Enigmatic Code

Programming Enigma Puzzles

Category Archives: tantalizer

Tantalizer 421: Present time

From New Scientist #971, 16th October 1975 [link]

“I say”, said young Tommy on Christmas morning, when we had each seen our own presents but no one else’s, “here is a poser based on the tea-strainer, bath hat, bath soap and gloves I gave Jane, Kate, Lucy and Maud. I shall now put three questions and each of the girls must give at least two true answers out of the three”.

He first asked, “Did I give you the tea-strainer?” and got the answers: Yes, Yes, No, No. Then he asked: “Did I give you something for the bath?”, getting the answers: Yes, No, Yes, No. The he asked: “Did I give you something to wear?”, getting the answers: No, Yes, Yes, Yes. (Answers are in alphabetical order of girls).

“Now”, he said to the rest of us, “I can tell you that exactly one girl is in a position to deduce what each other girl got. Can you tell me what each girl did get?”

Due to a typo in New Scientist this puzzle was published as Tantalizer No 42.


Tantalizer 422: Holy matrimony

From New Scientist #972, 23rd October 1975 [link]

When the five ministers at St. Saviour’s all got divorced, it was a relief. When all announced a remarriage, it was a surprise. When the brides were revealed to be the five ex-wives, it was a sensation. Still, the priggish Dinah was not the first to remarry and there were no direct swaps, so I daresay the decencies were preserved.

The weddings were held on successive Saturdays. Peter’s took place earlier than Anne’s and later than Quentin’s. Barbara’s was later than Tristram’s and earlier than Celia’s.

Peter married Simon’s ex-wife. Barbara got hitched to the man whose former wife married Emily’s ex-husband. Quentin paired up with the lady whose former husband married Dinah. Ronald was spliced with the lady whose ex-husband married Celia.

Who, pray, is now married to whom?


Tantalizer 423a: Humbugs

From New Scientist #973, 30th October 1975 [link]

Aunt Edith sweetened her departure by giving each of our five children a bag containing 10 fat stripey humbugs. She made them all promise to hold off till after breakfast but Barbara is as persuasive as she is unprincipled and she and the others all arrived at the table chewing.

Taking stock over the porridge, I found that half the surviving humbugs belonged to children with an even number [remaining] and that the twins still had 14 between them. Only Anne had more than one less than average, but even she still had more than one humbug. Charles still had less than William but more than Pat. The girls still had exactly 10 between them.

How many did each child have left?

Note: Both this puzzle and the following puzzle were labelled Tantalizer No 423 when published in New Scientist. So I’ve labelled this one 423a to distinguish them.

[tantalizer423a] [tantalizer423]

Tantalizer 423b: Body count

From New Scientist #974, 6th November 1975 [link]

The first motion before the conference of Family Doctors was that Miss Emily Scroggins be invited to deliver a lecture on the female epidermis. The Chairman rapped importantly with his gavel:

“I shall put the motion without debate. Those in favour? … Those against? … I declare the motion lost by a majority exactly equal to one quarter of the number voting in favour. Good gracious! Well there’s no need for anyone to be disappointed. Those who wish can view Miss Scroggins tonight at the Golden Tuffet, where she strips to music under the name of Gloria Gunn. What’s that you say, Sir? You would like to change your vote? I daresay you are not alone in that. How many of those previously opposed are now in favour? Twelve, I see. And those previously for but now against? None, I see. This more like it. I declare the motion carried by one vote”.

How many persons were present and voting?

This puzzle and the previous puzzle were both labelled Tantalizer No 423, when originally published in New Scientist. So I’ve labelled this one as 423b to distinguish them.

[tantalizer423b] [tantalizer423]

Tantalizer 424: Directory enquiry

From New Scientist #975, 13th November 1975 [link]

Mr Meek is pleased with his new phone number, because it has four digits, the middle two of which are identical. “Like my name”, he explains. The repeated digit is also the first digit of Mr Humble’s new four digit number. Moreover Mr Meeks first digit is the same as the first digit of Mr Lowly’s new four digit number.

If you interchange the first and last digits of Mr Lowly’s number, you get Mr Humble’s. If you subtract Mr Lowly’s number from Mr Humble’s, you get Mr Meek’s.

