I Couldn’t Solve This TED-Ed Riddle – Even After I Saw the Answer

So much for thinking I was good at brain-teasers.

Today, I came across this TED-Ed video (see video below) created by Dan Finkel, and at first, it seemed like it would be pretty easy to solve.

So much for first impressions.

I gave myself 30 minutes to solve the riddle, and if it didn’t happen by then, I would admit defeat and watch the solution. Well, 45 minutes went by before I finally I gave up.

I reluctantly watched the rest of the video for the solution, and that’s when the real trouble began.

I watched the solution, but it made no sense to me; I still didn’t get it. I kept thinking about it for about an hour, saying to myself that the solution was wrong. I even tried to reason it out with my wife, and after a few minutes of trying to reason it out, it finally hit me, and I realized the mistake I had been making. Once I had that “aha” moment, then the solution made perfect sense, and I was bummed that I hadn’t thought of it on my own.

Anyway, if you’re curious, here’s the jail-break riddle. The first 90 seconds of the video explains the problem, and then you pause the video while you try and solve the riddle. Once you’ve solved it (or given up, like me), you can just hit the play button to hear the solution explained.

At the end of the video, there are links to two other TED-Ed riddles; one is considered the hardest logic puzzle in the world, and the other is considered the easiest TED-Ed puzzle.

Given my need to re-establish my self-confidence, you can guess which one I chose. Fortunately, I was able to solve this one:

Maybe tomorrow I’ll give the other one a shot, after all, I’m on Spring Break, and I’ve got all week to think about it (or to drive myself crazy):

Good luck…


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