riddle me this

http://www.premiere.com/List/The-Best-and-Worst-Batman-Villains/The-Worst-Bat-Villains-The-RiddlerI created these riddles in honor of my return to the daily grind. The first might be easy, and the second makes little sense. Don’t read the second one until you’ve tried the first one.

1) Bob lives right next to a fire station and a hospital. He has gotten used to the sounds of ambulance and fire truck sirens at all hours. The two sirens are identical. One Saturday, when Bob was finishing his dinner, he heard what sounded like a truck go by, followed a few minutes later by the sound of a siren growing louder. Without looking out his window, Bob knew which type of vehicle had made the siren sound. What was it, and how did Bob know?

2) Rupert lives in a city dumpster tightly sandwiched between a fire station and a hospital. He always hears ambulance and fire truck sirens, and he knows they both sound the same. On February 29th of a leap year, Rupert was spelunking in the dark recesses of his home when he heard a siren. Immediately, before he could see what it was or tell which direction it was headed, he knew which type of vehicle had made the siren sound. What was it, and how did Rupert know?

Continue reading for the answers…

Don’t spoil the surprise without at least thinking a little critically about this!

1) Bob only needed to know that the siren was growing louder in order to make his deduction. A fire truck will use its siren while on the way to a fire, but has no need to sound it once it is returning to the station. Conversely, an ambulance must sound its siren when going either from the hospital to an emergency or returning from the site of the emergency to the hospital. Since the vehicle’s siren was growing louder, it was returning, and must have been an ambulance.

2) For this one, it is important that the two sirens sound the same (which is also true in the first riddle). However, Rupert does not know if the vehicle is coming or going, and he cannot see it, so there is no way for him to distinguish between the two vehicles. Still, knowing what each vehicle sounds like, Rupert would immediately recognize the sound of a third vehicle – one which produced a second, unique sound. That makes the answer the third common siren-producing vehicle in a city – a police car. Of course, for this answer to work, you have to assume that “a police car” is not a correct answer to the first riddle, and that’s somewhat silly.

23 thoughts on “riddle me this

  1. These riddles were okay. Usually the answer need to be a little tighter to really make the solution feel right to the reader. But fun enough. Might I suggest next time not posting the answers in the post so that we could try to guess it in the comment section and so we can make fun of people who are way off?

  2. I did start rambling in that second answer, but I wanted to make sure I explained my line of thinking thoroughly. I also considered not giving the answers, like you suggested. Oh well.

    Did you get them both?

  3. I did get them both, though the first I got correct when I misread it. I thought he heard a truck go by, and later he heard a siren that came from a different vehicle; perhaps saying that a truck went by, crashed, and then the ambulance went out to the scene.

    The second one was easier and was actually where I thought the first one was going before I finished reading the first one.

    Still, keep them coming and maybe one day you’ll have an impressive portfolio for your clients at your dentist office.

  4. Your riddles reminded me of a fun type of puzzle game I used to play after I moved down here. The game is simple, I’ll tell you about something (usually a curious event) and you try to figure out the one solution by asking me only yes or no questions. I can reply with Yes, No, Yes and No, or Unrelated. They’re really fun and work that part of the brain you science types don’t use very much.

    Here’s an example:

    A man lives alone on the 18th floor of his apartment building. Each morning he rides the elevator down to the lobby and exits the building. After work when he returns to his building. He takes the elevator to the 14th floor and walks up the stairs to get back to his apartment. Walking upsets him, and he only doesn’t do this on days when it’s raining. What is this man’s problem?

  5. That truck was intended to be a red herring. Nicely done all the same. I am surprised you found the second one easier.

    I’m not sure I’ll be able to make more. I was just lying in bed trying to fall asleep and I heard some sirens, and this just somehow came to mind. But I’ll keep a look out and maybe something will strike me again.

    Feel free to make some up as well.

  6. Hmmm, I knew there was something wrong before, but I didn’t see it. Here it is again slightly reworded:

    A man lives alone on the 18th floor of his apartment building. Each morning he rides the elevator down to the lobby and exits the building. When he comes back to the building in the evening, he takes the elevator to the 14th floor, gets off and walks up the stairs to get back to his apartment on the 18th floor. This man hates walking, so why does he do this? Also note that when it’s raining, he can ride the elevator all the way up to the 18th floor.

