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Neighbors

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Neighbors - Back to the Einstein's Riddles

It is said that this quiz was made up by Albert Einstein and according to him 98% will not solve it.

There is a row of five houses, each having a different color. In these houses live five people of various nationalities. Each of them nurtures a different beast, likes different drinks and smokes different brand of cigars.

1. The Brit lives in the Red house.

2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.

3. The Dane drinks tea.

4. The Green house is on the left of the White house.

5. The owner of the Green house drinks coffee.

6. The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.

7. The owner of the Yellow house smokes Dunhill.

8. The man living in the center house drinks milk.

9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.

10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.

11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.

12. The man who smokes Blue Master drinks beer.

13. The German smokes Prince.

14. The Norwegian lives next to the Blue house.

15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.

Which of the five house owners keeps fish as a pet? (are you one of the 2%).

This old topic is locked since it was answered many times. You can check solution in the Spoiler below.

Pls visit New Puzzles section to see always fresh brain teasers.

Neighbors - solution

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More then 2% get that answer, but Einstein said the true answer is is impossible to get with the given information. While it is true that the German pet is unknown after deducing everything else you are never told that the fifth pet is indeed a fish, you assume it is because you are told that is what your looking for. Only 2% understood that looking for the fish doesn't make the unknown pet a fish.

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I sat here with a peice of paper for maybe 2 minutes, building a little chart like you just showed. Then after I read the entire thing and noticed it says nothing about a fish in the 15 statements and the question at the end does not ask who the possible owner of fish is. or which man keeps fish as pets. It asks "who has fish at home?" Fish can also be food. It is just as logical for me to assume the said fish at home are food as they are the long lost pet.

I probably could have figured out who the unknown was but I quickly came to realize I could never know for sure. My chart was looking much like yours.

I am pretty proud over this one. I had a math teacher way early on, maybe elementary level that would throw in unanswerable questions. The only correct answer was there is not enough information given.

Zebra puzzle:

"There are five houses.

The Englishman lives in the red house.

The Spaniard owns the dog.

Coffee is drunk in the green house.

The Ukrainian drinks tea.

The green house is immediately to the right of the ivory house.

The Old Gold smoker owns snails.

Kools are smoked in the yellow house.

Milk is drunk in the middle house.

The Norwegian lives in the first house.

The man who smokes Chesterfields lives in the house next to the man with the fox.

Kools are smoked in the house next to the house where the horse is kept.

The Lucky Strike smoker drinks orange juice.

The Japanese smokes Parliaments.

The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

Now, who drinks water? Who owns the zebra?

In the interest of clarity, it must be added that each of the five houses is painted a different color, and their inhabitants are of different national extractions, own different pets, drink different beverages and smoke different brands of American cigarettes. One other thing: In statement 6, right means your right."

I get the same unanswerable loop with this version of the story.

They can all five drink water and any one of them could own the zebra (it isn't stated that every man has only one pet. In fact the one man has more than one snail, therefore they are able to have two pets or more)

There are so many ways this question, in all it's variations, just doesn't work. It is a bogus question, desgined to make math nerds bust out scratch paper and a pencil and spead time working out the placement of the unknown variables. When all you have to do is read it. It was meant as a joke I think.

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By the way, the German lives in the fourth house from the left (just assuming this isn't a trick question).

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The term "wild goose chase" comes to mind. Kinda like this is a joke telling you hey go catch me a wild goose. Then setting you loose in a room filled with geese that were raised on a farm for 20 generations.

I am not poking at your english, you obviously are fluent. You probably speak with better grammar than most people that speak english as a first langauge.

After trying this on paper, and then deciding I could not possibly answer the question. I could only answer which man has an unknown pet. I looked at various versions of this riddle in hopes of finding out if my answer was correct. I saw the question asked in about five different ways.

I also saw mention of the question being unanswerable as stated. The only way the actual question can be answered is for assumptions to be made. First off you have to assume the fish is alive. You have to assume the fish is a pet, you have to assume the unknown beast (from the deduction) is the fish.

If you look at the Zebra puzzle on wikipedia, you see that you are told (in the discussion section) you must assume the question means to say something other than actually stated to be able to answer the actual question. To be able to justify working the problem out.

