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#1 roolstar

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 10:55 PM

You are on a steam train going for a very long trip accross China.

On this train, there are with you 50 monks going back to their temple on the terminal of the train. (I assume you are not a monk, and if you are, you are a very cool one to be on this forum!)

When the controler came in to check their tickets, he noticed that SOME of them had soot on their faces (their faces were dirty). And of course they cannot feel it.

So he said: "You know, there are cleaning areas at every stop we will make until we arrive. So anybody with soot on his face can have time to get off at any of them, get cleaned up, and come back before the train resumes its trip."

Now these monks are very wise, but they are also EXTREMELY lazy! So lazy in fact that they don't want to get off the train to get cleaned up unless its necessary (if they have dirty faces). They also took vows of silence untill they arrive to their destination, so they cannot say anything to each other. They don't even bother to look for a mirror or something to see their faces with. They don't even want to signal each other in anyway. They can't see their own faces in any of the windows in the train. They donb't even want to put their hands on their faces to check!

In brief, THEY DON'T WANT TO MAKE ANY PHYSICAL EFFORT UNLESS IT'S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY NOR THEY CAN COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER NOR SEE THEIR OWN FACES in any way! They can only THINK and REASON! (Sometimes a more ardeous act for some people BTW)

They can only see each other's faces while maintaining a poker face.

In this particular case there were 5 monks with soot on their faces.

The question for this puzzle is:
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN?
Will they remain dirty? (I promise you they won't)
If not what?

Now I know this is not a very clear question, but remember this is the same situation these monks are in. Plus I will post future hints later on (If you need them of course)...

PS: This is not a lateral thinking puzzle nor a play on words. Just not my style...

Edited by roolstar, 08 February 2008 - 11:02 PM.

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#2 bonanova

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:06 PM

[1] Do the Monks know [or do only we know] that only five of them have soot?
[2] Do the Monks know that at least one of them has soot?
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The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
- Bertrand Russell

#3 roolstar

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:29 PM

[1] Do the Monks know [or do only we know] that only five of them have soot?
[2] Do the Monks know that at least one of them has soot?



[1] NO they don't: It would be very easy in this case, and It certainly won't help me regain my respect as I promised in the Hole in a Sphere earlier...
[2] YES: After all, the controler told them about cleaning areas when he saw their faces.


I'm just glad it's not a very well known puzzle and that the Great Bonanova is working on it!! ;)
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#4 Writersblock

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:06 AM

I must be missing something. If they can see each other's faces, anyone seeing only 4 sooty faces should exit next stop and wash.
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#5 Jkyle1980

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:12 AM

I must be missing something. If they can see each other's faces, anyone seeing only 4 sooty faces should exit next stop and wash.


They DO NOT know that only 5 have dirty faces.
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#6 EventHorizon

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:16 AM

This is very similar to another puzzle that I believe I saw on here a while back.

Spoiler for Those monks are so smart....

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#7 roolstar

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:18 AM

I must be missing something. If they can see each other's faces, anyone seeing only 4 sooty faces should exit next stop and wash.



Your reasonning will be true if they KNEW that there are 5 monks with dirty faces. But they don't: I already answered Bonanova's question about it.

Now the fact that there are 5 dirty monks is just given to make this a little easier to answer!

The fact is, that I could have just as easily said nothing about the number of Monks with dirty faces. (<<< This is also a hint)!!!
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#8 roolstar

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:35 AM

This is very similar to another puzzle that I believe I saw on here a while back.

Spoiler for Those monks are so smart....


Good job!

Which puzzle is that??

Spoiler for Follow-up Question for those who got the answer already

Edited by roolstar, 09 February 2008 - 01:39 AM.

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#9 Jkyle1980

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:40 AM

This is very similar to another puzzle that I believe I saw on here a while back.

Spoiler for Those monks are so smart....


What about:

Spoiler for They know more than you think they know.

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#10 Jkyle1980

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 01:41 AM

Good job!

Which puzzle is that??

Spoiler for Follow-up Question for those who got the answer already


They would all get off the bus at the 6th station thinking there were 6 and they were the sixth.
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