Many years ago, I taught folklore at a summer camp(we had new campers each week of different ages, from 8-15). At the time, the folklore class was pretty unstructured, so I could more or less do as I pleased. Sometimes I told ghost stories, sometimes sports games, sometimes mythology, whatever I thought might be entertaining to the kids. One of the most useful things we did was two minute mysteries, as they allowed me to be lazy.

The basic rules are as follows: a scenario is laid before the people playing, and you're allowed to ask as many yes/no questions as you like to determine the answer. The answer to the question may also be 'Irrelevant' if it has no bearing on the solution.

I request the following :

* One question per post

* If you already know the answer, please keep it to yourself and let others play. Same with Googling the answer.

Once the scenario is solved, the person who solves it gets to post a new one OR they can pass it back to someone else who's interested (FYI, I'm happy to post more).

So here's the first scenario:

A man is found dead, surrounded by 52 bicycles. What happened?

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JD DeLuzio said:

Is she looking at her late husband on the TV?

Is she looking at his remains in, say, the form of ashes in an urn?

Yes, that's the answer. You're up J.D.

JD DeLuzio said:

Is she looking at his remains in, say, the form of ashes in an urn?

I'm tapped out, but someone will be able to work out this oldie. I'll try and prepare something for the next time I get the answer.

The power is out in my house this morning, and I need to find a pair of matching socks and a pair of matching shoes. I am too lazy to get a flashlight. The dresser is in a dark corner of the room, and no light from the window reaches it. I have to carry the items to the window-light.

I don't want to carry the entire drawer to a window, because reasons.

 I need to find two socks that match and two shoes that match. I don't care if the socks match the shoes.

There are ten pairs of socks and ten pairs of shoes in the drawer. Five pairs of each are white; the other five pairs of each are black. I can wear any sock on either foot, and any two of the same colour will match. Shoes are not quite so interchangeable. A pair must be a left shoe and a right shoe -- but any such pair of the same color will work.

If I pull out socks at random, what is the minimum number I can pull out to guarantee that when I carry them over to the light, I will find a pair among them?

If I pull out shoes at random, what is the minimum number I need to ensure a pair?

How does the answer change if I can feel the shoes to determine if they are left or right shoes before pulling them out?

This may be an oldie, but I've only previously encountered one third of it, the question about socks.  So, under the original terms of the thread, I guess I shouldn't answer that part of the puzzle.

The two questions about shoes are unfamiliar, so I'll have a go at solving them.

If you can't tell a left shoe from a right by touch, it's possible (albeit unlikely) to pick 10 individual shoes and still not have a pair.  This is the maximum number of shoes you can have without finding a pair.  It can happen in 4 ways:

  1. You have 5 left whites & 5 left blacks
  2. You have 5 right whites & 5 right blacks
  3. You have 5 left whites & 5 right blacks
  4. You have 5 left blacks & 5 right whites

In any of these cases, the 11th shoe you pick is guaranteed to make a pair, so 11 is the minimum number of shoes you need to grab to be certain you have a pair.

If you can tell left from right by touch, the technique is to grab 6 left shoes (say), and one right.  The left shoes are guaranteed to have at least one of each colour, so the right shoe must make up a pair.

Finally, there is another answer to the final part of the puzzle if you have sufficient self-confidence.  You simple grab a left and a right shoe, and wear them anyway.  If they match, no problem.  If they don't match, and anyone points that out, you simply say that they are a pair, and you've got several other pairs just like them at home.

Since the “socks” answer is simple, let us say you have correctly answered this one. Also, you brought to mind something that happened when I was a teen. I did end up with mismatched socks once, and when someone noticed, I gave something like your answer— I have another pair like them at home.

The answer to the socks part of the puzzle is three.  Two socks could be BB, BW or WW, so might not be a pair.  Take one more, and you have BBB, BBW, BWW or WWW, from any of which you can make a pair.

Next puzzle...

It's been another stressful day at the small company branch office I run, and I haven't even had time to look at today's batch of messages from head office.  I'm overworked and understaffed, spending all my time dealing with one crisis after another.  By early afternoon, things finally quieten down enough for me to dash out to get a sandwich for lunch.  Before I go, I call up head office to enquire about progress on getting the assistant manager they've been promising for months.  No-one is answering in HR, so, frustrated, I leave them a two-word voicemail: "I quit!"

A month later, I'm delighted to have a new assistant manager, with whose help the work is well under control.

Are you manager at a new place, with an assistant manager?


JD DeLuzio said:

Are you manager at a new place, with an assistant manager?

I can think of a lot of comical responses to this, but my actual question is: "Did not leaving a name make HR fear someone much higher up than yourself was quitting?"

Nice thought!  No.

Lee Houston, Junior said:

I can think of a lot of comical responses to this, but my actual question is: "Did not leaving a name make HR fear someone much higher up than yourself was quitting?"

Is the product or service the company makes important? 

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