# Questions tagged [puzzle]

Recreational mathematics or puzzles with serious mathematical content. Note that math contest problems are generally considered off-topic.

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### Lower bound on the number of solutions of N-queens problem

The OEIS lists the number of solutions of N-queens problem
(Number of ways of placing n nonattacking queens on an n X n board). However, no formula is given. It is easy to observe that each number in ...

**1**

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**0**answers

50 views

### Computational complexity of fractions multiplication puzzle

I developed a puzzle for which I am seeking an EFFICIENT algorithm (I searched Google but did not find this puzzle in the literature, ):
You have $k$ rationals, $n_1/d_1, n_2/d_2, ..., n_k/d_k$.
...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

98 views

### Matching two sequences between each other

Given the sequence of symbols $A$ (contains ~10,000 symbols) and sequence of blocks $B$ (contains ~3,000 blocks, ~30 symbols inside each block) I need to exclude some blocks from sequence $B$ so that ...

**13**

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**2**answers

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### Can we make 101 almost perfect banknotes from 100?

Disclaimer. The practical execution of the algorithm in question might be illegal in certain jurisdictions, and is thus strongly discouraged by the poser of the problem.
This recent post on the ...

**3**

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**0**answers

677 views

### Puzzle in 3D grid with black and white boxes, related to shelling

Consider a $n$ by $n$ by $n$ grid represented by the set of $3$-uples $S=\{1,2,\dots, n\}^3$.
A line (resp. slice) of $S$ is a subset of cardinal $n$ (resp. $n^2$) where two components (resp. one ...

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**0**answers

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### Mathematical Aspects of Hectoc-type Puzzles

hectoc is a puzzle, where one is given a sequence of six decimal digits and the task is to intersperse arithmetic operations from the given set $+,-,/,*$ and matching brackets $(,)$ in a way that the ...

**19**

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**1**answer

846 views

### Has there been any new development on the Freudenthal Problem?

Background
I have seen a few variants of this Sum-and-Product puzzle in the past. The premise of these puzzles is as follows
Sam hears the sum of two numbers, Polly the product. The numbers are ...

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**0**answers

130 views

### Existence and uniqueness of Nonogram Solutions

Some of you may have stumbled upon Nonograms, a popular puzzle. It starts with an empty $n\times n$ grid with squares that must be filled and some numbers for each column and row.
If we read "$3,3,2$"...

**18**

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**1**answer

441 views

### Who wins the Rubik's cube game?

This game has two players, Spoiler and Solver. We start with a solved 3x3x3 rubik's cube (to make the problem easier).
Solver and Spoiler take turns making 90 degree twists (starting with Solver). ...

**33**

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**2**answers

2k views

### Who wins two player sudoku?

Let's say players take turns placing numbers 1-9 on a sudoku board. They must not create an invalid position (meaning that you can not have the same number in within a row, column, or box region). The ...

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**2**answers

88 views

### Fill the board with zeroes, inverting the intersections of rows and columns

Given $n \times n$ board randomly filled with $x \in \{0, 1\}$. When you invert value in cell $x_{i,j}$, all corresponding values in $row_i$ and $col_j$ are inverted too. The goal is to fill the board ...

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**0**answers

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### Find four sets of coins with similar weights

There are $n\geq 4$ coins. You are allowed to ask for the weight of any set of coins. What is the worst-case (asymptotic) minimum number of questions after which you can divide the coins into four ...

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**4**answers

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### A puzzle with some jumping frogs

(The following puzzle is ispired by this nice video of Gordon Hamilton on Numberphile)
In a pond there are $n$ leaves placed in a circle, for convenience they are numbered clockwise by $0,1,\ldots,n-...

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**0**answers

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### How many inclusion preserving maps of subsets?

Let $S$ be a set with $n$ elements and $\Sigma_k= \{ R\subseteq S \mid |R|=k \}$. For $k\le n/2$ how many bijections $f$ are there between $\Sigma_k$ and $\Sigma_{n-k}$, such that $x\subseteq f(x)$?
...

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**1**answer

163 views

### Generalized Shared Birthday

Suppose a year has $d$ days. How many people should be in a room so that there are at least $2k$ people in the room with birthdays shared with each other (all could be same day or there could be $k$ ...

