#21 Jester Tester with Brooke Breit!
Listener Submitted Riddles
The Jester and the Princess fell in love and the King was not happy about it. The King decided to give the Jester a test. If the Jester passed, the King would give the couple his blessing. The Jester was led down a hallway in the castle to a bare room with a lamp in the middle of the floor. The lamp contained a single lightbulb, which was off. The Jester was allowed to look at the room for a few moments, and then he was led out again. The door to the room was closed and an angry looking guard was stationed in front of it. There was, of course, no way to see the lamp through the closed door. The King then led the Jester down the hall to a panel with three simple light switches – all in the off position. One of these switches turns on the lamp in that room. The other two switches do nothing. “If you can tell me which switch turns on the lamp, I will give my blessing to you and my daughter. You can play with the switches as long as you wish. You can also go back into the room with the lamp, but once you do you can no longer touch the switches, and if you try that angry guard will kill you. If you can tell me with the absolute assurance which of these three switches controls the lamp in that room, I will let you marry my daughter.” The Jester was a clever fellow, and was able to do this. Can you?
The Jester turned on the first switch, waited a little while, and then turned it off again. Then he turned on the second switch and asked to be let into the room. If the lightbulb was on, the second switch was the answer. If the lightbulb was hot, the first switch was the answer. If neither, the third switch was the answer.
You and 99 strangers are kidnapped by aliens. Their plan with you is as follows: they’re going to bury you up to your necks in sand in a single file line and place a skin tight white or black hat on everyone’s head. There are not necessarily 50 white and 50 black hats – the ratio of the 2 is random. The person in the back of the line – person number 100 – can see all 99 hats in front of them, but not the hat on their own head. The person in front of them – person 99 – can see all the 98 hats in front of them and so on until you get to person one, who can’t see anything. Starting from the back, person 100, the aliens will ask each person what color they think they hat on their own head is. If they are right, they can go free. If they are wrong, they are shot and killed. The aliens give everyone ten minutes to strategize before they are buried and the questioning begins. The question is – what strategy can you and the strangers devise to guarantee as many people’s safety as possible, and how many people will this strategy save? The only words you’re allowed to save when it’s your turn are “white” or “black” – nothing more. You cannot change your inflection or volume to communicate additional info. For the purpose of this riddle the only things that can be communicated during the questioning are the word “white” and the word “black” in and of themselves.
The most common strategy people come up with is person 100 to say the color of the hat in front of them, therefore saving person 99 but risking their own life. It then resets at person 98 and so on, so they can guarantee the safety of 50 people. But there is a better strategy. Before you are buried, you assign the word “black” to mean odd and the word “white” to mean even. This code will only apply to what person 100 says. After you’re buried, and when it’s time for person 100 to kick off the questioning, they will count all the white hats in front of them. If it’s an odd number they say “black”, if it’s an even number they say “white”. They may or may not survive because no one can see their hat, but now everyone ahead of them knows whether they saw an odd or even number of white hats. So let’s say person 100 sees 45 white hats and says “black,” which is odd. Then it’s person 99’s turn. If they also count 45 white hats – an odd number – they know that their hat must be black. But if they only count 44, an even number, they know their hat must be white. Every time someone after person 100 declares that their hat is white, everyone in front of them knows whether to check for an odd or even number ahead of them. This strategy, when executed properly, will guarantee the safety of 99 people.
If a guy has a bee in his hand, what’s in his eye?
(It’s in the eye of the bee holder)
Kevin is a lazy scamp, as he himself knows all too well. He can’t get a job because he’s always half an hour late to his job interviews. In an effort to change his tardy ways, he goes to his mother Susie for advice, knowing that she’s a very resourceful person. This is the advice his mother gives to him. “Kevin, my slow-witted man-child, here’s what you do. Every time you have to be somewhere at a certain time, act as you would act if you had to be there half an hour earlier than that time. The next day Kevin has a job interview at 2pm. He follows his mother’s advice, and yet he doesn’t arrive for his interview. What happened?
Kevin’s mother told him that whenever he was told to arrive he should act as he would act if he had to arrive half an hour earlier. So since he has to arrive at 2pm, he will act as he will act if had to arrive at 1:30pm – and how would he act if he had to arrive at 1:30pm? Well he would necessarily follow his mother’s advice and act as if he had to arrive at 1. Kevin is stuck in an infinite loop. His mother’s advice makes him constantly act as he would act half an hour earlier. Kevin has no way to decide on an arrival time, going endless backwards, unless you maybe count the beginning of time as a stopping point. So his mother wasn’t so resourceful after all. Chunt’s up with that?
My head’s in the heavens, yet I’m grounded as can be. What am I?
I may be a protector, but I’m designed to strike fear. What am I?
I’m as strong as metal, yet free as a bird. What am I?
Ancient knowledge few can know. In the night is where I roam. Vermin I snatch in my holy flight. None will beat me with my sight.
What’s a mansplainer’s favorite Christmas movie?