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Discrete Reasoning Puzzles

These puzzles require sharp, logical thinking. Can you solve them?


Isaac and Albert were excitedly describing the result of the Third Annual International Science Fair Extravaganza in Sweden. There were three contestants, Louis, Rene, and Johannes. Isaac reported that Louis won the fair, while Rene came in second. Albert, on the other hand, reported that Johannes won the fair, while Louis came in second.

In fact, neither Isaac nor Albert had given a correct report of the results of the science fair. Each of them had given one correct statement and one false statement. What was the actual placing of the three contestants?



At a family reunion were the following people: one grandfather, one grandmother, two fathers, two mothers, four children, three grandchildren, one brother, two sisters, two sons, two daughters, one father-in-law, one mother-in-law, and one daughter-in-law. But not as many people attended as it sounds. How many were there, and who were they?



97 baseball teams participate in an annual state tournament. The champion is chosen for this tournament by the usual elimination scheme. That is, the 97 teams are divided into pairs, and the two teams of each pair play against each other. The loser of each pair is eliminated, and the remaining teams are paired up again, etc. How many games must be played to determine a champion?



Your sock drawer contains ten pairs of white socks and ten pairs of black socks. If you're only allowed to take one sock from the drawer at a time and you can't see what color sock you're taking until you've taken it, how many socks do you have to take before you're guaranteed to have at least one matching pair?



A man is the owner of a winery who recently passed away. In his will, he left 21 barrels (seven of which are filled with wine, seven of which are half full, and seven of which are empty) to his three sons. However, the wine and barrels must be split so that each son has the same number of full barrels, the same number of half-full barrels, and the same number of empty barrels. Note that there are no measuring devices handy. How can the barrels and wine be evenly divided?



What's the largest amount of money you can have in change and still not have change for a dollar?



What's the largest number of U.S. coins you can have without having even change for a dollar?



A man goes out for a walk. He walks south one mile, east one mile, and north one mile, and ends up in the same place he started. He didn't start out at the north pole -- so where did he?



A mountain goat attempts to scale a cliff sixty feet high. Every minute, the goat bounds upward three feet but slips back two. How long does it take for the goat to reach the top?



You have three boxes of fruit. One contains just apples, one contains just oranges, and one contains a mixture of both. Each box is labeled -- one says "apples," one says "oranges," and one says "apples and oranges." However, it is known that none of the boxes are labeled correctly. How can you label the boxes correctly if you are only allowed to take and look at just one piece of fruit from just one of the boxes?