    And “no” to your rain-related trauma question.

    Also, it’s fair to give you example questions to get you thinking on the right track.

    Is it something about the elevator? Is the rain magic? Is the case that the man can only pass through the 15th floor on his way down but not on his way up? Is the building growing in the middle of the day?

    If you take apart the story (which I think I told correctly this time) and think about which piece of the story could be irregular and something to ask about, you’ll see the possible solutions a lot easier.

    And the answers to my examples were: no, no, no, and no.

  7. To Scott: The first one was fairly trivial, but the second one wasn’t as fulfilling. I didn’t get the second one, because I was thinking other things.

    To Austin:

    1) Is he trying to avoid something/somebody which only has needs the elevator?
    2) Is he trying to catch something/somebody which only presents itself on days when it’s not raining?
    3) Is the elevator capable of traveling to the 18th floor on days that aren’t rainy?
    4) Is the man squatting in the building?
    5) Am I to assume he is riding the elevator like a normal person would ride the elevator?

  8. 1) Is he trying to get exercise (since he’d be unable to get his exercise outside on days when it’s raining)?
    2) Does this man have any sort of physical disability that would be pertinent?
    3) Can he fly? Just wondering.

  9. 1)No, remember that he hates walking.

    You sound like you’re on the right track, but know that the solution has to solve every aspect of the problem.

  10. duh.
    he fucking leaves before the sun comes up in the morning.
    the glass elevator is exposed to sun from floors 15 to 18 in the afternoon and he’s fucking alergic to the sun since his mom is a vampire so he has to take the fucking stairs in the afternoon unless its fucking raining and cloudy outside.

  11. Oh yes, I misread the part about the rain and whether or not he takes the stairs, which is why my rock-solid “exercise” theory didn’t work (I had it backwards). I blame Austin’s original “he only doesn’t do this on days when it’s raining” phrasing, and not my own incompetence.

    Your vampire explanation is, then, perfectly sound, providing that neighboring buildings provide shadows for floors lower than 15, or something of the sort.

  12. Vampire? Very nice try, but it’s not quite the correct one.

    For the purpose of getting the answer on this page for everyone to see before this entry is too old, I’m going to tell you the answer.

    The man is a midget (little person). He can press the 1st floor button in the morning, but he cannot press the 18th floor button when he returns home. He can press the 14th floor button though. Thus, he has to walk up to the 18th floor from the 14th floor in the evening.

    He doesn’t have to do this on rainy days, because he can use his umbrella to press the 18th floor button.

    Were you satisfied with the answer? This type of word puzzle is a Lateral Thinking problem. Fun, eh?

    Scwtte was close with his physical disability question. A few more and I think you would have had it.

  13. I’m not sure I ever would’ve gotten around to that. That was quite fun to ponder, though. The umbrella part was perhaps the most difficult (even if I couldn’t figure out the bulk of the answer). Give us another one sometime, in post form.

    It would’ve helped immensely to know that he could go all the way to his floor if someone else was in the elevator with him – that must happen a lot more than rainy days. But where would the fun be in that?

    I finished reading “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” the other night. Spoiler: it turns out an orangutan did it. I never would’ve guessed.

  14. Yeah. For only $9.99 a month.

    I don’t think I would have gotten that little riddle of yours without an example. Maybe I’ll have some better insight next round.

  15. I got a better one. Better than astimus.
    There once was a one-story house. The house was green. The kids were green, the doors were green, the shelf was green, the iPad was green, the iPod shuffle was green, the pencils were green, the eggs and the hams were green. Now, what color r the stairs?

  16. At first I thought, “Why would a one-story house need stairs?” But then I thought, “Well, they’ve been duped by Steve Jobs into buying a useless iPad and iPod shuffle, so they must’ve been duped into buying the iStairs as well.”

    So, naturally, the stairs are made of glass and are extremely slick and fragile.

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