Timewaster Tuesday: Einstein’s Riddle

So, Dawn and I were sitting on the couch yesterday on our laptops doing, well, what we do, and she found a puzzle. Since we both love puzzles, she gave me the link. It intrigued us for two reasons 1) it was a classic logic puzzle and 2) supposedly only 2% of the population could solve it. Yeah, we like a challenge. Anyway, since we did that instead of writing articles, we thought that you might also enjoy it! So, read on for the puzzle and some tips for better solving.

Einstein’s Riddle!

There are 5 houses in 5 different colors. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet. No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar, or drink the same beverage.

The question is: Who owns the fish?

Information given:

* The Brit lives in the red house.
* The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
* The Dane drinks tea.
* The green house is on the left of the white house.
* The green homeowner drinks coffee.
* The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
* The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
* The man living in the center house drinks milk.
* The Norwegian lives in the first house.
* The man who smokes Blend lives next to the one who keeps cats.
* The man who keeps the horse lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.
* The owner who smokes Bluemaster drinks beer.
* The German smokes prince.
* The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
* The man who smokes Blend has a neighbor who drinks water.

So, the references are old, but the logic is good. There are a few ways to try and solve this, Dawn and I took different tactics. Dawn prefers the gridboard method like this example:

Using this method, you use X’s for things that cannot be together and O’s for things that go together and the logic works itself out on the board. Typically, you go through the list of information in order first, and then go back to work out further details.

I decided to just do a basic sketch of the four houses and place them in order with adjustments as I solved them. For this method, I hunted through the information bits for the most important ones and marked them off as I went.

Both methods work. Tonight, I beat Dawn by solving it in about 20 min., and she took about 30 minutes or so. Don’t go by our times, we’ve both been solving logic puzzles since we were about 8.

Rather than posting the answer, so as not to give it away, here is a link to it.

So, how did you solve it? What did you think? Do you like logic puzzles?

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gina
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 20:14:46

    Oh! That’s a great one 😀

    I got it, but didn’t time it. My tactic was to write all the options down on slips of paper and re-arange them. That way I could keep the ones together that needed to stay there (Swede & dog), but the ones that could be flexible (water, cat, Blend) I could fiddle with.

    When I got stuck I’d try moving something with two options into one column, seeing how it played out, and if it didn’t work put it in the other column.

    Donno if that made much sense, but it was a lot of fun.


  2. Budd
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 10:38:36

    i had to draw the houses for some reason then list the traits per house, took a little while but I got it.


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July 2010
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