I have no doubt that given these clues you can figure out which man has an unknown animal under his roof. But to assume it is fish is incorrect. Unless the question is worded differently. The correct way to word the question would be something like "Which of the five house owners keeps fish as a pet."

It needs to mention one of the five men somehow, by saying house owner or which house or what color house... It needs to clarify. It must also state in the question the fish are pets and not food.

By simply asking who owns the fish, I could answer in a million ways and never be proved wrong or right. Anyone on the planet could have the fish. The guy in the sixth house could. Maybe the five on the start of the street all have fish in the freezer. It could be a fishing town for all I know.

Again I am not poking at your english. I am just fairly certain this question was meant to be a joke for students. I would say I am 98% sure...

Another way for me to be able to accept the answer is how a person words their answer. Now if someone said "the man with the unknown pet probably keeps fish at home." I could see that as being a fair answer.

But alas the question isn't asking who the probable person is. It doesn't ask for a percentage type of answer it asks for a definant answer. I know that showing a little chart and replacing the word unknown with fish is not a correct answer.

The animal "fish" is also key in this question. As it is both plural and singular, and it could be seen as food.

In the zebra version the same plural/sigular issue comes up. "I could say the zebra of africa are owned by no man." The zebra can mean all the zebras in africa. Not a single zebra on this one street with the five houses.

I hope I made sense with this.

Last but not least, having an animal living with you doesn't make it your pet. Working animals are not considered pets. This question is butchered and makes you assume too much for there to be a correct answer.

Basicly for the question to be answerable you would have to do a lot of rewording from the original.

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I feel really stupid... The first thing i noticed was that the fish wasn't mentioned. But I didn't apply it. Oops.

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I've done a lot of these matrix problems (I call them that because it's easiest to solve them using a matrix setup) in the past. If you're not given enough information, they don't have answers, and this one doesn't have an answer because the last pet doesn't have to be a fish. It could be anything that isn't a dog, bird, cat, or horse. Using an unknown for the pet, you do get the same answer as you posted, but you can't assume that the unknown is fish just because the question is asking for someone who owns fish.

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The fact that the fish is not diretcly linked to the statements does NOT have anything to do with it.

First of all, it was never said there are only five houses, or that every person owned only one pet, drank only one drink, and so on. It was'nt even said the poeple lived in one street.

(given the diverse nationalities, they didn't)

A bigger problem in the question is this: one person is said to live in the FIRST house, while an other lives LEFT of something.

there are four different solutions to this:

[*]the first house is on the left side of a street and the house is directly left of another.[/*:m:2d4b9]

[*]the first house is on the right side of a street and the houses are directly left of eachother.[/*:m:2d4b9]

[*]the first house is on the left side of a street and the hous is left of another with some distance.[/*:m:2d4b9]

[*]the first house is on the right side of a street and the hous is left of another with some distance.[/*:m:2d4b9]

this is obviously assuming the houses don't form a circle;)

And also, only 2% of the people got it right then because most people didn't do logic, didn't learn lineair programming and didn't have computers. They do now.

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This puzzle was not authored by Einstein. See:

[url:83df9]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_puzzle

Actually it says there is no proof that Einstein was the author of the puzzle. He may have been...and maybe he owns the zebra.

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I got it in about 30 minutes. Pretty easy, though im in gifted classes.

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This is solvable with the given information. It is true that you have to make assumptions in order to solve it, but this is a LOGIC PUZZLE, so by definition, you must make assumptions to reach the solution. If the point here were to pick apart the wording, then let us do that.

