Friday, 26 April 2013

Friday brain stretching


There's no day like Friday when we're more in need of a little assistance to get the brain going. So here's a little mental challenge to get you going for the day.


A man stands in the centre of a large field. There four horses in the field, one at each corner - a bay horse, a chestnut horse, a white horse and a black horse. For reasons we needn't go into, the man has to kill his horses.

If he must remain at the centre of the field, the horses stay at the four corners and he is a perfect shot, how can he make sure that none of his horses remain alive using only three bullets?

Don't read any further until you've attempted an answer. If you get one quickly, there are at least three solutions - try for another.

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Last chance to consider your answer.
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One solution is that only three of the four horses are his, so he only needs to shoot three to make sure that none of his horses remain alive. A second is that one of his horses was already dead of the terrible disease that was about to claim the others - hence his need to shoot them. A third is that the white horse was a chalk carving and had never been alive. There are more possibilities too.

Apart from the creative exercise in coming up with a solution, there is an interesting lesson here. We are conditioned from an early age to expect a single right answer to a problem. Often in reality there are many potential right answers, something that those whose careers depend on creativity forget at their peril.

Any thoughts on other solutions to the problem?

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