Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
January 2021
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4 guesses to The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker’s Dilemma


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  • Howard

    If the first guy to look had seen two black hats, he would have known he was wearing a white hat. But he could not give that answer because it he did not see two black hats, and his own hat could be white or black and he does not want to guess..

    The second guy when he looks knows that the first guy must have seen at least one white hat. And if he himself sees two black hats, he knows his is white. And if he sees one black hat he knows his is white. But, if he sees two white hats, his own hat could be be black or white and he does not want to guess..

    The third guy knows all of the above. He is certain the first guy did not see two black hats, so his could not be certainly white, and guys 1 and 2 both saw at least 1 white hat. No-one sees two black hats. No-one sees a secure answer, and since there is none, he who gets free is the one who figures out that since no-one has has a logically secure answer, and the only way that can happen is for all the hats to be white.

  • Togram

    The Candlestick Maker knows his cap has a white feather. The other 2 saying they didn’t know means they saw a black and a white feather, knowing that theirs could be either one. If they’d seen two blacks, then they would know theirs was white, as there were only 2 blacks presented in the first place….but they didn’t.
    The Butcher and the Baker had black feathers.

  • Keegan

    It’s impossible to deduct what the Butcher and Baker’s cap colour is, however the Baker being unsure means that the Candlestick Maker’s cap is not black. Here’s why:

    Since the Butcher is unsure, no more than one of the other caps is black, so they could be both white, or only one can be black.

    If the Baker knows that only one cap could be black, or both of them white between the Baker and Candlemaker, and he sees that the Candlemaker’s cap is black, then he would know that his is white. He is unsure however, meaning that the Candlemaker’s cap is not black.

    So the Candlestick maker whispered that his cap’s feather is white.

  • Aaron

    The candlestick maker knew the king was testing him. 1(: He would not have received a blindfold if the king truly believed he was blind. Futhermore, though the butcher and the baker both saw at least one white feather, then the candlestick maker would not necessarily know if his feather was a particular color, even if he did see (maybe the butcher and the baker both saw the candlestick maker with the white feather). However, what we can conclude is that despite not knowing his own feather color, the candlestick maker was certain the king was testing him. 2(: Why involve the candlestick maker at all if he “couldn’t possibly be in a position to answer?”