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You've gotten in trouble with a Mob Boss, and as punishment have been brought to a sandy beach. You're ordered by him at gunpoint to bury yourself in the sand up to your neck. He specifies a spot that will have you drowning when the tide comes in. You have no way to contact any outside help, and you cannot overpower the mob boss.

The mob boss, however, is a stickler for logic, and if you can think of a way to do as he says without trapping yourself, he'll let you go and forgive you your transgressions.

How can you follow the mob boss's order and save yourself from certain briny death?

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Did you invent this puzzle? $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Oct 21 '14 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ @d'alar'cop I literally thought of it this morning while reading other puzzles. I hope that's not a problem. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 21 '14 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Zibbobz It's a new classic I think. Depending on the intended answer :p $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Oct 21 '14 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @d'alar'cop Mathias got the intended answer pretty quickly. Though judging by a few good loopholes brought up in other answers, maybe it needs a bit of work. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 21 '14 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ Somehow I fail to believe that someone who threatens you at gunpoint and wants you to drown will gladly accept any smart-ass loophole to his commands. $\endgroup$ – Florian F Oct 23 '14 at 13:25

12 Answers 12

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He didn't say you had to "dig a hole" - he just said you had to "bury yourself".

You pile sand around yourself like an ant-hill where your head pokes out the top.

Now your elevation is sufficient to keep you from drowning.

When the tide comes in the water washing around you will wash away the sand hill you have made and liberate you. Obviously, the hill might be so weak that you can just wriggle your way out well before this.

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    $\begingroup$ Little questionable about whether or not a mob boss would count that as 'buried', but good thought process. Maybe he should've specified "beneath the surface in a hole". $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 21 '14 at 15:08
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    $\begingroup$ Assuming that the amount of sand is minimal enough to breath. Otherwise the weight of it will cause death by asphyxia $\endgroup$ – Winter Oct 22 '14 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ I feel like the criteria of "He specifies a spot that will have you drowning when the tide comes in" implies that you have to be able to drown when the tide comes in. Even though the mob boss is such a stickler for logic, does he ignore this criteria? $\endgroup$ – Elias Apr 10 '15 at 17:00
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Why vertically? It's difficult, but if you can somehow bury yourself in a shallow grave then you may be able to get back up when the mob boss has moved away to avoid getting his shoes wet.

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    $\begingroup$ Not a bad answer. Let's just hope he doesn't 'help' you compact the sand. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 21 '14 at 15:08
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You can bury your head down first, up to your neck. In that way, you can easily get loose and survive. If you make a hole first, put some loose sand on the side, then you can put your head in, take a deep breath and throw the sand over your head. After the Mob Boss nods his head, you can set yourself free.

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    $\begingroup$ Of course, you cannot see him nodding his head... $\endgroup$ – oerkelens Oct 21 '14 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ This is the answer I had in mind, though as oerkelens said, you'd have to trust that the Mob Boss approved of your method. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 21 '14 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ @oerkelens yes, I was aware of that detail. But of course that was to make the reader have a little smile. You can also agree with the Boss to kick your ass when he approves, or something like that. $\endgroup$ – Mathias711 Oct 21 '14 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ That's what I call the ostrich policy. Burry your head and hope the problem goes away. $\endgroup$ – Florian F Oct 23 '14 at 12:58
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Bury yourself up to the level of your neck, but hold your arms above your head. With your arms free, you can easily dig yourself out again before the tide comes in.

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Step 1: Put a small boat on that spot,
Step 2: Fill the boat with sand,
Step 3: Bury yourself in the sand that's in the boat.

When the tide comes up, the boat will float, and you'll survive...

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A bit more realistic approach: Bury yourself squatting with your knees up to your shoulders, if your head is above the sand, there are only a few kg of sand above your shoulders and you can easily stand up. This would need the least loopholes and will look exactly the same form the outside as someone buried standing - and you wouldn't have to crank your neck like with lying down.

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You could, in theory, build a wall of sand around you with the sand you dug out (and probably more) to keep the water from drowning you.

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  • $\begingroup$ not sure why there was a downvote without a comment. its a perfectly viable solution. $\endgroup$ – Keltari Oct 22 '14 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ It's essentially the same as d'alar'cop's answer. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 22 '14 at 13:08
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Can I do something like this?

enter image description here

*Please do not down vote XD

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  • $\begingroup$ I would not consider that buried. I would consider that "standing in a hole". It's not a bad answer or idea, but it wouldn't work. You're not really buried in sand, just surrounded by it on all sides. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 23 '14 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Zibbobz Yea I was thinking so. 'Bury' should be totally covered in sand right? Anyway just trying out. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – 4 Leave Cover Oct 24 '14 at 1:06
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    $\begingroup$ Not a bad try by any means. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Oct 24 '14 at 13:25
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Bury yourself like a normal person, just don't face the sea. That way, when the waves hit, they will hit the back of your head and the retreating waves don't have that much force so I think you will be saved. That is assuming that sea level doesn't rise.

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  • $\begingroup$ The assumption here is that the sea level will rise. "He specifies a spot that will have you drowning when the tide comes in." pretty much makes it explicit. $\endgroup$ – Zibbobz Feb 7 '15 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ Ok. Then I am clueless. @Zibbobz $\endgroup$ – Sol Infinus Feb 7 '15 at 15:40
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Bury yourself in a slightly reclined position so that your upper torso is only buried a few inches and you legs and feet buried slightly more. It would be easy to sit up then use your hands to dig your legs and feet out.

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Bury yourself sideways. Sand up to your neck wouldn't be heavy enough to restrict you, or even fully cover your body.

Mob boss leaves, then you stand up and walk away. Or, immediately after burying yourself up to your neck sideways, let him verify that half of your sideways body is buried up to your neck, then get up and walk away having fulfilled his orders.

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If you have to bury yourself up to your neck, you need your arms to do so. While there may be sand up to your neck, your arms will have been free enough to dig yourself in, so they will be free enough to dig yourself out.

I don't see a problem there, unless the Mob Boss will be waiting for the tide to do its work and keeps you (at gunpoint) from digging yourself out again.

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