On a train, Smithe, Robins, and John are the fireman, conductor, and the engineer, but NOT respectively. Also aboard the train are three businessmen who have the same names: a Mr. Smithe, a Mr. Robins, and a Mr. John.
Mr. Robins Lives in New York.
The conductor lives exactly halfway between Columbus and New York.
Mr. John earns exactly $20,000 per year.
The conductor's nearest neighbor, one of the passengers, earns exactly three times as much as the conductor.
Smithe beats the fireman in billiards. The passenger whose name is the same as the conductor's lives in Columbus.
Who is the Engineer?
OK, as stated earlier, quit dividing 20,000 by 3. That's stupid.
I believe that the engineer is Smithe, as many of you do, but some people's facts are wrong. Here is the definitive answer.
Conductors make more than 20K a year, that's just common sense. I've known many Railroad workers, and they make decent money. According to rhw.salary.com, they make on average 32K a year (and that's given my small town of 7k people statistics).
The conductor's nearest neighbor can live neither in New York, nor Columbus, because they are equidistant, making neither of them available for being the closest neighbor.
The passenger who lives in Columbus can not be Mr. Robins, therefor Robins is NOT the conductor. The conducter earns more money than Mr. John (common knowledge expressed earlier) and therefore Mr. John must live in Columbus, because the person who lives near the conductor must make 3 x conductor salary. This leaves Mr. Smithe earning 3 x conductor salary and the conductor being John because he has the same name as the one that lives in Columbus. If John is the conductor, and Smithe can't be the fireman, than it is only left for him to be the Engineer.