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Unreliable Witnesses (Posted on 2017-05-17) Difficulty: 3 of 5
Six witnesses gave conflicting descriptions of the suspect.

Each witness had exactly one item correct. Each correct value appears at least once.

What would be the correct description of the suspect?

Hair Jacket Shirt Pants
Brown White Red Gray
Red Blue Pink White
Black Purple Yellow Blue
Blond White Not Yellow White
Brown Purple Green Gray
Gray Blue Orange Blue

This can be solved analytically without trial and error.


From Mensa Puzzle Calendar 2017 by Mark Danna and Fraser Simpson, Workman Publishing, New York. Puzzle for May 12.

See The Solution Submitted by Charlie    
Rating: 3.6667 (3 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
non-perfect puzzles are sometimes more interesting Comment 4 of 4 |

Aside from the two different solutions given by Steve Herman and Atheron, we may ask which interpretation arises in the puzzle's context of a witness describing a suspect.
In a police interrogation a witness is usually not together with other witnesses. His statements do not refer to a restricted list of the suspect's descriptions given by other witnesses. These other testimonies are unknown to him, or doesn't even exist. Then when our witness (D) gives the answer "shirt not yellow", this includes indeed, as Atheron showed, colors like cyan or others (that were not given by other witnesses in our case). Probably this holds even for trial situations.
Although both solutions are logically equivalent, the interpretation of Atheron seems to be more realistic. In the end we have as many further solutions (apart from Steve's) as there are other non-yellow colors not mentioned in the list (cyan, gold, silver...). Thanks for the provided insight as I didn't see this myself.


  Posted by ollie on 2017-05-20 05:31:02
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