Interesting story I stumbled upon:

Aymara is a South American language spoken by more than 2 million people in the area around Lake Titicaca. Among the speakers of Aymara are the Uros, a fishing people who live on artificial islands, woven from reeds, that float on the surface of Lake Titicaca.

Below, seven fishermen describe their catch.

  1. “Mä hach’a challwawa challwataxa.”
  2. “Kimsa hach’a challwawa challwataxa.”
  3. “Mä challwa mä hach’a challwampiwa challwataxa.”
  4. “Mä hach’a challwa kimsa challwallampiwa challwataxa.”
  5. “Paya challwallawa challwataxa.”
  6. “Mä challwalla paya challwampiwa challwataxa.”
  7. “Kimsa challwa paya challwallampiwa challwataxa.”

Only problem is, one of the fishermen is lying.

Can you tell who caught what?

enter image description here

This task was published here, and it contains the solution.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Hum hum: nacloweb.org/resources/problems/2008/naclo08r1_sol.pdf $\endgroup$
    – IAmInPLS
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ (If this is in fact an interesting story you stumbled upon, and that's not just set-dressing for the puzzle, please credit your source. If doing so would reveal the answer, you can cite it when the puzzle is solved, but not attributing properly can get this deleted (and you suspended) for plagiarism.) $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, You found the source. But, try to solve it yourself :-). It took almost 3 hours for me. $\endgroup$
    – Fejs
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ I just found the solution in 7 seconds, hence I won't answer below. $\endgroup$
    – IAmInPLS
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:09
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Do you mean you found the solution on the web in 7 seconds? Or do you mean you solved the puzzle in 7 seconds? I am very impressed if it's the latter. I think it might take me more than 7 seconds to do this even if the descriptions were in English... $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


OK, let's give this a go.

  • "challwa" appears so much in all the sentences that it must mean something like "fish"
  • "challwataxa" appears exactly once in each sentence, so it probably means something like "I caught" (the verb for catching a fish being cognate with the word for fish)
  • "hach'a" appears in exactly three sentences, so it could mean the large fish
  • my vague memories from when I learned some of the Aymara language years ago1 tell me that "paya" and "kimsa" are numbers, probably two and three.

Now let's have a look at some of the statements. The simplest is:

  1. "Paya challwallawa challwataxa."

Going with all my deductions/guesses from above, this must mean "I caught two [type] fish". Assuming this speaker isn't the liar, we have 5 = d and that "challwallawa" means the smallest type of fish.

The word "challwalla" appears as well as "challwallawa"; these are so similar that they must be related, and I'll guess that "challwallawa" is the plural of "challwalla". Which means ...

  1. “Mä challwalla paya challwampiwa challwataxa.”

"" must mean the number one, and this sentence means "I caught one small fish and two [type] fish". Again assuming this speaker isn't the liar, we have 6=f and that "challwampiwa" means the medium-sized type of fish.

  1. “Mä hach’a challwawa challwataxa.”

We know this means "I caught one [something] fish", so presumably "hach'a" means the largest type of fish and 1=g.

  1. “Kimsa hach’a challwawa challwataxa.”

This means "I caught three large fish", so we've found the liar. (It's also not surprising that the liar's claim is the most exaggerated.)

  1. “Mä challwa mä hach’a challwampiwa challwataxa.”

This sounds like "I caught one fish and one large fish" - I guess it means 3=a.

  1. “Mä hach’a challwa kimsa challwallampiwa challwataxa.”

This means "I caught one large fish and three small fish", so 4=c.

  1. “Kimsa challwa paya challwallampiwa challwataxa.”

This sounds like "I caught three fish and two small fish" - I guess it means 7=e.

By elimination, we have the final solution:

1 = g
2 = b (liar)
3 = a
4 = c
5 = d
6 = f
7 = e.

1 Yes, really.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice reasoning. I took wrong assumption at the beginning that Mä hach’a is a number, instead of only . Took a while until I realized... $\endgroup$
    – Fejs
    Jan 12, 2017 at 6:26

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