Sunday, August 9, 2009

NPR Puzzle -- 08/09/09 Trick Question: They All Drink Tea

This week's puzzle is from the Aristotle's Diner series (and with the prevalence of diners run by Greek families in the Northeast, there is surely a diner with that name somewhere -- in fact, there seems to be one at 350 Park Avenue South in Manhattan):

A waitress walks up to a breakfast table with five logicians and asks, "Does everyone here want coffee?"

The first logician says, "I don't know."

The second logician says, "I don't know."

The third logician says, "I don't know."

The fourth logician says, "I don't know."

And the fifth logician says, "No."

Who did the waitress bring coffee to — and why?

The only possible right answer to "Why?" is that the waitress has been studying for the logic portion of the LSATs, because in any other scenario, she'd have stood there glaring at the jokers until someone coughed up a sensible answer.

Here's a sample question from the LSAT test so you can see why studying for it would put you in the right frame of mind:

An amusement park roller coaster includes five cars, numbered 1 through 5 from front to back. Each car accommodates up to two riders, seated side by side. Six people—Tom, Gwen, Laurie, Mark, Paul and Jack—are riding the coaster at the same time.

  • Laurie is sharing a car.
  • Mark is not sharing a car and is seated immediately behind an empty car.
  • Tom is not sharing a car with either Gwen or Paul.
  • Gwen is riding in either the third or fourth car.
Which of the following groups of riders could occupy the second car?
(A) Laurie only
(B) Tom and Gwen
(C) Laurie and Mark
(D) Jack and Tom
(E) Jack, Gwen, and Paul
See what I mean? (The solution to the above question is left as an exercise for the reader, but if you want more, go here.)

Ross and I have solved the Aristotle's Diner problem, and here was a teeny tiny "marital moment" as we uh, discussed it. He was right and I was wrong. I would like the record to reflect that fact. (There's no hint in that, by the way. I'm just saying I was wrong. Because I was wrong.)

Okay, so that takes care of the weekly puzzle. Now for the value-added puzzle. Will used analogies involving wordplay. They were harder than average, as Will pointed out. I will try to create new ones, which frankly isn't a lot easier than solving them.

1. Hibiscus is to bird as benevolent is to _________

2. Drain is to Serbia as rail is to _____________

3. Ride is to sin as had is to _____________

Alt. 3. Ride is to sin as race is to _____________

4. Family is to Peru as Victoria Cross is to ____________

Dudes, I would do more, but it's hard. Hopefully you didn't all solve these in 30 seconds, because believe me, it took a lot longer to come up with them!


henry.blancowhite said...

Actually, she brought tea for Ross, who always drinks tea, coffee for Henry and the two real logicians, who always drink coffee, and tea for Magdalen (who spoke fifth, thus revealing which she is drinking today).

Not a good day for me: it was raining so hard I could not fry pancakes and listen to the radio at the same time, because I could only get a signal if I was in the same half of the kitchen as the radio, and that's not the half with the stove. Also, with today's puzzles where I did not know what to look for, I could not think fast enough to solve them in the time allowed. They would have been more fun at a slower pace.

Roxie said...

Henry: I tanked the on-air puzzle as well, not even due to meteorological conditions, simply due to lack of coffee at the time and the haste of the puzzle (I am guessing the big W. S. wanted to get back to the toys in the room) :-)

Magdalen: Dan and I also had a classic husband - wife moment in which we, well, discussed the puzzle and came up with the (presumably) right answer (we agreed to share credit for that one, since Dan had the hunch but I spelt it out). Before that I only had a bunch of smart-alecky come backs from the waitress for her peculiar clientele. (boo, blogger doesn't do symbols, at least not on my computer, or I would have written out an answer in predicate logic)

Roxie said...

Kudos for the value added puzzle! I just took the time to look at it... However, I have 3 answers to #3 (all fitting the same category), and 2 answers to #4.... I also have a political objection to #2 :-)

Magdalen said...

Roxie -- Yeah, yeah, EU and all that. Get over it! :-)

Henry complained to me privately about #3, so I'm going to edit it.

Roxie said...

Magdalen: Actually Dan came up with a Mid Eastern answer to #2 that has no controversy :-)