Breaking news you probably already know about: io9 is running a weekly puzzle series. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I WISH I'D THOUGHT OF IT. Sorry, I'm grumpy today.
It's cool. I'm not mad. I don't have a copyright on logic. I totally would if I could though, because copyrights are awesome and I want one.
Here is the puzzle:
Three gods A, B, and C are called, in no particular order, True, False, and Random. True always speaks truly, False always speaks falsely, but whether Random speaks truly or falsely is a completely random matter. Your task is to determine the identities of A, B, and C by asking three yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one god. The gods understand English, but will answer all questions in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are da and ja, in some order. You do not know which word means which.
- It could be that some god gets asked more than one question (and hence that some god is not asked any question at all).
- What the second question is, and to which god it is put, may depend on the answer to the first question. (And of course similarly for the third question.)
- Whether Random speaks truly or not should be thought of as depending on the flip of a coin hidden in his brain: if the coin comes down heads, he speaks truly; if tails, falsely.
- Random will answer 'da' or 'ja' when asked any yes-no question.
Feel free to work it through in the comments. I'm going to go grumble into my coffee.