So what is Mr Meek’s new number?


Tantalizer 425: Beauty contest

From New Scientist #976, 20th November 1975 [link]

To enliven the tedium of the beauty contest, the judges started by each sealing his guess for the first four places, before even seeing the girls. Afterwards they opened the envelopes and scored one point for each girl mentioned who finished in the final four and a further nine points for each girl given her correct placing.

Winner, was trendy Bishop Bonhomie with 21 points for 1st. Miss Paignton, 2nd. Miss Lincoln, 3rd. Miss Oban, 4th. Miss Wigan. Next came Peter Pint the telepoet with 12 points for 1st. Miss Oban, 2nd. Miss Northampton, 3rd. Miss Formby, 4th. Miss Paignton. A mere 3 points were garnered by Chico the Chiropractor with 1st. Miss Wigan, 2nd. Miss Oban, 3rd. Miss Lincoln, 4th. Miss Formby. The booby prize went to Dan Dare the famous celebrity, who netted 2 points for 1st. Miss Northampton, 2nd. Miss Paignton, 3rd. Miss Wigan, 4th. Miss Oban.

Can you put the four winning girls in the right order?


Tantalizer 426: Drawing conclusions

From New Scientist #977, 27th November 1975 [link]

Those aspiring architects Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were discussing the design test they had taken the week before. The results were not yet public, but there had, of course, been leaks.

Matthew summed the position up: “We all know that there were seven candidates, exactly four of whom passed. None of us here knows how any of the absent candidates fared. None of us yet knows whether he himself passed or failed. Each of us here knows the result of each of the other three present”.

“That is interesting”, said Mark, “and your final sentence is news to me. But I still do not know whether I passed”.

“Matthew’s final sentence was news to me too”, Luke said presently, “but even now I too cannot work out whether I passed”.

On being told that they are bright lads and have deduced all they can, you can discover one result. Whose and what?


Tantalizer 427: Pub crawl

From New Scientist #978, 4th December 1975 [link]

Peter Pickle has drawn up this handy map of the twenty pubs in his town. On crawling nights he starts with a pint at The Swan and then moves off along the lines stopping at each pub he passes. (He may visit the same pub more than once).

He follows a formula on stepping out of The Swan: P, Q, R, Q, P, Q, P, S, S, P, S, P, Q, R, Q. In the formula P, Q, R and S stand for north, east, south and west (not necessarily in that order). The final Q brings him to The Bull (the red dot on the map) for the first and only time.

Can you mark the Swan on the map?


Tantalizer 428: Sisters of mercy

From New Scientist #979, 11th December 1975 [link]

Faith, Hope and Charity had “adopted” an old couple in their neighbourhood and a random one of the drops in each morning to jolly things along. Tom and Annie, the oldsters, take it in good part, especially since they started having a flutter on who the next ministering angel will be.

“Tell you what”, Tom proposed slyly one evening, “Let’s have an extra bet. Who do you bet it will be for the next two days?”
“Faith both days”, said Annie.
Tom replied, “And I bet it will be Hope, followed by Faith. £1?”
“Very well”, said Annie, “but what if we are both wrong?”
“Then the bet stands until such time as Faith arrives either for the second day running (and you win) or on the day after Hope (and I win).”
“Done”, said Annie.

What are Tom’s chances of winning?


Tantalizer 429: Merry Christmas

From New Scientist #980, 18th December 1975 [link]

Gloom or no gloom, the call for toys rises and Santa has taken on three extra reindeer this year, Starlight, Snowflake and Rudolf. He has been planning a monster sleigh, pulled by them and his old friends Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen.

But then a horrid thought struck him. What if this pantechnikon and all eleven reindeer were hijacked? So dreadful is the prospect that he has changed tack entirely. Instead he will make a series of deliveries, each in a modest sleigh pulled by a different pair of reindeer. It has not been easy to arrange, since the reindeer think he is being feeble and have offered very varying degrees of cooperation. Indeed only Rudolph and Cupid will be making the same number of deliveries. But it will work as proposed and you can go ahead and hang your sock up.

Rudolf is boasting that he will be doing exactly twice as many deliveries as Blitzen. Blitzen maintains that this is not true. Santa asks you to work out which is right. Meanwhile he wishes you a Merry Christmas.


