Friday, February 21, 2014

Practice Lateral Thinking with Riddle # 1:The Liar and Honest Village (The Question)

Riddles are fantastic ways to practice lateral thinking!

If you've heard riddles, you've probably heard the one about the liar's village and honest village. But allow me to remind you anyways:
Somewhere there lies a pair of villages. The first village is called "Honest Village" where all of its inhabitants always tell the truth. The second village is called "Liar Village" where all its inhabitants always tell lies.
One day, you are walking towards the village and run into a fork in the road. One road leads to the Honest Village, while the other leads to the Liar Village, but you are unsure which road leads to which village.
However, there is a guard at the fork- who is willing to answer 1 question. You are uncertain which village he is from, but wish to know the location of each village.
What do you ask?
I realize there are a multitude of variations of this puzzle, and you have probably heard them before. But I decided to go with a rather bare bones version with a single guard (I believe the first version I heard had two guards).
Anyways, rather than jumping straight in and thinking of a multitude of questions, we should probably observe the possibilities.
  • The guard could be from the Honest Village, or from the Liar Village
  • The Liar Village could be on the right, or it could be on the left
  • The Honest Village could be on the left, or on the right
  • The two villages can't be in the same direction
So lets just think of a rather commonly asked question:
"Which way to Honest Village?"
Suppose the answer was: Honest Village on the right, Liar Village on the left. Here's how it would look:
  • If the guard was a liar, he would say "Left"
  • If the guard was honest, he would say "Right"
This isn't a useful response for the person who wants to go to Honest Village. Since you are unsure whether the guard is from Liar village or from Honest village, you won't be able to say for certain which direction lies Honest Village.
That's all the hints I can give you without starting to walk you through to the answer. If you really are stumped, perhaps you can start reading the walkthrough.

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