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Questions tagged [combinatorics]

A puzzle based on combinatorial mathematics, which is the study of finite or countable discrete structures.

23
votes
8answers
1k views

Wolves and sheep

All the sheep were living peacefully in the Land of Shewo. But suddenly they were struck by a danger. A few wolves dressed up as sheep entered the territory of Shewo and started killing the sheep one ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

France's Public Holidays' Puzzle

In France, there are 11 public holidays. As a French employee which enjoys public holidays on week days, you want to know if it is possible that all of the 11 public holidays during one year fall on ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

Sequence made of symbols

(My friend in real life gave me this)That's the original sequence: ⬅↕➡,⬅↕,➡,⬅,?,?,↕➡ I'm going to use other symbols to make it readable: (/), (/,), (/, ?, ?, /) I've noticed that the comma ...
1
vote
2answers
114 views

alphanumerical sequence Correct one

I have tried to solve this sequence which, I suppose has been created from the combination of a,b,c,d,e. I've reposted the correct sequence The sequence: (a,c), ?, ?, ?, (a,e), ?, ?, (c,d), ?, (b,...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

Dragons and Dragon Slayers

In the Kingdom, there are 7 dragons and 7 dragon slayers. Each dragon has ($\text{index}\times10000$) hit points (i.e. $10,000\to70,000$). Each dragon slayer does ($\text{index}\times1000$) damage (i....
21
votes
6answers
2k views

A game with 52 cards

Alice and Bob play the following game with two (identical) standard decks of $52$ cards. First Alice secretly arranges one deck of $52$ cards in a long row on the table. All cards are face-down, and ...
3
votes
2answers
614 views

Bridge building with irregular planks

Imagine you have a big rectangular pond in your back garden. You wish to build a bridge from your house in the lower left corner to the small pagoda in the top right. You have lots of planks of ...
12
votes
1answer
800 views

Hacking a Safe Lock after 3 tries

My friend has a safe lock, with a numeric password of 4 digits (varying between 0-9 each). She lost the password and looked for my help. Fortunately, I was able to hack it. I could try some different ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Four buttons on a table

I was asked lately (in an interview) to solve this puzzle, which is similar to the 4 cups on table puzzle. In a certain room there is a rotating round table, with 4 symmetrically located ...
3
votes
1answer
187 views

Albrecht Durer Inspired Magic Square

A magic square is an n-dimensional matrix in which each row, column, and main diagonal sums to the same 'magic number' (denoted by s). A normal magic square uses each of the numbers from 1 to n ...
0
votes
2answers
115 views

Chess tournament winning streaks #2

So I asked a question here, which asks how many ways there are to score 7 points in 7 chess tournament games using the system on lichess.org, outlined both here and in the original question. That was ...
6
votes
7answers
308 views

Find minimum number of meeting periods to reach 2 degrees of separation for a group [closed]

I am running a training course and I want to arrange a set of 1:1 meeting periods between the participants such that at the end of the day there is a maximum of 2 degrees of separation between any of ...
9
votes
1answer
282 views

Chess tournament winning streaks

On lichess.org, they use a points system for keeping track of who is winning in a tournament. A win is worth two points, a draw is worth one point, and a loss worth zero points. Once a player has ...
2
votes
2answers
237 views

Unlock an answering machine using minimum number of digits

You know of answering machines with a remote inquiry facility, where you can call the answering machine and enter a four digit passcode into your telephone keypad, so you can listen to your messages ...
14
votes
1answer
927 views

One beer too many

You're standing outside your apartment building after a late night out, with perhaps one beer too many, and you realize you have completely forgotten the code to get in. Luckily, you're a mathematical ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Move fast … Or you will lose

Suppose you're on a 4 × 6 grid, and want to go from the bottom left to the top right. How many different paths can you take? Avoid backtracking -- you can only move right or up.
31
votes
18answers
27k views

Draw a line through all doors

I saw the following problem on 4chan and couldn't solve it: It's very likely to be some kind of troll (no solution). I'm hoping to see some rigorous proofs that disprove the existence of such a line....
3
votes
2answers
244 views

Enumerate the ways of putting six armies of queens on a humongous chessboard

This is a sort of a sub-problem of the open puzzle Peaceful Encampments, for high numbers of armies. Consider a chessboard with an astronomically large number of vanishingly small squares, on which ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Rectangles in a chess board

How many rectangles can be made from the individual spaces of a chess board?
1
vote
4answers
378 views

The Building, the Elevator and the Milkwoman

A building has $10$ stories ($i=1, 2, \ldots, 10$, where $i=0$ is the ground floor). Each of those stories have $4$ apartments. Inside each apartment there is a married couple. The ground floor, $i=0$,...
7
votes
3answers
207 views

Distinct Arrangements of Balls on Tiles

You want to put several balls on $8 \times 8$ tiles, such that all $16$ ball arrangements on its rows and columns are different. What is the minimum number of balls to be put? Two arrangements of ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Proving the count of symmetric configurations of pentagon

In a 3 × 3 dot grid, there are 5 configurations of symmetric pentagons. I am confused about how to prove that it is really just 5. Can anyone enlighten me?
2
votes
0answers
89 views

Telephone Exchange Vandalism [closed]

Our telephone exchange has 1000 wire-based connections. You dial a number, you get connected to the exchange and they put you through. Yesterday, vandals broke in and disconnected all the wires. Your ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Find a specific path on an n x n grid [duplicate]

Given a puzzle of the following form: Find a path between the top left corner to the bottom right corner, visiting each spot (.) exactly once. You can only move horizontally or vertically. ...
5
votes
2answers
186 views

Rotating 12 players on 2 tables

I'm stuck trying to find a good way to rotate 12 poker players on 2 tables. Assumptions: There are 12 players There are 2 tables We play for 4 hours Playing with sb means sitting at the same table ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Three coins for the fair king [duplicate]

Based on the question Eight coins for the fair king: I saw a comment saying "There isn't a good solution known even with three coins in all cases". So the challenge here is to try to solve the same ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Complete the magic square!