Tantalizer 430: Hop, skip and jump

From New Scientist #981, 1st January 1976 [link]

To shake down the plum pud, the five adults held three post-prandial athletic events. Each competitor scored the number of the place gained in each event, with the aim of totalling as few points as possible overall. Thus Uncle Arthur came second in the hop and scored 2 points for it. There were no ties in any event or in the overall totals and no one took the same place in two or more events.

Aunt Barbara, although bottom in one event, was top at skipping, Mother having been forced down to third place by a fit of hiccoughs. Father did better than Uncle Charlie at hopping. Uncle Arthur did not win the jumping. Mother did better at jumping than at hopping. Aunt Barbara was not second overall. The overall winner did not win the hopping.

As your post-prandial exercise, would you care to list the order in each event?

The puzzle can be solved as presented, but has two solutions. To arrive at the published single solution we seem to need an extra fact — “Uncle Arthur finished in third place overall”.

This puzzle completes the archive of Tantalizer puzzles from 1976. There is a full archive from this puzzle to the final Tantalizer puzzle in May 1977 (when the Puzzle series started).


Tantalizer 431: Hand signals

From New Scientist #982, 8th January 1976 [link]

Here is a strange fact about the parish council at Loose Chippings. The left-handed members always tell the truth but the right-handed members never do. Or perhaps it is the other way round. At any rate ambidextrous members certainly make just one true statement in every two.

And here is what five members have to say about each other:

Alfred: “Bernie is left-handed. Edward is left-handed.”
Bernie: “Alfred is right-handed. David is right-handed.”
Charles: “Alfred is ambidextrous. I am ambidextrous.”
David: “Charles is left-handed. I am right-handed.”
Edward: “Alfred is left-handed. Bernie is ambidextrous.”

Who is what?


Tantalizer 432: A way with the ladies

From New Scientist #983, 15th January 1976 [link]

The Rätselgarten in Vienna is famous for its twenty goddesses, whos statues stand at the junctions of its paths. The task of keeping them spick and span belongs to Stephan Schnitzel. Once a month he dusts and polishes them, following a route of his own design which, without leaving the paths show, takes him to each goddess exactly twice.

Each goddess has a different letters on the plan in his office and his order of visiting is, he tells me:

P A D M O I C T F K G B J R H N L Q E S P A L Q J R H N D M O I C T S F E K G B.

But, as you will no doubt spot without even being told which letter to put at which junction, he has made a small error in the telling. He has inadvertently put two consecutive letters in the wrong order somewhere.

Can you work out which they are?


Tantalizer 433: Service break

From New Scientist #984, 22nd January 1976 [link]

Once a year, when the sand is right for sand castles, the trout are rising nicely in the streams and the hart is doing its proverbial panting, the New Scientist decides to remove the grime from its typewriters and moth from its editors. The latter then take off for the hills, having summoned the old team of Amble, Bumble, Crumble and Dimwit to attend the former.

The task always takes longer than it should because the four worthies are not all available. Three years ago Amble, Bumble and Crumble did it in 12 days. Two years ago Bumble, Crumble and Dimwit managed it in 15 days. Last year Amble, Crumble and Dimwit knocked it off in 18 days. And this year Amble, Bumble and Dimwit were expecting to romp through it in 20 days, until Amble and Bumble fell under a bus.

If the whole job falls on Dimwit, how many days will it take?


Tantalizer 434: Limited editions

From New Scientist #985, 29th January 1976 [link]

Boremaster’s commentary on Hegel being a basic book, our library has several copies. It is not exactly a jolly read, as you will know if you have ever waded through its 36 chapters, but is much in demand on the ground that it is less painful than Hegel himself. Even so I was surprised to meet my friend Jones leaving the library with three copies under his arm.

“Steady on, old bean!” I exclaimed, “there are other readers to think of.”

“The other copies are all on the shelf”, he replied airily, “but I had to take three to get a complete text. Some rotter has snipped whole chapters out of every copy.”

“Well, surely two copies would have done?”

“No. No two copies would yield a full text.”

“Do you mean that I shall have to check every copy, if I want to be sure of a full text?”

