Enigmatic Code

Programming Enigma Puzzles

Tantalizer 414: Three men in a catastrophe

From New Scientist #964, 28th August 1975 [link]

George, Harris and I once decided to acquire a cat apiece. Dear little furry things they were, little bundles of innocence. Or so we thought before we got them home.

But original sin will out and we soon found that none of them was in the least well behaved. George’s was better behaved than the Siamese. The Persian was better behaved than Bubbles. Harris’s was better behaved than Fluff. The Tabby was not worse behaved than the Persian.

All in all we weren’t sorry when Montmorency, the dog, took a hand [paw?] and sent them caterwauling. He took a particularly satisfying bite out of Pollyanna. Whose cat was she?


One response to “Tantalizer 414: Three men in a catastrophe

  1. Jim Randell 1 January 2020 at 8:36 am

    This Python program runs in 82ms.

    Run: [ @repl.it ]

    from enigma import subsets, printf
    # behaviour scores
    scores = list(subsets((0, 1, 2), size=len, select="P"))
    # assign scores by breed
    for (S, P, T) in scores:
      # "the Tabby is better than Persian"
      if not(T > P): continue
      # assign scores by owner
      for (G, H, I) in scores:
        # "George's is better than the Siamese"
        if not(G > S): continue
        # assign scores by cat name (X = Pollyanna)
        for (B, F, X) in scores:
          # "Harris's is better than Fluff"
          if not(H > F): continue
          # "the Persian is better than Bubbles"
          if not(P > B): continue
          # map behaviour to owners
          m = dict(zip((G, H, I), "GHI"))
          # answer is the owner of X
          printf("owner = {r} [breed: S={S} P={P} T={T}; owner: G={G} H={H} I={I}; name: B={B} F={F} X={X}]", r=m[X])

    Solution: Harris was Pollyanna’s owner.

    The cats are:

    best = Pollyanna, Tabby, owned by Harris
    middle = Fluff, Persian owned by George
    worst = Bubbles, Siamese owned by I

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