The puzzle is a coin-picking game, with the usual aim of taking the last coins, but the unusual condition of having two coin stacks:
Most of the Classics look too difficult for me to be able to solve, but this week’s looked like I could approach it. No code required, either.
Here’s the question:
Five friends … are playing the … Lottery, in which each must choose exactly five numbers from 1 to 70. After they all picked their numbers, the first friend notices that no number was selected by two or more friends. Unimpressed, the second friend observes that all 25 selected numbers are composite (i.e., not prime). Not to be outdone, the third friend points out that each selected number has at least two distinct prime factors. After some more thinking, the fourth friend excitedly remarks that the product of selected numbers on each ticket is exactly the same. …
What is the product of the selected numbers on each ticket?
There might be a neat, elegant way of solving this, but I chipped away at it bit by bit.
Take a standard deck of cards, and pull out the numbered cards from one suit (the cards 2 through 10). Shuffle them, and then lay them face down in a row. Flip over the first card. Now guess whether the next card in the row is bigger or smaller. If you’re right, keep going.
If you play this game optimally, what’s the probability that you can get to the end without making any mistakes?
I got nowhere when I tried visualising this as a decision tree. Too wide and deep for me to understand it. Then I did the sensible thing, and broke it down into simpler problems. I also tried staying away from Excel for a while, a new one for me!
EDIT: I have a better answer, but had too much help to claim it as my own! See the first comment.
I have a sort-of answer to this week’s Riddler Classic. Probably not the exact answer sought, but it’s further than I usually get!
Say you have an “L” shape formed by two rectangles touching each other. These two rectangles could have any dimensions and they don’t have to be equal to each other in any way. (A few examples are shown below.)
Using only a straightedge and a pencil (no rulers, protractors or compasses), how can you draw a single straight line that cuts the L into two halves of exactly equal area, no matter what the dimensions of the L are? You can draw as many lines as you want to get to the solution, but the bisector itself can only be one single straight line.