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 Pill Puzzler (Posted on 2004-04-20)
You've been placed on a course of expensive medication in which you are to take one tablet of medicine A and one tablet of medicine B daily.

You must be careful that you take just one of each because taking more of either can have serious side effects. Taking an A without taking a B, or vice versa, can also be very serious, because they must be taken together in order to be effective. In summary, you must take exactly one of the A pills and one of the B pills at one time.

Therefore, you open up the A bottle, and you tap one A pill into your hand. You put that bottle aside and you open the B bottle. You do the same, but by mistake, two Bs fall into your hand with the A pill.

Now, here's the problem. You weren't watching your hand as the pills fell into it, so you can't tell the A pill apart from the two B pills. The pills look identical. They are the same size, same weight, same color, same everything, and they are not marked differently in any way. What are you going to do? You cannot tell which pill is which, and you cannot afford to throw them away and start over again.

How do you get your daily dose of exactly one A and exactly one B without wasting any of the pills?

 See The Solution Submitted by Popstar Dave Rating: 2.6667 (15 votes)

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 Two other methods, no chop chop | Comment 8 of 27 |

1.  Counting Method:  Count the number of pills remaining in each bottle and compare this with the total number of pills that were prescribed and with the date the prescription was filled.  This is always on the label.   If this medication absolutely must be taken as described, then surely you have been taking one each per day since the first time they were prescribed.  Surely, the doctor wrote for the same number of pills in each prescription, and most likely you always get the 2 scripts filled at the same time.

2.  Tasting Method:   Taste each of the 3 pills.  This should determine which is the odd man out (this will be the A pill).  Then set aside one of the B pills for tomorrow.  For those of you who are concerned that you have now ingested one picogram too much of medicine B, then all you have to do is take one pill from the A bottle, taste it, and set it aside with the B pill for tomorrow.

 Posted by Larry on 2004-04-20 16:36:36

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