A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
When I was in high school, we once had a substitute teacher who wasn’t very interested in Grade 10 math — but he had a puzzle. He gave each of us a copy and told us to solve it. I did – in my third year of university. It took me five years because, at the end of the hour, when no one had solved the puzzle, he told us he’d give us the answer the next day — but the next day never came. Our regular teacher got over his hangover and came back to plague us with his boring rendition of “X plus Y equals who cares,” and we never saw the sub again. I went on to a life strangely devoid of algebra, Mr. Wilson (not his real name) probably drank himself to death and that faceless substitute teacher joined my personal Pantheon of favourite people. He showed me, at a very young age, that the mind is a muscle and if you don’t exercise it, it gets flabby.
This puzzle has been attributed to Albert Einstein and it has been claimed that only 2% of the population can solve it. I doubt it. It’s rather simple, actually, once you discover the key. There is no trick to it; it’s pure reason. However, there is a method – and that’s the key. I’ve updated it slightly for the 21st century but other than that it’s the same puzzle I was given [mumble, mumble] years ago. Now, it’s your turn to give it a try. Good luck! (I’ll give you the answer next Friday — unless Mr. Wilson comes back from the grave.)
From the clues below, deduce who drinks water and who owns the zebra.
1 – The Englishman lives in the red house.
2 – The Spaniard owns a 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 man who owns snails drives a Buick.
7 – The man in the yellow house drives a Cadillac.
8 – Milk is drunk in the middle house.
9 – The Norwegian lives in the first house.
10 – The man who drives a Ford lives next to the man who owns a fox.
11 – The house with the Cadillac is next to the house with the horse.
12 – The man who drives the Chevrolet drinks orange juice.
13 – The man from Japan drives a Dodge.
14 – The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.