1000 poisioned wine bottle and king’s celebration puzzle
You are the ruler of a medieval empire and you are about to have a celebration tomorrow. The celebration is the most important party you have ever hosted. You’ve got 1000 bottles of wine you were planning to open for the celebration, but you find out that one of them is poisoned.
The poison exhibits no symptoms until death. Death occurs within ten to twenty hours after consuming even the minutest amount of poison.
You have over a thousand slaves at your disposal and just under 24 hours to determine which single bottle is poisoned.
You have a handful of prisoners about to be executed, and it would mar your celebration to have anyone else killed.
What is the smallest number of prisoners you must have to drink from the bottles to be absolutely sure to find the poisoned bottle within 24 hours?
10 prisoners must sample the wine. Bonus points if you worked out a way to ensure than no more than 8 prisoners die.
Number all bottles using binary digits. Assign each prisoner to one of the binary flags. Prisoners must take a sip from each bottle where their binary flag is set.
Here is how you would find one poisoned bottle out of eight total bottles of wine.
Bottle | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
Prisoner A | X | X | X | X | X | X | X | X |
Prisoner B | X | X | X | X | X | X | X | X |
Prisoner C | X | X | X | X | X | X | X | X |
In the above example, if all prisoners die, bottle 8 is bad. If none die, bottle 1 is bad. If A & B dies, bottle 4 is bad.
With ten people there are 1024 unique combinations so you could test up to 1024 bottles of wine.
Each of the ten prisoners will take a small sip from about 500 bottles. Each sip should take no longer than 30 seconds and should be a very small amount. Small sips not only leave more wine for guests. Small sips also avoid death by alcohol poisoning. As long as each prisoner is administered about a millilitre from each bottle, they will only consume the equivalent of about one bottle of wine each.
Each prisoner will have at least a fifty percent chance of living. There is only one binary combination where all prisoners must sip from the wine. If there are ten prisoners then there are ten more combinations where all but one prisoner must sip from the wine. By avoiding these two types of combinations you can ensure no more than 8 prisoners die.
Number the bottles 1 to 1000, and write the number in binary format.
bottle 1 = 0000000001
bottle 250 = 0011111010
bottle 1000 = 1111101000
Now take your prisoner’s 1 through 10
Let prisoner 1 take a sip from every bottle that has a 1 in its least significant bit.
Let prisoner 10 take a sip from every bottle with a 1 in its most significant bit. etc.
Prisoner – 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Bottle 924 – 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0
In this, bottle #924 would be sipped by 10,9,8,5,4 and 3
That way if bottle #924 was the poisoned one, only those prisoners would die.
After four weeks,
line the prisoners up in their bit order and read each living prisoner as a 0 bit and each dead prisoner as a 1 bit.
The number that you get is the bottle of wine that was poisoned.
More puzzles to try-
- To enlist the help of the other kingdoms, the king talked to the queen about inviting neighboring royalty to dinner. ...Read More »
- A chicken farmer also has some cows for a total of 30 animals, and the animals have 74 legs in ...Read More »
- I am a 7 letter word. You read me daily. My 5 6 7 letter increase every year. 3 & ...Read More »
- Nabila got some digits: 1,2,4,5,6,8,0 She made some numbers from them! In those numbers digits might be repeated! But all ...Read More »
- There is bomb on top of a computer, around the computer are a hairbrush, keys, phone and a cup. When ...Read More »
- If you look, you can’t see me. If you see me, you cannot see anything else. I can make you ...Read More »
- A man was going to bleach his socks because they had gotten muddy the day before. As he was pouring ...Read More »
- Which letter is last in the alphabet?Read More »
- Each child in a family has at least 4 brothers and 2 sisters. What is the smallest number of children ...Read More »
- Emma was born in 1855. She just had her 30th birth day today. How did that happen ? Read More »
- A pants pocket is empty but still have something in it? How? What is in it?Read More »
- Consider the following array operations. Init(N,d) initializes an array of N elements so that each element has value d. Once ...Read More »
- A man stands on one side of a river, his dog on the other. The man calls his dog, who ...Read More »
- It is a single candle on a cake A solar trip without a break Cheer it out and hear it ...Read More »
- We are given 100 pieces of a puzzle. If fixing two components together is counted as 1 move ( a ...Read More »
- Man Wrinkle spent one-fourth of his life as a boy, one-eighth as a youth, and one-half as an active man. ...Read More »
- John put a coin in a bottle and put a cork on the bottle and later managed to get the ...Read More »
- Six Tasmanian camels traveling on a very narrow ledge, encounter six Tasmanian camels coming the other way. As everyone knows, ...Read More »
- If you have 30 white socks, 22 black socks, and 14 blue socks scattered across the floor in the dark, ...Read More »
- What single line can you add to the following statement to make it true? 5+5+5=550Read More »