Re: Riddles (was: Lateral Thinking)

From: Dale Johnstone (
Date: Fri Jan 05 2001 - 14:19:46 MST

I previously wrote:

> Ok, try this one:
> There are two locked boxes, an old and younger brother;
> The keys to each, are inside the other;
> To cheer up the ozzy, I leave a copy of 'The Spike';
> Of which you're free to use, in any way you like;
> To keep him smiling, I promise no meta-tricks;
> No Eliezer Yudkowsky's, xgl's, or tooth picks;
> Now all that remains, is for me to ask;
> How do I open each box, and complete the task?
> It's actually quite an easy one. I request that Eliezer and xgl sit this
> out to give others a shot at it. You're both free to respond privately
> though.

I expected someone would guess this pretty quickly, but only Eliezer has
attempted it. He gave the following answer:

>1) Take the key from A.
>2) Using the key from A, unlock B.
>3) Take the key from B.
>4) Using the key from B, unlock A. Be sure to do this before Step 1.

While technically correct in a minimal sense, I can't declare him winner
because he does not explain how the apparent paradox was evaded. I need a
glowing lightbulb 'aha!' type answer. I'm pretty sure Damien would have
roasted me otherwise.

Here's a couple of clues: The boxes are real wooden boxes with locks built
into them, but they are not the same size.

Only the first 2 lines are really relevant to the puzzle. They rest is
mainly to distract you and to tease Damien.

Eli & xgl: feel free to join in publically.

Apologies to anyone who maybe found the puzzle added to the noise. I will
post the solution next Friday and be done with it.

Dale Johnstone.
AI Researcher.

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