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The Pregnant Secretary (Posted on 2004-02-21) Difficulty: 3 of 5
The secretary at a computers company is pregnant! It may have been one of the three partners' fault, or maybe someone else's. If a partner was the guilty party, he knows it... but he doesn't want the others to know it was him.

The three partners agree that they must know whether it was one of them who made the girl pregnant (thus possibly allowing a suit against the company) or if it was someone else.

How can they decide if one of them is to blame, without anybody having to accept being the father, if that was the case?

(Some notes: They might just write on papers either "I DID IT" or "I WASN'T IT", but the handwriting might give the guilty party away. Putting a white or black marble in an urn (white=innocent, black=guilty) might work, but someone could possibly see what color was being put in; also, if the guilty one went first, the second could peek inside and realize the answer. The optimum solution should not require much --or any-- extra equipment, and should "resist" inquisitive partners. And, of course, being all of them quite capable hackers, computers are out of the question!)

See The Solution Submitted by Federico Kereki    
Rating: 4.0000 (8 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
re: Or more simply..... | Comment 11 of 27 |
(In reply to Or more simply..... by Penny)

I think all your answers so far have been basically good, but I'm slightly confused at your round-a-bout way of having them name the number of partners that they know are innocent. Would it not be the same thing is they name the number of *guilty* partners - i.e. they just add one if they did it and nothing if they didn't?

It just seems slightly more intuitive. No different in the end, though.
  Posted by Sam on 2004-02-22 02:55:36

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