Solution to the Smith-Jones-Robinson Problem!

[Image courtesy of SharpBrains.com.]

A week ago, we shared a brain teaser sent in by a PuzzleNationer named Brian, who challenged us to solve the following challenge.

Today, we’re going to share not only the solution, but how we got there! Please enjoy this brief solve and tutorial, inspired by one of your fellow PuzzleNationers!


The Smith-Jones-Robinson Problem

Every fact is important. The puzzle is as follows:

On a train, three men named Smith, Jones, and Robinson are the fireman, brakeman, and engineer, but not necessarily in that order. Also on the train are three businessmen who have the same names as the train crew. They will be referred to as Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Robinson.

  • Mr. Robinson lives in Detroit.
  • The brakeman lives exactly halfway between Chicago and Detroit.
  • Mr. Jones earns exactly $20,000 per year, paid in thousand-dollar bills.
  • The brakeman’s nearest neighbor, one of the passengers, earns exactly three times as much as the brakeman, and is also paid in thousand-dollar bills.
  • Smith beats the fireman at billiards.
  • The passenger whose name is the same as the brakeman’s lives in Chicago.

From the information listed above, can you figure out the name of the engineer?


ticket to ride

We’re given one exact number, so let’s start there.

The brakeman’s nearest neighbor, one of the passengers, earns exactly three times as much as the brakeman. Mr. Jones earns exactly $20,000 per year, which cannot be divided evenly by three (in thousand dollar bills), so Mr. Jones is NOT the brakeman’s nearest neighbor.

The brakeman lives exactly halfway between Chicago and Detroit, and Mr. Robinson lives in Detroit, so Mr. Robinson cannot be the passenger who lives nearest to the brakeman. And as we just determined, Mr. Jones is also not the brakeman’s nearest neighbor. That leaves Mr. Smith as the brakeman’s nearest neighbor.

This tells us about the passengers, but how does it help us with the train crew?

Well, the passenger whose name is the same as the brakeman’s lives in Chicago. And neither Mr. Robinson nor Mr. Smith (who is nearest to the brakeman) can live in Chicago. That tells us Mr. Jones lives in Chicago.

This means that the brakeman’s name is Jones.

We can finally turn our attention to the train crew now.

Now that we know the brakeman’s name is Jones, that leaves only Smith and Robinson as possibilities. And we know that Smith beats the fireman at billiards. Smith can’t be the fireman or the brakeman, so Smith must be the engineer.

Did you identify the engineer and outwit the Smith-Jones-Robinson Problem? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!


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Solutions to Our June Brain Teasers!

Two weeks ago, we shared a pair of brain teasers sent in by a PuzzleNationer who discovered these particular deduction and math thinkers in a book of riddles and puzzles.

Today, we’re going to share not only the solutions, but how we got there! Please enjoy this brief solve and tutorial, courtesy of brain teasers from your fellow PuzzleNationers!


[Image courtesy of SharpBrains.com.]

Brain Teaser #1: There is a three-digit number. All three digits are different. The second digit is four times as big as the third digit, while the first digit is three less than the second digit. What is the number?

Solution: 582

This is a fairly simple one, but if you’re unfamiliar with brain teasers, or uncomfortable in general with number puzzles, it can be off-putting. No worries, though! We’ve got you covered.

We know the second digit is four times as big as the third. That leaves only two options for those digits: 4 and 1 or 8 and 2.

If the first digit is three less than the second digit, it can’t be 4 and 1, because that would be 4 minus 1, or 1 for the first digit, and the first and third digits can’t be the same.

That means it’s 8 and 2 for the second and third digits. So if the first digit is three less than the second, the first digit is 5, and the three-digit number is 582.


calendar pages

Brain Teaser #2: When asked about his birthday, a man said, “The day before yesterday, I was only 25, and next year I will turn 28.” This is true only one day in a year – what day was he born?

Solution: He was born on December 31st and spoke about it on January 1st.

The wording in this one is especially important, because at first glance, this sounds impossible.

“Next year, I will turn 28.”

But if you look at the key word in what the man says — “turn” — the puzzle starts to unravel.

If next year, he will turn 28, this means that, at some point this year, he will turn 27. Which means he is currently 26.

Let’s look at what we know:

  • Day before yesterday: 25
  • Currently: 26
  • This year (at some point): 27
  • Next year: 28

Since he’ll be both 26 and 27 this year, the day before yesterday had to be last year.

Which means that yesterday was his birthday.

But at some point this year, he turns 27. That means both yesterday and the day before yesterday had to be last year.

Which leaves us with this timetable:

  • December 30 (day before yesterday, last year): 25
  • December 31 (yesterday, last year, his birthday): 26
  • January 1 (today, this year): 26
  • December 31 (later this year): 27
  • December 31 (next year): 28

He was born on December 31st and spoke about it on January 1st.


Did you unravel one or both of these brain teasers? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

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Answers to our International Tabletop Day Puzzle (Plus a Special Offer!)

a story to die for box

Before we start with today’s blog post, we’ve got a special offer for you from the puzzly folks at ThinkFun!

