Sunday, May 14, 2006


The graphic above depicts four men, buried up to their necks, about to get shot by a firing squad (ah, the poor souls).

'A' is facing the wall from the left, the other 3 (B, C, D) are facing the wall from the right. They know they are 3 on one side and 1 on the other. They are also lined up in a straight line and cannot see around or through the wall.

They had their hats put on at night and so they do not know what color of hat they are wearing; but they know there are four men altogether and that two of them are wearing a white hat and two a black one.

In order to for all of them to avoid being shot, one of them must call out to the executioner the color of THEIR hat. If they get it wrong, they will all be shot. They are not allowed to talk to each other, nor is there any other form of communiciation.

They have 5 minutes to figure it out.

After two minutes of silence:

Which one them calls out their hat color?

Why is he certain of the color of his hat?

This is not a trick question. They cannot move. They are buried in a straight line. A & B can only see their respective views of the wall, C can see B, and D can see B & C.

Give Up?


Man 'A' certainly can't see anything, so it's up to the other three.

Man 'B' can't see much of anything either so he doesn't have a clue.

Man 'D' can see the two in front of him if he strains his neck a bit, but he knows that there are four of them in total with two wearing black and two wearing white hats. He sees one of each in front of him and therefore isn't certain which color his is. If he saw two of any color in front of him, then he'd obviously know his was an opposite color. But there aren't, there is one of each. So he keeps quiet.

Meanwhile, man 'C' can only see one color in front of him - white - and he initially isn't certain of his color either. But time goes on and he figures that if the man behind him saw two of the same color he'd have yelled out his color by now, but two minutes have gone by and it's quiet enough to hear a pin drop.

At this time he realizes that since man 'D' isn't certain then he must be seeing one of each color and it therefore stumped as to his own color.

So..... Man 'C,' after two minutes figures that if man 'D' is seeing one of each and he (man 'C') can see a white hat in front of him then he is most certainly wearing a black hat and yells it out....

Man 'C' saves the day.

Couldn't you just shoot yourself for not figuring that out??

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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