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**0**answers

229 views

### How many different solutions does this cube puzzle have?

I designed a 4x4x4 soma cube in AutoCad and then built it with wood cubes.
Now I want to know how many different solutions there are for it.
Similar to the Bedlam Cube, there are twelve pentacube and ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

403 views

### Separating Heavier from the Lighter Balls

This Question was originally posted Here, where I'm more interested in the methods for manual solutions yielding $n$ or less moves on average.
I wanted to post it here as well, to see what the people ...

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vote

**0**answers

197 views

### Concrete solution to the (oriented) Oberwolfach problem with one table

I asked the following on MSE, but it received little attention...
The oriented Oberwolfach problem (with only one table) and its solution are the following.
In a meeting of $n$ people during $n-1$ ...

**21**

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**1**answer

930 views

### Covering of a surface of a cube $n\times n \times n$ by pieces of paper $1\times 6$

When I was too young one of my problems was in the list of problems of All-Russian Olympiad. The problem is the following:
Problem. We have a surface of a cube $n\times n \times n$ such that each ...

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**1**answer

1k views

### A fun game related to knot theory

I recently learned the following rather fun game: a group of people is standing up roughly in circle, facing each other. Then participants randomly join hands, in such a way that nobody holds its own ...

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**1**answer

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### “The Two Sheriffs” puzzle

This puzzle is taken from the book Mathematical puzzles: a connoisseur's collection by P. Winkler.
Two sheriffs in neighboring towns are on the track of a killer, in a
case involving eight ...

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**0**answers

82 views

### Limit shape for oil-shaped stack in the max overhang problem

In the Maximum Overhang paper, the authors mention an oil-shaped configuration (ref. page 19)
What is known about the curve that limits this shape?

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**0**answers

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### What is God's number for the WrapSlide puzzle?

WrapSlide is a slide-puzzle (reminding of Rubik's Cube) consisting of a 6x6 grid of coloured tiles which are separated into four quadrants of 3x3 tiles. When it is unmixed all the tiles in a quadrant ...

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**2**answers

888 views

### Undecidable puzzles

There are plenty of popular NP-hard puzzles,
for example, generalized Sudoku ($n^2 \times n^2$-board), Flow (I cannot give a source for this), Minesweeper, etc.
Recently, I read a bit about aperiodic ...

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votes

**2**answers

156 views

### All Integers from the Smallest Digit Stream with a Window Filter

Let's represent integers with D digits where each digit has B values
(i.e., the base is B and we effectively work only with integers between
1 and B^D). Is it possible to choose a single cyclic/...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

280 views

### coin reversal puzzle with one hand and two stacks

Suppose that you have N labeled coins pinched in one stack in your fingertips
(your palm is above your fingers and your palm is facing down, so that you can
drop as many coins as needed from the ...

**10**

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**3**answers

1k views

### Could a perfect squared square be split into two perfect squared squares?

This is a geometric puzzle though it might conceivably
also define a special class of Pythagorean triples.
A perfect squared square PSS is a square (as a plane figure)
partitioned into smaller ...

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votes

**0**answers

88 views

### Minimize the length of two disjoint segments in the string with given property

You are given a string s of size n, consisting of characters A and B only. You have to find minimum sum of size of the two disjoint segments of the string s such that number of A's in them are >= z.
...

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**2**answers

1k views

### An Interesting Optimization Problem

You are given n non-negative integers $a_1, a_2 ,, a_n$. In a single operation, you take any two integers out of these integers and replace them with a new integer having value equal to difference ...

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**1**answer

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### How many ways to partition a group of people?

My friend (who is a medical student!) posed me the following question:
There are 70 people, and you want to split them up into 10 groups of 7 people each. Two such partitions are "compatible" if no ...

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votes

**1**answer

426 views

### Infinite blue eyed islanders puzzle

Can the well known blue eyed islanders puzzle be extended to an infinite number of islanders?
In that puzzle, a set of $k$ islanders, each with either blue eyes or non-blue eyes, each knows the color ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

443 views

### Simple reason that a mathematician cannot do better than random when guessing contents of a box?

I have a question about the finite analog of the puzzle proposed here involving mathematicians guessing the contents of boxes.
Specifically, suppose there are $k$ unopened boxes each containing a ...

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**1**answer

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### Can an infinite number of mathematicians guess the number in a box with only one error?