Have you checked out our reviews of their new unsolved crime series of puzzle games? In Cold Case, you’re tasked with going through the evidence and solving the case!

There are two editions of Cold Case; A Story to Die For is available for preorder now, and A Pinch of Murder will be available for preorder on June 14th!

And if you click this link and use the promo code 20COLDCASE, you’ll get the puzzle game for 20% off!

Enjoy!


tabletopday_logo

Last week, we celebrated International Tabletop Day with some puzzly recommendations, suggestions, and an anagram mix-and-match puzzle, all in the spirit of celebrating gathering with friends and loved ones — in person or virtually — to play games together.

The challenge was to unscramble the names of famous board game characters from the entries on the left, and then match them up with the correct board game from the list on the right.

We’re sure you managed to unravel all those jumbled phrases, but just in case, let’s take a look at the solution.

First, let’s look at the anagrams.

  • Resist Clams = Miss Scarlet
  • Screenplay Bunching = Rich Uncle Pennybags
  • Niceness Fir Sport = Princess Frostine
  • I, Hyphen Pro = Henry Hippo
  • Air Ma = Maria
  • AI Zag Rug = Gigazaur
  • Cam Sat Ivy = Cavity Sam
  • Be Brother = The Robber

And now, for a splash of color, here is the solution for the matching portion of the puzzle.

tabletop-day-mix-and-match-solution

How did you do with the puzzle? Did you enjoy International Tabletop Day? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.


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Answers to our Double Feature Movie Title Opposites Game!

double-feature

Last Friday, we closed out the week with a movie title game for you. We paired off film titles that were opposites, and offered a few clues for each pairing.

With only the genre of each film, the year of release for each, and one star from each film, could you puzzle out each double feature?

We posted fifteen pairings for you to figure out! Let’s go to the movies and see the results!


#1
-Comedy, Romcom
-1985, 1995
-Madeline Kahn, Paul Rudd
(Bonus hint: Tim Curry, Alicia Silverstone)

double feature 1

#2
-Action/Crime, Drama/Crime
-1995, 1990
-Will Smith, Robert DeNiro
(Bonus hint: Martin Lawrence, Joe Pesci)

double feature 2

#3
-Holiday/Musical, Horror
-1954, 1974
-Rosemary Clooney, Margot Kidder
(Bonus hint: Bing Crosby, Olivia Hussey)

double feature 3

#4
-Western, Fantasy/Romance
-1952, 2008
-Gary Cooper, Kristen Stewart

double feature 4

#5
-Comedy, Comedy
-1985, 1994
-Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey

double feature 5

#6
-Drama/Musical, Action
-1980, 2021
-Irene Cara, Bob Odenkirk

double feature 6

#7
-Comedy/Drama, Drama
-2006, 1988
-Steve Carell, Tom Cruise
(Bonus hint: Abigail Breslin, Dustin Hoffman)

double feature 7

#8
-Holiday/Comedy, Animation/Adventure
-1990, 2001
-Macauley Culkin, Hayao Miyazaki

double feature 8

#9
-Romcom, Sci-Fi/Action
-1986, 2014
-Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise

double feature 9

#10
-Drama/Biographical, Action
-1993, 1988
-Ethan Hawke, Bruce Willis

double feature 10

#11
-Sci-Fi/Comedy, Comedy(?)
-1997, 2004
-Tommy Lee Jones, Marlon Wayans

double feature 11

#12
-Horror, Romance
-1987, 1995
-Bill Paxton, Ethan Hawke

double feature 12

#13
-Comedy, Horror
-1989, 2018
-John Travolta, Emily Blunt

double feature 13

#14
-Action/Crime, Horror
-1973, 2017
-Bruce Lee, Daniel Kaluuya

double feature 14

#15
-Drama, Sci-Fi/Comedy
-1994, 1993
-Winona Ryder, Daryl Hannah

double feature 15


How many did you figure out, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

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Solutions to Last Week’s Detective Riddles!

cluedupp1

Last week, we delved into a curious cousin of brain teaser family — detective riddles. These crime-fueled and investigation-filled little logic problems often cast you as the detective, the accused, or simply someone putting on their deerstalker hat and endeavoring to suss out the actual truth.

And we couldn’t resist putting your puzzle skills to the test with a few detective riddles. Did you unravel them easily or find yourself stumped?

Let’s find out, shall we?


#1

A Japanese ship was leaving the port and on its way to open sea. The captain went to oil some parts of the ship and took his ring off so it wouldn’t get damaged. He left it on the table next to his bunk. When he returned, it was missing. He suspected three crew members could be guilty and asked them what they had been doing for the ten minutes that he had been gone.

The cook said, “I was in the kitchen preparing tonight’s dinner.”

The engineer said, “I was working in the engine room making sure everything was running smoothly.”

The seaman said, “I was on the mast correcting the flag because someone had attached it upside down by mistake.”

The captain immediately knew who it was. How?

Answer: The seaman was to blame.

The key to this one is paying attention to the ship and the flag. A Japanese ship would be flying the Japanese flag, and it’s hard to believe a white field with a red circle in the center could be hung “upside down.”

