‘It’s terrible!’, said the king. ‘I cannot seem to make the challenges difficult enough to have even one of those damn prisoners eaten! I will give it one more chance, one last challenge, which requires the prisoner to really exercise his thinking!’
The minister, as usual, agreed.
And the king was not exaggerating. The seventh prisoner was not given two, nor three doors to choose from — but no less than nine! The king told him that only one of the rooms hosted a woman. Each of the others might be empty …or host a hungry tiger.
He also said to the prisoner that the sign on the door hiding the woman would be true, those on the doors (if any) hiding a tiger would be lying, and those (if any) leading to an empty room could be either true or false.
Here is what the signs said:
ROOM I: THE WOMAN IS IN A ROOM WITH AN UNEVEN NUMBER
ROOM II: THIS ROOM IS EMPTY
ROOM III: EITHER SIGN V TELLS THE TRUTH, OR SIGN VII IS LYING
ROOM IV: SIGN I IS LYING
ROOM V: SIGN II IS LYING OR SIGN IV TELLS THE TRUTH
ROOM VI: SIGN III IS LYING
ROOM VII: THE WOMAN IS NOT IN ROOM I
ROOM VIII: THIS ROOM HOSTS A TIGER, AND ROOM IX IS EMPTY
ROOM IX: THIS ROOM HOSTS A TIGER, AND SIGN VI IS LYINGThe prisoner looked at the doors, read the signs, and reflected for a long time. He then said, angrily: ‘This challenge cannot be logically solved! That is not fair!’
‘Yes, I know!’, replied the king, laughing.
‘Easy for you to laugh’, said the prisoner and added: ‘At least give me one hint: Is Room VIII empty or not?’
The king was a fair person, and, impressed by the prisoner’s clear-mindedness, he did tell him whether Room VIII was empty or not.
When the prisoner had this answer, he also knew, after quite a bit more thinking, where the woman was hiding.
Which room did he choose?
Take a deep breath, and probably pen and paper, and a bit of time and peace. And do post your answer and how you reached your conclusion. ‘Cause I don’t have the solution anymore…
I hope you have enjoyed these two weeks of logical challenges. And may you find your woman too, or your tiger.