“Oh no. Just take any three at random, as I did. You are bound to get a full text, even through no chapter is present in all copies. For each pair of chapters there is at least one copy with only one of them.”

For this to be true, how few copies need the library have in total?


Tantalizer 435: Compleat idiots

From New Scientist #986, 5th February 1976 [link]

The landlord of the Compleat Idiot likes to add spice to the day’s angling. Each angler starts by predicting everyone’s catch and there is a double scotch for each correct prediction afterwards. Yesterday no one was right about anyone, each man having predicted too few for those who beat him and too many for those who did not (including himself). Everyone caught at least one fish and all caught a different number. If I tell you the predictions (predictors down the left, persons predicted for across the top), can you work out the actual catches?


Tantalizer 436: Rhyme and reason

From New Scientist #987, 12th February 1976 [link]

The poems of Prudence Meek are for all estates and conditions of men. They can be bought bound in velvet or in rags, printed in silver or in grey, scented with myrrh or with soap.

“Selling like hot cakes?” she was asked recently on a radio chat show.

“Verily”, she replied, “27 bound in velvet, 29 printed in silver, 34 scented with myrrh in less than a week. Half those scented with myrrh were printed in silver”.

“How about those scented with soap?”

“Three were not only printed in silver but also bound in velvet.”

“And total sales?”

“57”, the poetess confessed coyly, “but I’ll have you know that I had sold more luxury editions (the sort with velvet, silver and myrrh) than the total sales of Beverley Bunion’s disgusting odes”.

Knowing Bunion’s sales figure, the interviewer could then announce Miss Meek’s score in luxury editions.

What is it?

I’ve marked this puzzle as “flawed”, as, although it is possible to solve it and get a unique answer, the answer I found was different from the published solution. So it seems the setter had a different puzzle in mind.


Tantalizer 437: Miniatures

From New Scientist #988, 19th February 1976 [link]

When Pestle arrived at Mortar’s house last night for their weekly game of chess, he had forgotten to bring the pieces. Unsmilingly Mortar produces a board and a supply of Brandy, Gin, Kirsch, Rum, Vodka and Whisky in miniature bottles. Captures having been drunk, the game declined in quality, finally reaching this position. But Mortar had the harder head as well as the white pieces and delivered mate on the move.

The black circled pieces are black (white ones having had their tops removed at the start of play) and each kind of piece was represented by a different drink. Whenever a Vodka threatened a Gin, the Gin also threatened the Vodka. Whenever a Brandy threatened a Whisky, the Whiskey did not threaten the Brandy. Whenever a Kirsch did not threaten a Rum, the Rum did not threaten the Kirsch.

What was Mortar’s mating move?


Tantalizer 438: Spring collection

From New Scientist #989, 26th February 1976 [link]

The task of collecting funds for the Red Cross in our little town falls on five married couples. Each spring they make a sort of race of it. The last occasion was very exciting. The couples all started on a different day but, having started, kept at it until the last Friday in March. Each collected the same amount each day but the amount in question was different for each couple.

A different couple was in the lead at nightfall on the final Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. In other words, each couple led once in the final week. At the close on Friday, Pamela and Albert held the position held by Edward and his wife on Monday night. At the close on Friday Queenie and Bill held the position held by Desmond and wife on Monday night. Similarly Rose and husband finished where Charlie and wife had been on Monday night and Sue and husband finished where Bill and Queenie had been on Monday night. Sue and husband were in the lead on Tuesday night. Queenie and Bill overtook Tania and husband during the final week. All couples had collected something by Monday nightfall.

What was the order at close of play?


Tantalizer 439: High life

From New Scientist #990, 4th March 1976 [link]

The Enigma Quartet all live on different floors of a mammoth block of flats. Amble and the drummer are on adjacent floors. The harpist lives four floors above Bumble. Crumble and the flautist are ten floors apart.

None of the four lives on a floor served by a lift. For, although there are three lifts all serving floor 0, one stops only at every third floor, one only at every fourth and one only at every fifth. Apart from floor 0, no floor has three lifts stopping.

Since no musician will ever walk up stairs. Amble has no way of visiting the trombonists flat without walking down at least four sets of stairs. Which instrument does Dimwit play and which floor does he live on?


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