In this question the following observation was made:
Consider a sequence of boxes numbered 0, 1, ... each containing one real number. The real number cannot be seen unless the box is opened.
Define ...

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**0**answers

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### Dissecting using a ruler and compass

The problem is to cut a regular hexagon into parts that can be put together (without overlaps or wasting any parts) to make an equilateral triangle using only a ruler and compass (and scissors).
What ...

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**2**answers

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### A simple language and systematic computations

The following somewhat popular simple computer language was enjoyed on sci.math, sci.math.research, pl.sci.matematyka, and perhaps before and after at several places (I wish I knew it's exact history)....

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3k views

### Puzzle on deleting k bits from binary vectors of length 3k

Consider all $2^n$ different binary vectors of length $n$ and assume $n$ is an integer multiple of $3$. You are allowed to delete exactly $n/3$ bits from each of the binary vectors, leaving vectors ...

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**1**answer

882 views

### A game on sets of reals

A 2 player game on $\mathcal{P}(\mathbb{R})$: Players take turns playing uncountable sets of reals. Each play must be a subset of the previously played set. Player 1 wins if the intersection of all ...

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votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Blue and red balls puzzle

I was sent this puzzle and wondered if it is known or if its origin is known? (I see colored ball puzzles are also in vogue.)
Consider a bag with $n$ red balls and $n$ blue balls. At each turn you ...

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votes

**1**answer

338 views

### two boy scouts problems

As a member of boy scouts I was considering the following problem:
suppose you're organising some kind of olympic games...
*You divide the boys in $2n$ teams (subsets of equal size)
*There are $2n-1$ ...

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votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Another colored balls puzzle (part II)

The same colleague as in Another colored balls puzzle asked me the following variant which she called "part II".
Imagine you have $n$ balls in a bag that are colored from $1$ to $n$. At each turn ...

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votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Gödel, Escher, Bach: b is a power of 10. [closed]

I’d like to verify if my formula correctly expresses that a number is a power of $ 10 $, using the $ \sf{TNT} $ language provided by Hofstadter in his famous book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal ...

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**11**answers

2k views

### A function that is defined everywhere but has unknown values [closed]

For pedagogical purposes I am looking for a function $\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}$ that is defined everywhere but has most of its values unknown. Although such a function cannot be simple by definition, ...

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**2**answers

1k views

### Bike lock puzzle

I was wondering this when using my bike lock, a combination lock with four dials, each of which has ten digits (0-9) on it in numerical order.
Suppose a bicyclist decides that, from now on, after ...

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**2**answers

1k views

### Knight tour prime (conjecture)

Hello,
I have the following conjecture:
Write all numbers from $1$ to $n^2$ over an $n\times n$ board as usually. There not exists $n$ such that we can find a hamiltonian path on primes numbers with ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

339 views

### Labeling a Square Array

Suppose that the $n^2$ cells of an $n\times n$ array are labeled with the integers $1, \dots, n^2$. Under the traditional left-to-right and top-to-bottom labeling, the labels of horizontally adjacent ...

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**2**answers

1k views

### How to get rich in a Hilberts Hotel?

Suppose you can make infinitely many copies of yourself. Each of them starts his/her life in a Hilberts Hotel, where each room is labeled by an element in the free group with two generators, and ...

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**5**answers

3k views

### Irreversible chess

Suppose we play a chess-variant, where any finite number of pieces are allowed, and the board is as large as we wish, but only two kings in total. And there is no 50 move-rule, no castling and no ...

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**2**answers

1k views

### God's number for the $n \times n \times n$-cube

This is a question about Rubik's Cube and generalizations of this puzzle, such as Rubik's Revenge, Professor's cube or in general the $n \times n \times n$ cube.
Let $g(n)$ be the smallest number $m$,...

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votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Probability of a black path on a random chess board

Take a $2n$ by $2n$ chess board (oriented so the grid lines are vertical and horizontal). Usually there are $2n^2$ squares coloured black and $2n^2$ squares coloured white so that a black square is ...

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**1**answer

3k views

### A Presentation for Rubik's cube group?

Let $G$ be Rubik's cube group. It is generated by the rotations by 90 degrees $L,R,D,U,F,B$ (left, right, down, up, front, behind), but what relations beyond $L^4=R^4=...=B^4=1$ do they satisfy? Thus ...