Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cambridge Incident Puzzle

Here is a puzzle that is believed to be invented by Albert Einstein as a boy. But don't be fooled by his young age - it is a very hard one!
I adapted it to a contemporary times and local coordinates.

On a single street in Cambridge, MA, stand five houses where live five professors who were all born in different countries: England, Spain, Ukraine, Norway and Japan. All they houses stand in a row, the other part of the street is a park. On April 15th one of the professors found a dead fish in the envelope in his mailbox. Pet shop owner told that one of this professor's neighbors bought this fish alive a few days ago but he didn't remember who exactly. Local police started investigating who was the owner of this fish and therefore responsible for the prank, but kept it very private as high profile people were involved. Here are some pieces of information we were able to fish from the local papers about this street's residents:

1. The Englishman lives in the red house.
2. The Spaniard owns the dog.
3. Coffee is drunk in the green house.
4. The Ukrainian drinks tea.
5. The green house is immediately to the right of the ivory house.
6. The Ford driver owns the snail.
7. A Toyota owner lives in the yellow house.
8. Milk is drunk in the middle house.
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house to the left.
10. The man who drives the Chevy lives in the house next to the man with the fox.
11. A Toyota is parked next to the house where the horse is kept.
12. The Dodge owner drinks orange juice.
13. The Japanese owns a Porsche.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

Can you figure out who owned the fish from this information only?

Submit your answer on our Family Puzzle Marathon Be first to solve three puzzles and get a prize!


Kim said...

This is "Who Owns the Zebra", which I remember solving as a kid, a lengthy and fun puzzle... It would be cheating to solve it here, but I want you to know this is probably my favorite all-time puzzle. -Kim

Anonymous said...

Never heard it before. Great. The owner of the fish is .... (drum roll please) ... the professor who found it in his mailbox!

But I have no idea who WAS the owner of the fish before that. Maybe the pet store owner, who certainly DID own it at one time.

Dennis said...

After my wife sent this to me, I spent about three hours on it. I believe it was the professor from Japan.

Maria said...

Well, we'll give Dennis one puzzle point for correct answer. But we all are dying to know the explanation. Three puzzle points for anyone who could explain how to solve this one!

Anonymous said...

Based on the table below, I believe the only person to have the fish would have been the ukranian.

norwegian ukranian japanesespaniard englishman
car dodge toyota porshe chevy ford
color yellow blue ivory green red house
drink oj tea milk cofee ?
animal horse fox dog snail

Dennis said...

House 1 House 2 House 3 House 4 House 5

Norway Ukraine Engalnd Spain Japan
Yellow Blue Red Ivory Green
Fox Horse Snail Dog Fish
Water Tea Milk OJ Coffee
Toyota Chevy Ford Dodge Porsche

This is the result of three hours of table building and assumption checking.

I could email the .pdf of my table if you'd like to see how it progressed.

Maria said...

Sorry, Dennis, I thought you solved it years ago, like Kim, and just remembered that Japanese is the fish owner. If it is a brand new solution and the result of three hours of work - Wow - you definitely deserve all three puzzle points. In fact, you should consider yourself to be one of the smartest people on Earth. Einstein himself believed that only about 2% of the population could solve this puzzle. Not sure whether this is true but it is definitely very easy to get lost in the logic of all 14 clues.

Here is the table with Dennis's solution and verification that all 14 clues work.


Here is the table with Anonymous's solution and verification that 2 out of 14 clues do not work.

Maria said...

Dennis - please email me your address to get a prize! maria at marialando dot com

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