The right color

It was execution day in the kingdom of Ferristy. But also, by coincidence, it was a national holiday. Thus it was that the king decided to spare the life of one condemned man. He took three men who were to be killed and placed them in a circle facing each other. Then he blindfolded them. Next, he placed a daub of blue paint on the forehead of each. Finally, he said, “On the forehead of each of you I have placed a spot of either blue or yellow paint. At least one of the spots will be blue. I am now going to remove your blindfolds and let you look at the paint on each other’s foreheads. The first man to tell me what color I have placed on him will be freed. But it will not be advisable to guess. If you guess wrong I will have you tortured before you are killed.” He then removed the blindfolds. The prisoners looked at each other’s heads, and one cried, “My color is blue!” Can you tell what chain of logic he used to be fairly certain he had gotten the right color?

Click here for the solution

Lets call the man A. He reasoned that if his color were yellow, B would have promptly figured that his was blue. For if As had been yellow, B would know that C would rapidly call out, My color is blue! This is so because if C had seen yellow on both As and Bs heads, he would immediately know his was blue.

more riddles

How many kids?

Sometimes it helps to be bigger--especially when you're only four or five years old. The children were making candy apples for the Halloween party, eating as they worked. The bigger kids managed to gobble up seven apples apiece (and got stomachaches for their pains),...

read more

What are the people taking?

A steady stream of people enter Mike’s place of business and remove its treasured belongings. The people do not pay for what they take. Mike allows them to take as much as they can carry as long as they keep their mouths shut. What are the people taking and which type...

read more

In how many minutes?

You have accidentally left out the plug and are attempting to fill the bath with both 2 taps full on. The hot tap takes 6 minutes to fill the bath, the cold tap takes 4 minutes, and the water empties through the plug hole in 12 minutes. In how many minutes will the...

read more

What was her solution?

This may be an old one, but many people seem not to have heard it. Samantha and Suzy were squabbling over a small cake. Their mother solved the question of which one should cut it, as well as the problem of how to make sure the pieces were even, in a very simple...

read more