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Who Stole the Tarts? (Posted on 2004-04-02) Difficulty: 3 of 5
The Queen of Hearts had just finished making a marvelous batch of tarts, and had gone off to fetch her husband, the King of Hearts. When she came back, the tarts had vanished!

A huge investigation was put forth, and across the land the knights of the king searched high and low for the tarts. Fortunately, they were discovered on a beach, just moments before being devoured by the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. Both were brought to trial before the King. In the course of the subsequent investigation, it was determined that one of them had stolen the tarts, but not both of them.

At the trial, the following witnesses came forward to make statements:

Duchess: The Gryphon never stole the tarts!
Cook: But he had stolen things in the past.
Cheshire Cat: Well, the Mock Turtle has stolen things in the past.
Catarpillar: The Cheshire Cat has stolen things in the past!
March Hare: The Cook and the Cheshire Cat are both right.
Dormouse: The Cook and the Caterpillar are both right.
Mad Hatter: Either the Cheshire Cat or the Caterpillar is right, and maybe both.
Bill the Lizard: Either the March Hare or the Dormouse is right, and maybe both.
Knave of Hearts: The Cook and the Mad Hatter are both right.
The White Rabbit: Bill the Lizard is right, and the Knave of Hearts is wrong!

There was dead silence as everyone tried to puzzle through all of the statements. The Queen, growing frustrated, was just about to order everyone's head cut off, when Alice stood up.

Alice: It just so happens that the White Rabbit and the Duchess are either both telling the truth or both lying.

Now, since we know that Alice never tells a lie, can you work out who stole the tarts?

Adapted from Raymond Smullyan's Alice in Puzzleland

See The Solution Submitted by Sam    
Rating: 3.7143 (7 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
Solution re: Gryphon | Comment 4 of 17 |
(In reply to Gryphon by elson)

Your solution is right, but for the wrong reasons -- it doesn't depend on someone having stolen before.

If the White Rabbit was right, then since Bill the Lizard is right, the March Hare and/or the Dormouse are right, and thus the Cook and the Cheshire Cat are both right, and/or the Cook and the Caterpillar are both right -- letīs call this fact "A".

Then again, since the Knave of Hearts should be wrong, then the Cook and/or the Mad Hatter are wrong. If the former was wrong, then fact "A" would be false, so he couldn't be wrong. However, if the latter was wrong, fact "A" would also be false, since then both the Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar would be wrong. In any case, fact "A" turns out to be false.

So, the White Rabbit was wrong, and thus the Duchess was wrong too, and the Gryphon was guilty... and we have never assumed someone was guilty just because he had stolen something in the past.

Edited on April 3, 2004, 9:45 am

Edited on April 3, 2004, 9:50 am
  Posted by Federico Kereki on 2004-04-03 09:44:36

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