So, my math teacher gave us a magic math square with the 9 in the bottom right corner, the 7 in the left column middle row, and the 1 in the middle column top row. She said she would give whoever ...
14
votes
4answers
565 views

Balancing Balls

I have a disk with 6 equally spaced dents around the edge. The disk balances on the center point. I want to place marbles around the edge so that it stays balanced. There are four ways that this can ...
12
votes
4answers
787 views

Crosses and Circles

Place two crosses on two cells of each row and column of this 9×9 board, and circles elsewhere, so that the number on the right of each row indicates the number of circles between its two crosses, ...
8
votes
2answers
661 views

Four Magic Ellipses

These four ellipses represent four sets and all the possible ways they can intersect (a Venn diagram, in other words). There are 8 regions inside each ellipse, and 15 regions altogether. Is it ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

The Erasmus 0-1 game

Professor Erasmus told me that today he has proved another fascinating theorem about strings made of 0s and 1s. He takes an arbitrary such string and repeats the following step on it: if the leftmost ...
9
votes
1answer
226 views

Puzzles like Sokoban?

I am looking for some puzzles like Sokoban or 15-puzzle but more difficult to solve and satisfy the following requirements: The number of possible moves at each step should be limited, let's say < ...
7
votes
1answer
158 views

A Christmas Tennis Tournament

Three friends, Charles, Hugh, and Freddy, played a one-month tennis tournament, just one match between two of them every single day during last December. During the tournament, whoever lost the day's ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Twelve friends and their birthdays

Twelve friends: Anna, Bill, Deb, Dory, Eliza, Gaby, Jan, John, Judy, Mary, Otto and Sam, were talking about their birthdays, and much to their surprise discovered that they were all born on different ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How many hexagonal paths?

Here is a hexagonal tiling, borrowed from Wikipedia. I start in any hexagon on the left hand side. I end at any hexagon on the right hand side. I can only travel to the right, not up, down or ...
14
votes
9answers
7k views

Salesman's claim for mechanical keypad lock - 5 buttons and 545 combinations!

A company makes mechanical keypad locks. The keypad is a set of five buttons arranged vertically. O O O O O The buttons are quite close together. Once a ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Creating my climbing wall

[based on a true story] I have here some climbing holds that I've made. There are two relevant parameters: The angle on the top, and The thickness, as shown. Now it is definitely the case that $...
14
votes
2answers
16k views

What's the fewest weights you need to balance any weight from 1 to 40 pounds?

Suppose you want to create a set of weights so that any object with an integer weight from 1 to 40 pounds can be balanced on a two-sided scale by placing a certain combination of these weights onto ...
48
votes
9answers
66k views

Twelve balls and a scale

You are given twelve identical-looking balls and a two-sided scale. One of the balls is of a different weight, although you don't know whether it's lighter or heavier. How can you use just three ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Finding Doctor No

James Bond is invited to a party with altogether $128$ participants (including Bond himself, the host, and the hostess). At the beginning of the party the host takes James Bond aside and asks him to ...
4
votes
3answers
338 views

How many subset intersections do you require?

Alice chooses a subset S of {A,B,C,D,E}. Bob makes a guess of any subset T and Alice tells him the number of elements in S$\cap$T. Bob has to continue making guesses until he can exactly determine S....
18
votes
4answers
2k views

The 8-dimensional vegetable kebab

You are given two of each from the array of 8 vegetables numbered 1 to 8 as shown above. So in total you have 16 veggies(8 pairs). Your task is to make the longest kebab (sequence of vegetables ...
4
votes
1answer
203 views

Making transmitting data safe - double reading

Hopefully in the spirit of the Fortnightly Challenge 3rd Sept 2018 - Reusing Information If we are given a binary string, say: 1100010101100011 and we wish to transmit it safely, we might use '...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

How to divide them into groups

You have found $13$ gold coins and strangely their weights are from $1$ to $13$ grams (such as $1,2,3,...$). You are bored and out of the blue you decided to divide golds into groups such as the sums ...
7
votes
1answer
159 views

Class Seating Arrangement

There are $25$ students with distinct heights in a class. The seats are arranged in the class like a square array ($5$x$5$) and students are seated such a way that each person will be taller than both ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Help me visit my friend through his new digital key lock [duplicate]

A friend of mine whom I have repeatedly tried to visit has upgraded his house‘s security system. Instead of using doorkeys which were quite easy to borrow, he‘s using one of these fancy new electric ...
7
votes
3answers
124 views

Lots of Parallelepiped

A,B,C,D are four points which are not on the same plane. How many different parallelepiped can be constructed whose vertices are these points? Parallelepiped is a solid figure with six faces ...
33
votes
9answers
5k views

Can political debates really work?

In the far-off country of Politica, there are three main parties: the Left, the Right, and the Centre. In the last election, there were 19 million Left voters, 21 million Right voters, and 23 million ...
12
votes
3answers
752 views

Sticky sticky stick stick

You are given a long enough stick. Your task is to create a new type of foldable ruler something like shown below with it by cutting the stick into pieces and folding them at one point: You need to ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How many different non congruent polygons can you make on a 3x3 dot grid?

There is a $3\times3$ dot grid. How many different non-congruent polygons can you make on the grid? Rules: All vertices of the polygon must be on the grid Only non self intersecting polygons Only ...