302568

#2

A chemist was murdered in his own lab. The only evidence was a piece of paper that had the names of chemical substances written on it. The substances were nickel, carbon, oxygen, lanthanum, and sulfur. The chemist only had four people come by his lab on the day of the murder: fellow scientist Claire, his nephew Nicolas, his wife, and his friend Marc.

The police arrested the murderer right away. How did they know who it was?

Answer: Nephew Nicolas was to blame.

If you know your elemental abbreviations, you probably noticed the correlation between what the chemist wrote down and one of the suspects. Ni + C + O + La + S spells the criminal’s name and points the finger at the criminal from beyond the grave.

#3

A man was found on the floor dead with a cassette recorder in one hand and a gun in the other. When the police arrived at the scene they pressed play on the recorder. It was the man’s voice. He said, “I have nothing else to live for. I can’t go on,” followed by the sound of a gunshot.

After listening, the police knew that this was a murder, not a suicide. How?

Answer: Dead men don’t rewind.

The cassette recorder was all prepped for someone to press play, which means someone stopped the tape and rewound it after the gunshot was recorded. If it had been a suicide, the tape recorder would have just kept running after the gunshot, since there wasn’t anyone alive to stop it.


How did you do, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? Did you solve all three? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

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Answers to Our Holiday Trivia Countdown

holiday trivia

Yesterday, we posted twenty-four questions about various holiday-related topics like carols, reindeer, food, and Yuletide historical moments, creating our own little advent calendar countdown to Christmas.

So naturally, the right thing to do is offer the answers to you on Christmas Day! You can call it the gift of knowledge, or the gift of satisfaction when you get the questions right, or the gift of a quick and easy read on a Friday. Whatever you like.

Without further ado, and with our halls properly decked, we present the answers to our holiday trivia questions. Enjoy!


muppet christmas carol

1. How many ghosts are there in A Christmas Carol?

Answer: Four.

2. Red and green are the two colors most associated with Christmas. Which are the two other colors, also named in a Burl Ives song, that are also extremely popular in this season?

Answer: Silver and gold.

3. In the UK, which Christmas food is it considered good luck to eat one of on each of the 12 days of Christmas?

Answer: Mince pies.

4. In the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” the Grinch is called all kinds of names, but one particular trio of insults, one right after the other, differs by only a single letter. What are those three words?

Answer: Stink, stank, stunk.

5. Which two of the reindeer are named after weather phenomenon?

Answer: Donner and Blitzen, which are “thunder” and “lightning” in German.

6. What year was Christmas declared a federal holiday in the United States?

Answer: 1870.

mlaw-121205

7. Which country has a tradition of a witch dropping gifts for children through the chimney at Christmas?

Answer: Italy.

8. Which was the last state in the United States to declare Christmas a legal holiday?

Answer: Oklahoma.

9. How many reindeer were in the story “Twas the Night Before Christmas?”

Answer: Eight.

10. The film Miracle on 34th Street depicted events at what famous department store?

Answer: Macy’s.

11. What dish was served by Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol? (Hint: it is also mentioned in the song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”)

Answer: Figgy pudding

12. Which of Santa’s reindeer is named after another animal?

Answer: Vixen.

Christmas theme, sales, Happy  Santa Claus in a snowy forest, Santa on the background of a winter forest, Russian Santa Claus (Grandfather Frost), Santa Claus are near his reindeers in harness.

13. The red and white costume of Santa was allegedly first introduced by which beverage manufacturer?

Answer: Coca-Cola.

14. Which President, a famous conservationist, objected to a Christmas tree in the White House?

Answer: President Theodore Roosevelt. He felt it was wrong to cut down trees for decoration.

15. Which spirit is traditionally added to butter and served with Christmas pudding?

Answer: Brandy.

16. In Spain, it’s considered good luck to eat one of these foods for each chime of the clock for the new year. What food is it?

Answer: Grapes.

17. In the American version of The Office, salesman Dwight portrayed Belsnickel instead of Santa for one of the company’s holiday parties. Instead of naughty or nice, what two adjectives did Belsnickel choose between when gauging the behavior of everyone?

Answer: Impish or admirable.

18. Who was the first President to have a tree in the White House?

Answer: President Benjamin Harrison in 1889.

the grinch

19. True story. I had a dog named Chestnut who stared at the stereo speaker in confusion every time a certain holiday ditty played. What was its title?

Answer: The Christmas Song.

20. What is the most popular meal for Christmas in Japan?

Answer: KFC fried chicken.

21. The name of what Christmas song was originally called “Tinkle Bells” until the writer’s wife pointed out that tinkle also means pee?

Answer: Silver Bells.

22. In what Central American country might you find yourself kicking off the holiday season by burning the devil on December 7th while sweeping your house?

Answer: Guatemala.

23. Which ocean is Christmas Island located in?

Answer: Indian Ocean.

24. What is the name of the Grinch’s dog?

Answer: Max.


How did you do? And do you have any favorite tidbits of holiday trivia? Please let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!