Based on the wording, one must assume more than the fact that the final beast must be a fish. You must assume that each person does not represent a racial mixture, that "nurture" means "only has this one animal in house", that "drinks" means "only drinks", that "a row of 5 houses" means there are no other houses between them (whether they be dog houses, tree houses or people houses), that "a different color" means each house can have only one color, that “first” means “leftmost”, that “center” means “middle of the row” and not center of the planet, that the language is modern English, that the author is not lying to you, that there is not a genetically engineered dog/cat mix, that it is not Tuesday when everyone moves one house to the left, that the horse did not drink all of the Dane’s tea and the Dane was forced to drink water (used to make tea) and kill his horse in rage, that while the brit was smoking his Pall Mall he did not burn his house down and now lives with his aunt who also happens to be the owner of the Sweed’s house who decided to rent the Sweed’s attic out to her homeless brit nephew (which would put the brit in the white house), etc... I can go on and on here. I hope my point is made, but if it is not, then let me be more clear. Deciding to pick apart the wording of a logic puzzle opens a Pandora’s Box that would logically result in the picking apart of every word of every sentence. If I choose to do this, then I could literally pick apart of every word of every logic puzzle I have ever come across and say I "solved" the puzzle by finding the “hidden” meaning behind the wording. It is true that there are puzzles out there that are designed to lead to outside-the-box thinking in order to find the hidden meaning behind the question stem, but this is clearly not one of them. It is clearly not one of them because there is a solution using the given information that can be reached using simple deductive reasoning. The goal here is to work the puzzle logically and deduce the solution. Allowing yourself to dismiss the solution of the puzzle because you think you found a backdoor through the English language defeats the purpose of the puzzle.

In reality, almost anyone could look at any question and avoid answering it by picking apart the wording. That is a pretty easy thing to do and does not take much time or skill. I can look at every puzzle in every section of this and similar sites and “solve” them all by picking apart the wording, but is that the purpose of these puzzles? Is that challenging? Is that why I am at this site? Of course not. Personally I find it more challenging to work the puzzles. I find that it defeats the purpose to avoid the effort in seeking the intended solution (but of course picking apart the wording does make you feel better if you can’t solve the puzzle the real way).

Hint: If you put together a little solution chart, you will find that the solution requires a lot of the same skills as Sudoku. I was able to get the solution in about 30 minutes... but I have always had a knack for Sudoku style puzzles.

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The entire basis for logic puzzles of this nature is deduction. Assumptions are inherent with deducing a solution. You deduce (based on the question and the givens), and the assumed answer is correct in the puzzles context.

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I would have to say first of all that I enjoyed the working out of the puzzle as a logical challenge. I did find my Sudoku practice helpful in narrowing multiple guesses to a single logical choice.

The wrinkle of assuming that the fish is the otherwise unidentified pet just ads an element of interest that I believe would only be resolved by asking the person who wrote the puzzle ...and even then it’s a bit arbitrary.

As far as the 2% I think that is a sad commentary on our education system(s) today. I do believe that 98% of people would not get the answer. A few of them might be able, but they’d rather go back to the TV or video games than exercise their brains with logic.

When I took logic in college (many years ago) the “professor” had trouble working through proofs much simpler than this problem. The most useful thing I learned in the class was the psychology aspect that I earned more points with the teacher by keeping my mouth shut or giving subtle hints instead of blurting out the answer and making her look dumb.

You guys that have worked out the answer are part of the 2%. Congratulations, you are much needed in a world increasingly ruled by emotion, advertising, and other preprogrammed responses. Just remember that many of our world’s problems are also subtly, often insidiously, confused by inaccurate underlying assumptions. Use your logic skills to recognize and analyze these assumptions (and their alternatives!) to make sure you are attacking the problems accurately.

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4. The Green house is on the left of the White house.

i have to agree with JQST in that the wording on this hint is just too ambiguous to claim only one logical meaning. it seems that the answer hinges on these houses being directly next to each other, and yet there is no good reason to assume that they must be based on the given wording... leading to unnecessary confusion.

this led me to work the problem through once under the aforementioned assumption, and then attempt to do so a superfluous and uneventful second time to be certain that the assumption was requisite for a solution (which it appears to be).

how bout...

4. The Green house is directly on the left of the White house.

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The german bloke. I saw this before, but it was a zebra he had.

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The riddle says that the "green house is on the left of the white house", but it doesn't say its "next" to the the white house, so there is actually more than one way that the houses could have been arranged.

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i cant believe it. i spent over an hour on this thing and was soo happy when it was completed all to find out that i only had one out of 5 right. i really thought i'd b in the 2%

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This puzzle took me a great deal of time but I did figure it out.

You just have too take the time and look at every angle of each question.

