This page is somewhat inspired by Tim's 50 good puzzles. Apparantly I have sent him far too many recently to put on his page so I'm putting them up here instead.
Disclaimer: Before anyone else says "This guy's obsessed with strippers!" I should point out that it was Tim's idea. I noticed while compiling this list that the protagonist in a large proportion of puzzles is "a farmer". So then I was going to have them all have a farmer but I thought that was too boring. Then I thought "a mathematician" but while that's fine for other mathematicians it will put off a lot of normal people. So Tim came up with the great line "I know: a stripper!" It's catchy. It's original. And a stripper is isomorphic to a farmer (and to a mathematician) anyway!
1. A stripper walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a glass of water. The bartender pulls a shotgun from behind the counter and points it directly at her. She politely says "Thank you." and walks out. Explain.
2. A stripper pushes her car up in front of a hotel and instantly knows that she is bankrupt. How?
3. A census taker calls to a stripper's house. When she answers he asks her how many children she has. She has 3, which she tells him. He then asks how old they are. She replies "If you multiply all of their ages together then you get 72." The census taker thinks about this for a minute and says "I need more information than that." So the stripper says "If you add up the ages of my children then you get the number of the house here." The census taker looks at the number of the house and thinks some more. After a while he says "I'm sorry, I still need more information." The stripper says "My oldest son is upstairs playing the piano." The census taker says "Thank you." and walks away. How old are her children?
4. A stripper lies on her deathbed surrounded by her 5 sons. The only possesion she has in the world is a square field. She wishes to leave her eldest son a quarter (1/4) of the field as shown.
*****fffff *****fffff Hey
*****fffff *****fffff look,
*****fffff *****fffff another
*****fffff *****fffff field.
*****fffff *****fffff I
ffffffffff ffffffffff bet
ffffffffff ffffffffff nobody
ffffffffff ffffffffff finds
ffffffffff ffffffffff this
ffffffffff ffffffffff one!
(Where the *'s denote the portion of the field bequeathed to the eldest son.)
The other 4 sons are to be given equal shares of the remaining L-shaped piece of the field. Each part has to have the same area and the same shape. How is it done?
5. A stripper goes to the market and buys a fox, a duck and a sack of grain. On her way home a river has magically appeared blocking her path. There are no bridges. Nor is there anyone to help her. There is a boat on the near bank that is large enough to hold the stripper and one of her purchases. However, if she leaves the fox and the duck on the same side unattended the fox will eat the duck. And if she leaves the duck alone with the grain then the duck will eat the grain. How can she get everything across to the other side of the river?
6. A stripper is walking along a path in the desert. Up ahead she notices that the path forks and diverges in two completely separate directions. She knows that one path leads to certain death as it leads further into the desert. However, the other path leads to an oasis/shopping-mall/strip-joint/helipad/whatever/thing-better-than-certain-death. Unfortunately she does not know which is which. (She lost her map.) Standing in the vicinity are two local tribesmen. She recognises from the way they are dressed that they are from the two different local tribes. The members of one tribe always tell the truth. The members of the other tribe always lie. Unfortunately she does not know which of these is which either. (She also lost her guide book.) The custom in the country is that she is allowed to ask one question, and only one question, when she approaches them. What does she say?
7. (A variation on #6) The stripper is in the exact same setup as in puzzle 6, except that this time she cannot tell from their clothing whether or not the two tribesmen are from the same tribes or different tribes. (i.e. The could both lie, both tell the truth or 1 and 1.) What question does she ask?
8. (Another variation on #6, but also a variation on #11) The stripper is in the exact same setup as in puzzle 11, except that this time there are 3 tribesmen standing there. Again she cannot tell who or how many are from either tribe. What question does she ask?
9. (The antepenultimate variation on #6) What if there are N tribesmen there? Again, the stripper cannot tell who is from what tribe.
10. (Yet another variation on #6) There is only one man standing at the fork in the path. The stripper cannot tell what tribe he is from. Is there any question that she can ask in order to find the safe route?
11. A stripper lies on her deathbed in a small village in the desert. She owns all 17 camels in the village and would like to leave them to her 3 sons when she dies. The eldest son is to be given one half (1/2) of all the camels. The middle son is to get one third (1/3) of the herd. Her youngest son is bequeathed one ninth (1/9) of the camels. The 3 sons are quite confused about their mother's wishes and cannot find a way respect them. They spend many weeks thinking and arguing about a solution. One day, as the arguing is about to become violent, a wandering nomad rides into the village and solves their problem. How?
12. A stripper hands you a perfectly square piece of paper and a scisors. She tells you to divide it into 5 pieces of equal area without using a ruler or a compass. Can it be done? If so, how? If not, why?
13. (A variation on #5) The stripper is in the exact same setup as in puzzle 5, except that this time the fox is a magical, omnivorous, hungry fox and will eat the grain (as well as the duck) if the stripper is not around to stop it. How can she get everything across to the other side of the river?
14. A stripper divides £1,000,000 between her sons. How much money does each son get?
15. (Technically this would count as 5 distinct puzzles, but I'm not going to bother typing them out.) Suppose that if a tribesbaby is born of parents who come from the two different tribes described then he tells the truth every second day and lies the rest of the time. If the tribesmen in puzzles 6-10 could potentially be one of these cross-breeds (as well as pure truth-tellers and pure liars) then is there any question the stripper can ask in order to find the safe path?
19. Trains leaving station A only go to station B. A single from A to B costs £3. A return from A to B and back again costs £5. A stripper walks into train station A for the first time in her life. She goes up to the counter and hands the cashier £5. Without either of them saying a word she is given a return ticket and leaves happy. How did the cashier (who moonlights as a stipper) know what she wanted?
20. A stripper asks you "How many terms are there in the simplest form of (x-a)*(x-b)*(x-c)*...*(x-z)?" What is the answer?
21. A stripper is walking a dog down the road while carrying a loaf of bread and a small guitar. What the odd one out of the following list is: 15, 17, 19, 21, 25, 27?
22. If a stripper solved the following puzzle, how would she do it?