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Einstein's riddle

  1. Jan 12, 2005 #1
    Einstein wrote this riddle last century and said that 98% of the world’s population would not be able to solve it.

    Are you a part of that 98%?

    * There are 5 houses that are each a different colour.

    * There is a person of a different nationality in each house.

    * The 5 owners drink a certain drink. They each smoke a certain brand of cigarettes and also have a certain pet. No owner has the same pet, smokes the same brand of cigarettes nor drinks the same drink.

    The question is. “Who has the fish?”


    1. The British man lives in the red house.

    2. The Swedish man has a dog for a pet.

    3. The Danish man drinks tea.

    4. The green house is to the left of the white house.

    5. The owner of the green house drinks coffee.

    6. The person that smokes Pall Mall has a bird.

    7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.

    8. The person that lives in the middle house drinks milk.

    9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.

    10. The person that smokes Blend, lives next to the one that has a cat.

    11. The person that has a horse lives next to the one that smokes Dunhill.

    12. The one that smokes Bluemaster drinks beer.

    13. The German smokes Prince.

    14. The Norwegian lives next to a blue house.

    15. The person that smokes Blend, has a neighbour that drinks water.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2005 #2
    and yes, i am in those 2% who have been able to solve this problem.

    it took me about 45-50 minutes to solve it.

    if you find out the answer, please do mention the time it took you to solve it.
  4. Jan 12, 2005 #3


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    I've solved this a few years back, I think in 15 to 20 min.
  5. Jan 12, 2005 #4
    This was posted several months ago in the General Discussion forum. I took around 30 minutes, but I think I was only 14 back then. I also solved this problem right before bedtime, and I was really tired - so much for Einstein's claim that only 2% of the world's population will be able to solve this.
  6. Jan 12, 2005 #5
    I found the link. :smile: [URL [Broken] it is.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  7. Jan 12, 2005 #6


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    Don't forget the Flynn effect. We're just a lot smarter than Einstein's generation ! :rofl:
  8. Jan 12, 2005 #7


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    Took me about.. I don't know... 40 minutes or so. Didn't exactly time it.
    I`m more interested in the way all you solved it.
    I basically drew a schematic and noted all the possible pets, nationalities and so in each house, then eliminated possibilities according to the clues till I got the answer.

    It was pretty straightforward, but in one point I could not deduce a step directly from the clues. I had to make an assumption before I continued. After that I got to the answer straight away, so the assumption was apparantly correct. (unless there is more than 1 solution, but I think not).

    So, did any of you had to do this as well? Or could you do without?
  9. Jan 12, 2005 #8


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    I did it entirely in my head. :tongue:

    Just messin' with you... I wonder what sort of IQ it would take to do this entirely in one's head ? I'm guessing upwards of 180 deviation IQ ?
  10. Jan 12, 2005 #9


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    I did a small search on the Flynn effect. Here's what I found:

    This confuses me. The average IQ is DEFINED to be 100.
    Even if people are getting smarter, the average IQ will always be 100.
    It's a relative measure. (Intelligence Quotient).
  11. Jan 12, 2005 #10


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    I find it extremely unlikely that Einstein would waste his time devising silly puzzles like this one.
  12. Jan 12, 2005 #11


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    There are too many variables here for there to be a clear cut answer.

    IQ tests are renormed but not as often as they should be. So a test devised in the 50s and not normed since then will read "high" if an average 21st Century individual is tested. The median value of the test scores would have apparently drifted upwards.

    When a new test is devised, it has to be normed on a current representative population. This means that compared to the older tests, newer tests would tend to read lower but "truer".

    Further complicating the situation is the observation that IQ tests devised 50 years ago test quite different things from the standardised tests of today. Now you have concepts like fluid vs crystallised intelligence, general intelligence, [itex]g[/itex], and "culture-fairness". Modern tests de-emphasise verbal skills and test logical thought and a fair bit of visuospatial skills.

    Interestingly, verbal abilities have, on the whole, fallen compared to the older generation. Tests of verbal "IQ" may show a deficit in modern populations compared to the older ones. However, there seems to have been a compensatory increase in "real" intelligence, related to problem-solving ability. What's even more interesting is that the Flynn effect seems to be more pronounced for highly [itex]g[/itex]-loaded tests that are supposed to be a better measure of true cognition. Hence many people believe the Flynn effect to be real, and due to factors like better in-utero and early childhood nutrition, more stimulating environments, etc. Perhaps even video games play a role. :biggrin:
  13. Jan 12, 2005 #12
    Hmm I figured out one way that it works out... in my head... but thats only if green is right beside white... which it ends being I think anyways I dunno... it worked for me doing this in your head isn't any harder than doing it on paper IMO...
  14. Jan 12, 2005 #13
    It took me 10 minutes roughly
  15. Jan 13, 2005 #14


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    I did this in grade 11 with two friends while we didn't listen in french class. Does that count?
  16. Jan 18, 2005 #15
    Curious- it is entirely solve able
    I worked on it for about 10 min, then me and my friend worked on it for about 10 more min. and got it.

    P.S. You can't expect only 2% of this group to be able to solve it. Remeber, this is a group of people who are interested in physics. And tend to have a higher IQ then the avg person. They also tend to be people who are good problem solvers. (Since most of experimental physics is just that)
  17. Jan 18, 2005 #16


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    I know. :biggrin: I never said only 2 % of this board's population would be able to solve it, I'd say more than half our members would probably be able to do it with ease; in fact, I suspect the proportion of people in the general population that would be able to solve this given an hour would be at least 5 %.

    The Flynn effect is real though, and there I was making a serious point.
  18. Jan 18, 2005 #17
    I think the 98% was just added as a motive . I still haven't met somebody who cannot solve this.
  19. Jan 18, 2005 #18


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    I think 2% is exaggerated.
    Still, about only 2% of the world population has a college education.

    (I`m not implying college education is needed to solve this problem)
  20. Jan 20, 2005 #19
    It took me about one minute to figure it out. *spoiler* I thought, Einstein is German so he probably has the fish, and that is what I got. I also had to make an assumption. An assumption that Noweigen = yellow, or that white is directly next to white. I never completely filled out the whole thing though, once I saw that German was not in spot 1 or 3 I realized it was not a cat, so I stopped there because German had to have the fish.

    I too do not think this is something Einstein really wrote, said, whatever. I think the 98% is bogus, but it is probably correct. Because only losers like us would waste our time working something like this out lol.
  21. Jan 23, 2005 #20
    yeah, i would also like to know that. i have never given an IQ test.

    is there some website where i can give an IQ test.
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