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It's ridiculous to say that we should figure out that because there was no fish mentioned in the information given, that we should say there is not enough information. If you're going to be so real-world to say that any may have a fish somewhere in the house or that there may a fish anywhere, then you should also be real-world enough to say that you will join the dots to figure out that the only animal that isn't mentioned elsewhere in the question must be the fish. I think everyone figures out that the fish isn't previously mentioned, and pauses on that, I know I did, but so much else isn't mentioned that you assume for the sake of the question, that's how it is in real life, why would you say that because there is no fish in the information that it might not be the other missing one? People who don't use these assumptions when solving problems are probably not going to have much success at solving many real-life problems, where you have to make many assumptions.

We could all just be stupid and say "No the Brits drink tea, I've seen them, and the Germans are famous for their beer!"

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All those who have the excuse that the reason they couldn't solve the riddle was that the question wasn't clearly expressed are wrong.

Judging that Fish was the fifth pet was but a common sense and a part of the riddle. If you couldn't judge even this, then its not surprising that you aren't in the 2%.

Secondly some claim that the point 'The Green house is on the left of the White house' is misleading, they are also wrong. This point is as clear as a crystal.

Infact even if you don't take Green house to be the next house on the left of White house, still you can find a solution. This solution is different from the solution given in this thread, and i found it and it matches every data in the riddle.

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Personally, I believe the reason why it was believed that 98% of the population would not figure out the solution is due to the fact that the "solution" requires certain assumptions to be made and agreed upon. The issue isn't that only 2% of the population could follow the logic and deduce an answer to the problem. It's that only 2% of the population could agree upon the assumptions being made and therefore reach a reasonable conclusion to the problem. The fact that there are two viable solutions to this puzzle based on different assumptions lends to the fact that the assumptions must be agreed upon for either solution to be considered valid. The fact that so many people have picked this puzzle apart and came to the conclusion that there is no answer is testament to this.

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house 1 house 2 house 3 house 4 house 5

Norwegian German brit dane swede

bird fish horse cat dog

coffee water milk tea beer

pall mall prince blends dunhill blue masters

green blue red yellow white

i don't understand what the previous posts mean about it cant be solved with the given information?

don't know when the next time ill be on this site will be but if someone could shed some light on why its not solvable or if i did it wrong i would appreciate it.

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to brainiac:

The simple answer is that there are two groups of people. Group one will not be able to solve it correctly. Group two will be able to solve it correctly. So if you ask someone who is in group one, they will tell you there is no solution or multiple solutions. If you ask someone from group two, they will tell you there is a "correct" solution.

GROUP ONE: Some people enter sites like this under the premise that all of the puzzles are designed to use evasive wording to trick you or lead you towards the wrong solution. These are the people who are leaving posts saying they solved this puzzle another way or that it cannot be solved.

GROUP TWO: Some people enter sites like this under the premise that some of the questions represent the type of puzzle described in the "GROUP ONE" paragraph and some represent logic puzzles. These people think that question stems in the logic puzzles are meant to be taken literally and worked through logically (even if the wording is not perfect). These are the people who are saying that this puzzle is solvable. Personally, I am in the second group (see my previous post on page 2).

Regarding THIS puzzle, it seems pretty clear that the wording was meant to be taken literally and not meant to be deceptive or open to extensive interpretation. This seems clear because if you do take the wording literally there is a solution that basic deductive reasoning will lead you to - as you discovered.

Personally, I do not fully understand the reasons why the people in the first group choose to avoid solving the puzzle through its intended process. I suspect that a proportion of the people in the first group are choosing to view the question stem in logic puzzles (like this one) as open to extensive interpretation because it allows them to avoid the failure from being unable to solve them. So instead of saying "I can't solve this one," or "I'll come back later and try harder," they say "well, I haven't been able to solve it [the right way], so perhaps I can find a flaw in the wording, say there is no solution, make myself feel better, and go on with my life avoiding a failure here." I also suspect that there is a proportion of the people in the first group who honestly just don't get the diffference between the types of puzzles that have wording which is meant to be open to extensive interpretation and the types of puzzles that have wording which is not meant to be open to extensive interpretation. Regardless of the reasons why people in group one choose to view these logic puzzles the way they do, it seems pretty clear that they are convinced that they are right and are unwilling or unable to receive information presented in postings such as this one.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion.

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to brainiac:

The simple answer is that there are two groups of people.

.....

I hope this clears up some of the confusion.

Quite right. But this is an old result, first popularized by K Barth.

BARTH'S DISTINCTION.

There are two types of people:

those who divide people into two types and those who do not.

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