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Answer to this week's riddle

Again, the riddle:

Jim is on a training mission. During an exercise, he and 3 other comrades (Glen, Rush, and Mitt) are captured by a rival platoon. Their captor offers to let them go if they can pass a test, otherwise they all have to march back to camp with "I love Barack Obama T-shirts on." Here's the test: The captors arrange our fearsome foursome in a line, all facing the same direction, but with a barrier between the third and fourth person. Thus, person 1 can see, person 2 and person 3 and the barrier, person 2 can see person 3 and the barrier, person three can see the barrier, and person 4 can see nothing. After placing them in this position and blindfolding them, the captors tie red bandanas around the heads of persons 1 and 3 and blue bandanas around persons 2 and 4. Jim, Glen, Rush, and Mitt are told that 2 of them have red bandanas tied on their heads and 2 of them have blue bandanas tied on their heads, and the blindfolds are removed. With no communication allowed, if any of the men can correctly identify the color of the bandana on their head, they will all be released. If anyone makes an incorrect claim, they all suffer the punishment. Who should speak for the group?

The Answer:

The person in the second position. The person in the first position can see that person 2 has a blue bandana on and person 3 has a red bandana on but doesn't know if he has a red bandana and person four has a blue bandana or vice versa. After not hearing person 1 speak up, person 2 knows that person 1 does not have enough information, which means that person 2 and person 3 must have different color bandanas on. Person 2 then knows that his bandana must be the opposite color of the person in front of him, so he announces "My bandana is blue" and the captives are spared their ignominy.


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