Riddle in a mono-alphabetic code




I have been given a question which consists of a riddle in a mono-alphabetic code - it is a question that is part of our crytography section. Now I have decoded the riddle. But I am not sure if I have solved the riddle.

Here is the riddle I decoded:

A small circus has a certain number of horses and riders. Between them there are 50 fet and 18 heads. In addition, the circus has some jungle animals that have, altogether, 11 heads and feet. There are twice as many four-footed jungle animals as there are two-footed jungle animals. How many horses, riders, and jungle animals are in the circus?

You should have little difficulty determining that there are 7 horses and 11 riders. But when you try to solve for the number of jungle animals, you may be surprised to find that you encounter a negative number. Solve the problem by ridding yourself of an unwarrented assumption.

Now I didn't have to try hard to figure out a solution:

One way to solve this question was just to count the number of heads. Since there are 11 heads, there must be 11 jungle animals. Therefore there are 7 horses, 11 riders, and 11 jungle animals.

Another way was to say that there are 7 horses, 11 riders, 2 four-footed jungle animals, 1 two-footed animal, and an animal with no legs (Is that the unwarranted assumption? I don't know.)

I can't think of any animals with no legs though. A snake perhaps? Or is a reptile considered an animal? A whale? I recall that whales are mammals. Would a mammal be considered an animal? And if it is a whale, what the heck would a whale be doing in a circus much less a small circus.

Any way, comments on my solution would be appreciated.

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Yesss, sssnakess are animalss!


You're spending way too much time in this forum Hurkyl. I think its time for a break.


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