Martin really likes tea. In fact he likes it so much that he made his own magic teapot. The first time he pours from it he gets black tea, the second time he pours milk, and finally he pours tea with milk. Upon closer inspection the teapot has no buttons or electronics, so how does it work?

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2 Answers 2


I suspect Martin has:

An "assassin's teapot", which has two separate chambers, with airholes that control which (one or both) liquid is poured.
enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is correct! $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2023 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ They showed a demonstration of this on QI on the BBC - worth a watch to see it in action and understand why this works :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ That QI episode is why I knew the name of the object, allowing me to google for a suitable image. $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Jun 22, 2023 at 13:24
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    $\begingroup$ Note that putting milk in an assassin's teapot makes it well named the second time you use it. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Jun 22, 2023 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ Not relevant wrt the question, but having three outcomes from binary choices is just... ungh. Maybe Martin doesn't like the "null tea" he can pour by blocking both air holes? $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Jun 23, 2023 at 12:22

The teapot has four spouts, two for milk and two for tea (connecting to separate internal chambers). They’re arranged with a tea spot at 0 degrees, a milk spout at 120 degrees, and both a milk spout and a tea spout at 240 degrees. Martin pours in a different direction each time.

Or: Martin empties out and refills the teapot each time.

Or: The teapot has valves which are controlled by levers, not buttons.

Or: The teapot has a clockwork mechanism which opens different valves each time it’s tilted.


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