Prisonner’s last hope

For this riddle, your have to imagine a big jail, in a remote country. The kind of jail people won’t mind if an inmate is being tortured or killed.

The director of this jail is known to be cruel, but he also loves gambling. And from time to time, he proposes some riddles to the inmates, and nothing pleases him more than watching them failing and be punished for this.

However, today, he is in a good mood, so he decides to give a chance to 4 death row inmates. They are buried on the ground in a way only their head will remain on the surface. They are all facing a wall, but one of them is separated from the other and buried on the other side of this wall, this way: > > > | <

The first prisonner can see 2 of his friends, the second one can see only one, and both the 3rd and the last one can see only the wall.

Then the chief put an hat on each of them, and explains:

There are 2 white hats, and 2 black hats. Anytime now, one of you can speak, and tell me the color of his own hat. If he’s right, everyone will be free. On the contrary, if he fails, all of you will stay here until you die. There are only 2 rules: of course, you cannot communicate each one with each other. And only ONE of you can speak.

If you were one of the prisonner, would you solve this case and get free?

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The snake’s bite

Mr Noone is in a dense jungle. For those who may wonder why he is still alive (see Hell or Heaven), let’s just say he made the wrong choice and had to reincarnate :-)

Anyway, while he is trying to find his way out, a strange snake bites him. It is not really painful yet, but Mr Noone starts to feel a little dizzy. Fortunately he manages to find a very small village, and explains what happened to the chief.

The chief tells him that the snake was deadly, and if nothing is done, only death awaits. However, there is a cure: 2 small potions. It doesn’t matter when he drinks the 1st one, but the 2nd one has to be drunk exactly 15 minutes later.

It seems easy, but Mr Noone lost his watch, and there is no such thing in this village. So the chief hands him 2 short threads, and explains:

Those threads will burn in exactly 1h each. However, they won’t burn in an homogeneous way. for instance, it may take only 10 min to burn 90% of one thread, and 50 minutes for the remaining 10%. To sum up, you can’t fold/cut them in 4 to measure the 15 minutes.

So… if you were Mr Noone, would you survive?

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Hell or Heaven’s gate

Mr Noone is back from his little trip (see “Mr Noone and the bears“).

He was walking home from his office, when a giant truck came out of nowhere and completely crush him into a wall. (What a dreadful end!)

When Mr Noone regains consciousness, he notices he is on a path, in a world like he has never seen before. And a voice in his head tells him to keep following the path. He starts his journey, but quickly reach a fork in the path.

He notices both ways leads to a gate. One is black, and the other is white. And there is one angel guarding each way. A white angel stands in front of the black gate, and a black one is in front of the white gate.

The voice in his head tells him he is actually in the purgatory, and since no one can decide if he should go to heaven or burn in hell, they decided to set a little trial. One of the gate leads to heaven, while the other leads to hell. And one of the angel always tells the truth, while the other always lie. Knowing this, he can ask only one question to only one of the angels. The only problem being that Mr Noone doesn’t know which angel is lying.

Of course, both angels know about the gates. However, Mr Noone cannot ask double questions (like “what’s the color of the gate behing you, and by the way, which gate should I use to go to heaven?”)

So… if you where Mr Noone, what would you ask?

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This riddle has been taken from the excellent book “Empire of Ants” from Bernard Werber. If you never heard about him, I strongly recommend you to try at least once. (Ants are great, but so are Thanatonautes and many others)

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Will you find out what’s coming next?

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Mr Noone & the bears

Mr Noone is lost somewhere. He has no map, no water, nothing but a compass. He decides to take a nap, and then think about the way to go.

After waking up, he takes his compass, and start walking south. After approximately 1Km, he changes his mind, and head west, during one more km.

After a short break, he finally decides to head north. He keeps walking 1Km, and noticed… that he just came back to the place he had a nap.

So the question is…

What color are the bears? (and of course, why?)

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