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home > fun puzzles > einstein quiz answer ## The Real Solution to the Einstein QuizAre you sure you want to read the real answer? Maybe you want to go back to the Einstein Quiz and think about it some more? Once you read the answer, you can't un-read it... ## Solution to the Einstein Quiz: the Fifth PetAlmost all the answers to the "Einstein Quiz" that I have seen on the web go through the same mechanical process to solving the puzzle. They chart out the problem, lay out each clue graphically, and slowly build a picture of which persons, drinks and pets are in which houses. Its a logical, technical and involved process. If you do it correctly you inevitably conclude that it is the If you identified the German as the fish-owner, you did better than many people and should feel good. But did you get the right answer, is this the correct way to solve the problem? No its not! Nowhere in the problem, except in the question, is the word fish found. Thus the fifth pet might just as well be elephants as fish. After a lot of work you can safely conclude that the German has the fifth pet, but you have to
So the correct answer to the Einstein Quiz is that you can't be sure there even IS a fish pet. Once you grasp the nature of the problem its rather simple to solve. The "Einstein Quiz" may or may not have actually been written by Einstein (no one seems to have definitive proof one way or the other). But it would be just like Einstein to give us a puzzle like this, for he stressed examining assumptions. Some may say this is just a trick answer or a gimmick, since it reduces the puzzle to something thats trivial to solve. The real answer (for smart people) must obviously involve going through the difficult and complex logical process that leads to the German. I disagree. Consider this other "trick answer" to a different problem: Einstein's world-changing conclusion that time slows down and space contracts when objects are moving relative to each other (Special Relativity). This can be derived with no more mathematical knowledge than basic high school geometry — but only if you re-examine a Einstein himself once wrote: "The important thing is to not stop questioning." ## The Most Accurate AnswerOne of our site visitors reminded me recently that possibly the most accurate answer to the question "Can you determine who keeps fish?" is found by using a combination of both approaches. First you must realize there is no way to know if the fifth pet is even fish. But then you can still use all the clues to exclude certain people. So the answer is then similar to a conditional check in a line of software code, and it is: "not Brit & not Dane & not Swede & not Norwegian." In other words you don't know who (if anyone) keeps fish, but, you do know who doesn't. ## Maze Solving AssumptionsStatue of Zeus maze puzzle One of the reasons I find the Einstein Quiz so interesting is that when designing a difficult puzzle, a maze artist must also take advantage of the mistaken assumptions that maze-solvers tend to make. This helps keep them confused and lost. For example, when people come to a junction they rarely choose a path that heads back into an area of the maze they have recently traversed. They See the page on designing mazes for explanations of other maze creation tricks, or check out the Statue of Zeus maze puzzle on the right. This puzzle utilizes yet another psychological trick to confound maze solvers. See if you can spot the trick that makes it so hard! Its one of the most common mazes people email me about, asking for help. You can also take a look at some of the other maze puzzles that utilize various tricks to confound solvers. |
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