Insanity: Impossible Question


A hundred prisoners are each locked in a room with three pirates, one of whom will walk the plank in the morning. Each prisoner has 10 bottles of wine, one of which has been poisoned; and each pirate has 12 coins, one of which is counterfeit and weighs either more or less than a genuine coin. In the room is a single switch, which the prisoner may either leave as it is, or flip. Before being led into the rooms, the prisoners are all made to wear either a red hat or a blue hat; they can see all the other prisoners' hats, but not their own.

Meanwhile, a six-digit prime number of monkeys multiply until their digits reverse, then all have to get across a river using a canoe that can hold at most two monkeys at a time. But half the monkeys always lie and the other half always tell the truth. Given that the Nth prisoner knows that one of the monkeys doesn't know that a pirate doesn't know the product of two numbers between 1 and 100 without knowing that the N+1th prisoner has flipped the switch in his room or not after having determined which bottle of wine was poisoned and what color his hat is, what is the solution to this puzzle?


In the morning, a prisoner asks one of the pirates in his cell, "what color is my hat?" The pirate will say "Get lost, ya fancy landlubber!", and push the prisoner out onto the plank instead of himself. The pirates will then drink the wine, and never stop complaining that all the rum is gone. One pirate will die from the poison, and one of the pirates will steal all the coins from the dead one.

When the undertaker comes to take the body, the two pirates will jump the undertaker, run past all the other prisoners wondering if they should flip their switches, and escape. The pirates will throw many monkeys debating politics out of a single canoe, and go to Tortuga, where they will spend all their money on rum and whores. At least one person will get ripped off.

This a great example of lateral thinking.

Posted by Ryan Rampersad.

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