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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Small Town Affair

Here's a puzzle that appeared in Creative Computing magazine back in 1974.

There is a small town of a few hundred inhabitants of which the following statements are surprisingly true:


  1. Every man is a perfect logician and is aware that this is true of every other man in the town.
  2. Every man in the town knows all about the behavior of every woman in the town, with the exception, if he is married, of his own wife. It is taboo for anyone to speak about a woman to her husband. 
  3. It is an immutable custom (abhorrent to us maybe, but as inevitable as night following day to them) that, when a man discovers that his wife has been unfaithful, he takes her out into the town square that same night, and on the stroke of midnight shoots her. 
  4. There are 40 unfaithful wives in town.

Now, life has been continuing its uneventful course for some time when, one fateful summer's day, June 1st actually, the Mayor summons all the townsmen to a meeting in the town hall. 'I am very sorry to have to tell you this,' he says, 'but there is an unfaithful wife in this town.' The meeting ends and the men disperse.

 
What, if anything, happens, and when? (NOT an easy problem.)



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2 comments:

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Wendy Burns said...

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