6
$\begingroup$

When we were boys, our mother, because of a shortage of living space, built for me and my five brothers -- Nortie, Matthias, Jack, Kenneth, and Lloyd -- a big, beautiful, sextuple-decker bunk bed.

I can't remember who was in what bunk, exactly, but I do remember that the third healthiest among us, to get to his bunk, had to climb past the fourth most charming; the healthiest had to climb past the second slowest; the least charming had to climb past Nortie; the second most handsome had to climb past the sickliest; the fourth swiftest had to climb past the second swiftest; Jack had to climb past the slowest; the least charming had to climb past the sickliest; and the slowest had to climb past Matthias.

We would often stay up late gabbing -- about bugs, shoes, sports, the other kids at school. Sometimes we gossiped about one another -- but then quietly, and only to the brother in an adjacent bunk. I remember Jack and the sickliest would often gossip, as would the ugliest and the second least charming. The second most charming would gossip with the second ugliest in one direction, and with the second healthiest in the other. The fourth cleverest gossiped with the swiftest and, in the other direction, with Jack. The least charming gossiped with the sickliest and with the second sickliest. The second least charming would gossip with the handsomest and, in the other direction, with the least clever. The second most charming gossiped with Kenneth and, on the other side, with the third swiftest. The fifth swiftest gossiped with the most charming and, in the other direction, with Jack. Lloyd gossiped with me and, in the other direction, the second healthiest. The third cleverest gossiped with Matthias on one side and with the fourth swiftest on the other. And the second slowest could often be heard whispering till all hours, sometimes to the least charming and sometimes, in the other direction, to the cleverest.

Let's see, what else can I recall? Jack was the third swiftest. The second cleverest was the fourth healthiest. The fourth handsomest was in the bottom bunk ...

It's funny, isn't it, the things you remember!

Maybe you can tell me: Who was the handsomest, and what bunk did they sleep in?

$\endgroup$
5
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are "handsomeness" and "charm" different characteristics in this puzzle? $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2022 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ When you say, "The second most charming was between Kenneth and the third swiftest, while the fifth swiftest was between the most charming and Jack.", do you mean generally between, or "next to" between? $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Apr 29, 2022 at 3:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The "between" statements are in the paragraph describing gossip between adjacent bunkmates, so are all "next to". $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Apr 29, 2022 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ @AxiomaticSystem "handsomeness" and "charm" are different characteristics, yes. $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2022 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @JLee Yes, "between" means in the bunk between the other two, i.e. next to each individually. As fljx observes, this paragraph describes adjacent bunkmates. (One begins to look for different ways of saying the same thing after so many rote declarations of fact.) $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2022 at 18:06

1 Answer 1

4
$\begingroup$

The handsomest was:

You!

And they slept in:

The top bunk.

You were also apparently the most charming, the swiftest, the cleverest and the most healthy.
It is indeed funny how you remember things! :-)

The full grid:

           Bunk    Swift  Charming  Clever  Healthy  Handsome
You        Top       1      1         1       1        1
Lloyd       5        5      5         4       5        2
Jack        4        3      6         6       2        6
Nortie      3        4      2         5       6        3
Kenneth     2        6      3         3       3        5
Matthias  Bottom     2      4         2       4        4

A full step-by-step solution will take a while to write, but I started from:

The fifth swiftest and second slowest are the same thing, so from the fifth swiftest was between the most charming and Jack and the second slowest could often be heard whispering till all hours to either the least charming or to the cleverest.
We know that Jack is the least charming, and that the most charming (and cleverest) is two bunks away.

Then, from The least charming gossiped with the sickliest or the second sickliest, and the least charming had to climb past the sickliest.
We know that the least charming (Jack) is immediately above the sickliest and immediately below the second sickliest.

$\endgroup$
5
  • $\begingroup$ I interpreted the OR in "the second slowest could often be heard whispering till all hours to either the least charming or to the cleverest." as EITHER / OR, but not both. That interpretation affected many of the clues. Together with the "between" ambiguity I mentioned in a comment on the question, this puzzle is frustratingly ambiguous. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Apr 29, 2022 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JLee Your interpretation is correct: the second slowest gossips either to the least charming on one side or to the cleverest on the other (I do write "to either ... or to ..."). I.e., the least charming is not the same individual as the cleverest (and is two bunks away). Is there a way to make this more explicit? $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2022 at 18:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @C. P. Boyko: The common "either or" (XOR) means either one or the other, but not both. You apparently intended to mean both, although not at the same time. It would be very clear and not misleading with an AND instead of EITHER/OR. i.e.: "the second slowest could often be heard whispering till all hours to the least charming and to the cleverest." $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Apr 29, 2022 at 18:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JLee Ah, now I see the difficulty! You're quite right, I thought I was saying "both (but not at the same time)". I see now how in the context of a logic puzzle it may well be interpreted as an XOR, though. I'll edit. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2022 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ @C.P. Boyko Please go through the puzzle and correct every instance of it. I see many that I think were intended to be ANDs instead of ORs. Also consider changing "between" to "adjacent to" for clarity. Also, while you're at it, you could make a note that Handsomness is not the same as charm. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Apr 29, 2022 at 19:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.