Albert Einstein’s “Five houses” riddle
In the modern world, online education is gaining momentum. In Edcraft, you can find educational games for children, such as odd-one-out games, logic online, or tricky logic riddles for kids. These fascinating, funny tasks perfectly and effectively develop logical thinking, vocabulary, and outlook in children from 6 to 13 years old while playing.
What is Einstein’s riddle?
Albert Einstein was an outstanding physicist who changed the world with his discoveries. The unique mindset that the famous scientist could boast of allowed him to make both great discoveries and logical quizzes. Einstein’s contemporaries believed that the physicist tried to determine the level of intelligence of people in such an extraordinary way as he was interested in searching for people with outstanding abilities.
According to one of the versions argued by scientists, Einstein invented a popular logic puzzle about five houses in his childhood. The author stated that only 2% of humans were able to solve it without the help of paper and pen.
The interesting fact is that Lewis Carroll, a famous mathematician and writer who described Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, is also unofficially considered the author of the same logic puzzle about five houses and people in them.
Researchers’ opinions on the quiz’s original authorship differ. What we will do is try to solve a riddle with such an interesting story.
Einstein’s five-houses riddle
The quiz was first published in 1962. We will change the original version slightly in the descriptions leaving the meaning as it is.
- There are five houses of different colors on the site: a red one, a green one, a blue one, a yellow one and a white one.
- There are five men of different nationalities living in them: an Englishman, a German, an Italian, a Spaniard, and a Chinese.
- These men grow the following berries in their gardens: raspberries, currants, gooseberries, strawberries, or grapes.
- Each of them has a pet: a dog, a cat, a parrot, a hamster, or fish.
- Each of them likes a certain brand of chocolate: Twix, Snickers, Mars, Bounty, Kitkat.
Conditions of Einstein’s riddle
The question is: who owns fish and who plants currants?
Step-by-step solution to the Einstein riddle
We will not try to solve the quiz in our mind without the help of paper and pen, as Einstein suggested to do, so we will make a table to record our thoughts, making house #3 a center of it.
Let’s put down all the information that we have in the quiz (focusing on the points in the condition).
We know for sure that a Spaniard lives in house number 1 (point 9). Point 14 says that the Spaniard’s neighbor lives in a blue house. So that should be house number 2.
Let’s figure out what color house number 1 is:
- It cannot be white or green, because these houses are next to each other (5);
- It cannot be red either, because an Englishman lives in it (1).
This means that house number 1 is yellow.
Let’s go on. According to point 7, a Snickers lover lives in the yellow house, and his neighbor breeds hamsters (11). The Spaniard who lives in the yellow house:
- does not grow grapes (this is done by an Italian (4));
- does not grow raspberries — according to point 3, this is done by the resident of a green house;
- does not plant gooseberries (point 8 says that the resident of a central house does this);
- he cannot grow strawberries either because a Kitkat lover is fond of it (12).
Eliminating all the variables, we find that the Spaniard grows currants.
Let’s turn on our logic and move towards a solution. According to the terms, Snickers are eaten in the yellow house (7). And a man who loves cats prefers Twix (6). Let’s suppose that the resident of the second house is the one who eats Kitkat and grows strawberries (12). What is his nationality?
- not Spanish (he lives in the first house),
- not English (an Englishman lives in a red house),
- not German, which comes out of point 2,
- not Italian (4) and not Chinese (13).
So we understand that the first suggestion was wrong. It means that the Kitkat and strawberry lover does NOT live in house #2.
Let’s now suppose that a Chinese lives in the second house (13). What does he grow?
- Raspberries? No, this is done by the resident of the green house (3).
- Grapes? Nope, it is grown by an Italian (4).
- Gooseberry? Wrong again. It is grown in the central house (8).
- We have already found out that he also cannot grow strawberries or currants.
What does that mean? The resident of the second house does not like Bounty, and the Chinese does not live there.
So who is this mysterious resident of house number 2? So far, with all the exceptions taken into account, we can say that he eats Mars. And his neighbor from the central house breeds parrots (10).
Now it’s time to deal with his nationality. He is not a Spaniard, not a Chinese, not a German (as a German has a dog (2)), not an Englishman (1). Hence, he is an Italian who grows grapes (4).
It is known from point 10 that a parrot owner lives next to a Mars eater. So, does it mean that we can meet a talking bird only in houses #1 or #3?
Let’s say that a bird lives in house #3. Let’s figure out what a person who eats Twix and owns a cat.
- He cannot plant currants and grapes (we have already determined this).
- The same thing for strawberries (12).
- And the gooseberries grow in the central house.
So, “Mr. X” grows raspberries. It turns out that if a parrot is a pet for the resident of the third house, then he also lives in a green house (3). But this cannot be because point 8 tells us that gooseberries grow in the third house. This means the parrot lives in house number 1.
With two houses complete, let’s go ahead. If we look at the table, we can see that raspberries and strawberries are grown in the fourth and fifth houses. At this stage, it doesn’t matter where exactly.
Where does the Twix and cat lover live? NOT in the house with strawberries because Kitkat is eaten there. Let’s suppose he lives in a house with raspberries. And we know that the color of this house is green (3). But, this is impossible because gooseberries are grown in it. So, the man who loves Twix and cats lives in house number 3.
Hence, the green house is home to a Bounty lover who grows raspberries. And this is a Chinese (13). Going on, we can find that the German who keeps the dog loves Kitkat and grows raspberries. Excluding all variables, we find that an Englishman living in a red house is in the center. Accordingly, the German is the owner of the white house. From point 5, we can see that the green house is to the left of the white one. As a result, the table looks like this.
It turns out that fish are bred by a Chinese who lives in a green house, grows raspberries, and eats Bounty, while currants grow in the Spaniard’s garden. That is the answer to the Einsten’s riddle.
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