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Backyard building bureaucracy (Posted on 2005-12-01) Difficulty: 4 of 5
Eager to construct a tower of magnificent proportions in my back yard, I approached the big backyard building bureaucracy for a permit.

Arriving at Reception I was told I would need to fill out form 6 of book C located in room 2 on level 7.

Alas, when I arrived in room 2 of level 7, there was no book C to be seen, so I went down to Enquiries. The woman there told me that that I should try room 3 and book D. “So,” I said “I need form 6 of book D in room 3 of level 7 to get a tower permit?" “If you want to build a tower,” she said, “you should try level 4.”

Level 4, room 3, book D form 6 was an application to erect a scale model of the Eiffel Tower. Growing irritated I went to the Help Desk. I explained my problem and asked the man in glasses his name so that I could report him if he was not more helpful than the others had been. He replied that his name was Ted and offered me some coffee. I refused and demanded to know why I was getting the runaround. He told me that the reason for my troubles was that of the six people working in the building, only one person does their job properly, two always send people to the wrong place, so that they will have more time to catch up with their own work and three of them alternate between being helpful and misleading.

I remembered having heard this from a friend before and instantly knew it to be true. “Goodness!” I remarked. “Just like a knights, knaves and liars puzzle.” I thanked Ted for his candor and asked if he could assist me in finding the backyard tower licence form. He said it was probably room 7 of level 2 but if it wasn’t there then neither of these details were correct.

I thanked him and proceeded to that room. There were far too many books and forms to check them all, so I proceeded to the hallway to gather more information. There I met the Janitor. I asked him if he knew anything about tower licence applications. He said it must be book E. “Anything else?” I asked. “Form 4 or Form 5,” he said. I thanked him (for his time at least because his information might be false) and turned to go. “Oh and by the way,” the Janitor called after me, “Brian is a liar half the time and he always starts with a lie.”

On the way to check on this new information I passed the Information Clerk’s cubicle. I asked for some assistance with my dilemma. “If you really want to know where to go,” she said “you should ask Brian. He always tells the truth.” “Who is Brian?” I asked. “He’s the man that wears glasses,” she answered. "Thank you,” I said with suspicion in my voice. “Oh, I can also tell you that it’s either Form No. 4 in Room 7 or neither of these details are true,” she called after me. “You didn’t tell me what level,” I said. She replied, “Level 2, 4, 5, 7, or 8; definitely one of these;”

A little further on I saw a door marked “Assistant Manager.” Thinking to get some answers from a higher-up I entered and asked: “If I asked Ted what the receptionist would say that he would say if asked for the backyard tower licence application form, would that answer lead me to the form?” “It most certainly would not,” replied a man behind a desk. “You must be Brian,” I said. “Indeed I am,” he said. “Where can I find the backyard tower licence application form?” I asked. “Firstly,” he said, “you should know that the woman at enquiries will always tell you that the receptionist will swear that the Janitor is a completely truthful man.” “That’s interesting,” I said, “but will you give me correct information about where the form I’m seeking is?” “Yes, I most definitely will” he said. “Well…?” I said. “It is in room 3 or room 7,” he said.

Tired of walking I went to sit down in Reception. Whilst on her tea break the woman there said to me: “I didn’t mean to give you the wrong information earlier.” She added, “The form you want is either on level 5 and is Form No. 5 or neither of these details are true.”

I went and got the form, filled it out and left the office just before another dissatisfied applicant went postal on the whole place.

Where did I find my form?

Remember: Knaves switch between telling the truth and lying only when a new sentence is begun.

See The Solution Submitted by scott    
Rating: 2.3333 (3 votes)

Comments: ( You must be logged in to post comments.)
  Subject Author Date
AnswerK Sengupta2008-03-19 10:01:45
Some ThoughtsAnswerLeming2005-12-01 15:55:46
QuestionPerceived conflict (Where did I go wrong?)Leming2005-12-01 15:11:49
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