and all the engineers are freed. every people knows the status of all others. The interrogation consists entirely of asking person i if person j is an engineer or a manager. The engineers always tell the truth. What makes it hard is that the managers may not tell the truth. In fact, the managers are evil geniuses who are conspiring to confuse the interrogators.

   1. Under the assumption that more than half of the people are engineers, can you find a strategy for the Police to find one engineer with at most 49 questions?
   2. Is this possible in any number of questions if half the people are managers?
   3. Once an engineer is found, he/she can classify everybody else. Is there a way to classify everybody in fewer questions?

12) Einstein's Puzzle

There are 5 houses in 5 different colours. In each house lives a person of a different nationality. The 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet. Using the clues below can you determine who owns the fish?

The Brit lives in a red house.
The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
The Dane drinks tea.
The green house is on the immediate left of the white house.
The green house owner drinks coffee.
The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
The man living in the house right in the middle drinks milk.
The Norwegian lives in the first house.
The man who smokes Blend lives next door to the one who keeps cats.
The man who keeps horses lives next door to the man who smokes Dunhill.
The owner who smokes Blue Master drinks chocolate.
The German smokes Prince.
The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
The man who smokes Blend has a neighbour who drinks water.

13) Prisoners and Warden

23 selected prisoners are summoned by the warden. He gives them a choice of playing a game with him that might ensure their escape from the prison or might as well lead them towards painful death. The prisoners think that this is the only chance for them to be free again and agrees to him.

The warden tell them that there is a room which has just two switches which are labelled 1 or 2. The switches may be up or down and the condition is not known at present. They are not connected to anything. The warden may select any prisoner on any day and send him to the switch room. The prisoner will have to select any one switch and reverse its position i.e. if it is up, he will turn it down and if it is down, he will turn it up. He can and must only flip one switch and then he will be confined to his cell again.

The warden may choose the same prisoner more than one time and he will be choosing completely randomly. But at a certain point of time, everyone will have visited the switch room. And at any time, the prisoners may declare that everyone has visited the room at least once. If they will be true, they will be set free but if they will be wrong, they will be killed.

The warden gives them an hour to plan any kind of strategy and then they will be confined to their respective cells and will never be allowed to meet. What strategy can help them be free?

14) Horse Race

You are provided with twenty five different horses and you must find out who are the fastest horses. You can conduct a race of five horses only at one time. There is no point in the race where you can find out the actual speed of a horse in a race.

How many races will it take to help you determine the fastest three horses?

15) Dragon and Knight

This is another one famous puzzle asked in many interview puzzle. This was asked in Trilogy interview.

Lets consider a dragon and knight live on an island. That island has seven poisoned wells, which is numbered 1 to 7. If you drink from a well, you can only save yourself by drinking from a higher numbered well. The Well whose is number 7 is located at the top of a high that mountain, so only the dragon can reach it.

One day they decide that the island isn't big enough for the two of them, and they have a duel. Each of them brings a glass of water to the duel, they exchange glasses, and drink. After the duel, the knight lives and the dragon dies.

Why did the knight live? Why did the dragon die?

16) Find the age?

Two old friends, Jack and Bill, meet after a long time.
Jack: Hey, how are you man?
Bill: Not bad, got married and I have three kids now.
Jack: That’s awesome. How old are they?
Bill: The product of their ages is 72 and the sum of their ages is the same as your birth date.
Jack: Cool… But I still don’t know.
Bill: Sorry, I need to pick my eldest kid from his school.
Jack: Oh now I get it.

17) King and then Old Wine

A bad king has a cellar of 1000 bottles of delightful and very expensive wine. A neighboring queen plots to kill the bad king and sends a servant to poison the wine. Fortunately (or say unfortunately) the bad king’s guards catch the servant after he has only poisoned one bottle. Alas, the guards don’t know which bottle but know that the poison is so strong that even if diluted 100,000 times it would still kill the king. Furthermore, it takes one month to have an effect. The bad king decides he will get some of the prisoners in his vast dungeons to drink the wine. Being a clever bad king he knows he needs to murder no more than 10 prisoners – believing he can fob off such a low death rate – and will still be able to drink the rest of the wine (999 bottles) at his anniversary party in 5 weeks time. Explain what is in mind of the king, how will he be able to do so ? (of course he has less then 1000 prisoners in his prisons)

18) Four Prisoner Problem

According to the story, four prisoners are arrested for a crime, but the jail is full and the jailer has nowhere to put them. He eventually comes up with the solution of giving them a puzzle so if they succeed they can go free but if they fail they are executed.

The jailer puts three of the men sitting in a line. The fourth man is put behind a screen (or in a separate room). He gives all four men party hats (as in diagram). The jailer explains that there are two red and two blue hats; that each prisoner is wearing one of the hats; and that each of the prisoners only see the hats in front of them but not on themselves or behind. The fourth man behind the screen can't see or be seen by any other prisoner. No communication between the prisoners is allowed.
If any prisoner can figure out and say to the jailer what color hat he has on his head all four prisoners go free. If any prisoner suggests an incorrect answer, all four prisoners are executed. The puzzle is to find how the prisoners can escape, regardless of how the jailer distributes the hats.

19) Airplane Puzzle

On Bagshot Island, there is an airport. The airport is the homebase of an unlimited number of identical airplanes. Each airplane has a fuel capacity to allow it to fly exactly 1/2 way around the world, along a great circle. The planes have the ability to refuel in flight without loss of speed or spillage of fuel. Though the fuel is unlimited, the island is the only source of fuel.
What is the fewest number of aircraft necessary to get one plane all the way around the world assuming that all of the aircraft must return safely to the airport? How did you get to your answer?
(a) Each airplane must depart and return to the same airport, and that is the only airport they can land and refuel on ground.
(b) Each airplane must have enough fuel to return to airport.
(c) The time and fuel consumption of refueling can be ignored. (so we can also assume that one airplane can refuel more than one airplanes in air at the same time.)
(d) The amount of fuel airplanes carrying can be zero as long as the other airplane is refueling these airplanes. What is the fewest number of airplanes and number of tanks of fuel needed to accomplish this work? (we only need airplane to go around the world)

20) Geometry Puzzle

Find the angle x?

And finally….

21) The Hardest Puzzle Ever!!!

Three gods A, B, and C are called, in no particular order, True, False, and Random. True always speaks truly, False always speaks falsely, but whether Random speaks truly or falsely is a completely random matter. Your task is to determine the identities of A, B, and C by asking three yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one god. The gods understand English, but will answer all questions in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are da and ja, in some order. You do not know which word means which.

P.S.: I haven't given the solutions for each as they are available online and it would make my answer TLTR. Please post the answer in comments with unique solutions….

Hope you enjoy them!

What are the best brain teasers?


Author: Annapurani Vaidyanathan

I hoard books for a living. And read them too, when I am not sleeping. I express what I think, so my unheard feelings don't sink. I like to sing when I walk, to keep shades grey, at bay. I speak like a dork, but I don't want to drive anyone away. I write what's real, and nothing fake, so visit my blog whenever you need a break ;)

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