Questions tagged [combinatorics]

A puzzle based on combinatorics, which is the study of counting discrete structures. Use with [mathematics]

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6
votes
1answer
347 views

Discounts in a shop

I came across this sign in a shop and thought it could make a nice puzzle. So you can buy items and get discounts depending on how many items you got. You can combine discounts and use as many as you ...
5
votes
3answers
224 views

The vaccine distribution conundrum

The context is that of a pandemic that is spreading wildly and requiring global vaccination of the population. You are working in a distribution center for the vaccines. One day you have been ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

combinations of a strange magic square

The following question has been described to me by my math teacher: The diagram below is to be filled in so that each white square contains a different whole number from 1 to 12 (inclusive) and the ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Balls in baskets

There are 16 baskets: 4 red, 4 blue, 4 green and 4 black. Each basket contains a ball from one of the 4 colours (see image). You can pick up a ball from one basket and swap it with a ball from another ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Beans under the chessboard

Under every grid cell of a chessboard, I put either one bean or nothing. Now if you choose a (grid) rectangular area on the chessboard, then I will tell you the parity of the number of beans under ...
1
vote
2answers
225 views

Painting a 6x6 with 3 colours

Can you paint a 6x6 grid in red, green and blue, such that its every 3x3 sub-grid contains exactly 5 red, 3 green and 1 blue cell? Good luck!
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Can you survive this infinite zombie attack?

You're surrounded by infinitely many zombies. You're at the origin, and zombies occupy the points $(100i,100j)$ for all integer $i, j$ except the origin, as shown below: You and the zombies move ...
14
votes
2answers
800 views

7x7 Golomb square

Can you paint $7$ cells of a $7 \times 7$ grid such that the Euclidean distance* between any pair of painted cells is distinct? Good luck! *The Euclidean distance between cells $(r_1,c_1)$ and $(r_2,...
3
votes
2answers
660 views

Too many school assignments

This year we have to make our school assignments in pairs. With each classmate must be made exactly one of those assignments. Exactly 30% of the assignments will be made by a pair of girls. How many ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

Is it possible to calculate group 3's factor of 3 in Thistlethwaite algorithm?

https://www.jaapsch.net/puzzles/thistle.htm I'm trying to generate 29400 ($8C4^2 * 6$) indices for each one of the cube states in G2. $8C4^2$ = 4900 is for solving the corner and edge pieces (forming ...
9
votes
1answer
725 views

Who will win in a game of writing 3 consecutive Xs on a 2022 × 1 board?

Ana and Bob alternately write Xs on a 2022 × 1 board. The winner is the one who makes 3 consecutive Xs. Who has the winning strategy if Ana plays the first move? Describe such a strategy.
3
votes
1answer
112 views

Snake game on a 9×9 grid

You are playing a snake game. The snake starts in the top-left corner of a grid. Each cell of the grid is either empty or a wall. Each turn you can press a key to move the snake in one of four ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Snake game on a 6×6 grid

You are playing a snake game. The snake starts in the top-left corner of a grid. Each cell of the grid is either empty or a wall. Each turn you can press a key to move the snake in one of four ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Minimize 1×3 tiles on a 5×5 table to block any more 1×3 tiles

What is the minimum number of 1×3 tiles that can be put on a 5×5 table so that no more 1×3 tiles can be put on it? Borders of a tiles are parallel to sides of the table. It is 5 but I can not prove ...
33
votes
10answers
5k views

Winning Strategy for the Magician and his Apprentice

There are $13$ upside-down opaque cups and $2$ balls, a magician and his apprentice and yourself. You decide under which cups to put the balls, and the objective of the magician is to find the two ...
3
votes
3answers
252 views

Not selling 100 pencils

A shop sells pencils only in boxes of fixed size. It cannot sell 100 pencils. It can sell any larger amount of pencils. It has one of each size box on display. question 1: What is the minimum amount ...
6
votes
1answer
202 views

A 3x3 grid with common factors

A $3 \times 3$ grid $G$ is filled with every number from the set $\{2,3,5,6,7,11,14,15,30\}$. Now a new $3 \times 3$ grid $H$ is formed, such that $H_{ij}$ is the number of neighbors of $G_{ij}$ that ...
11
votes
4answers
941 views

Deriving a 3x3 grid from another one

A $3 \times 3$ grid $G$ is filled with every number from $1$ to $9$. Now a new $3 \times 3$ grid $H$ is formed, such that $H_{ij}$ is the number of neighbors of $G_{ij}$ that are greater than $G_{ij}$....
1
vote
1answer
197 views

How to think about permutation puzzles?

I know this is a very general question, but these kinds of puzzles are the only ones I can't figure out on my own. Rubik's cube, Twiddle, 16... (the last two are in Simon Tatham's Puzzle collection.) ...
8
votes
3answers
680 views

Perfect magic 4x4 square

Can you fill a 4x4 grid with every number from 1 to 16, such that every row, every column and every 2x2 sub-grid of numbers sum to the same value?
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Unusual 3x3 square

Can you fill a 3x3 grid with every number from 1 to 9, such that the sum of numbers in the first row is equal to the sum of numbers in every 2x2 sub-grid? Can you find multiple solutions?
8
votes
1answer
312 views

Manual tiling with 8 dodecadudes

Here are 8 dodecadudes. (Drawn from the very numerous dodecadrafters, made from 12 half equilateral triangles, dodecadudes are a subset of 770 pieces with sharp points and narrow necks excluded). ...
9
votes
1answer
487 views

Plants vs Zombies!

Several plants and zombies (no more than 20 creatures in total) came to the party “Plants VS Zombies”, and it turned out that all the creatures are of different heights. When a plant speaks to a lower ...
17
votes
5answers
875 views

Maximize the number of paths

You have exactly 990 edges. Assemble them into a simple undirected graph with two distinguished vertices A and B, such that the number of different simple paths from A to B is as large as you can make ...
8
votes
3answers
656 views

How Many Squares on the Peg Solitaire

We have a well known peg solitaire which is not played yet as seen below: At most how many squares can you make by joining the points as exemplified below? Note: No ball (point) in the middle! Don't ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Swapping 3 knights in a 4x4 grid

Can you swap black and white knights in this 4x4 grid? There is one important constraint: at no point can a knight be under attack by an opponent knight. Knights move using standard chess moves (L ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Surrounding an L-shaped tromino

You are given an L-shaped tromino, shown below. Can you surround it by 10 more L-shaped trominoes? The new trominoes can be rotated and must touch the original tromino at an edge or a corner. This ...
1
vote
2answers
339 views

Find the least number of objects from a jar when those have two colors

I've been going in circles with this question which belongs to certainty about something. The original source of this problem is unknown. I found it in a textbook who doesn't have an author but rather ...
10
votes
5answers
961 views

2 fake coins from a pile of 30 coins

You need to find two fake coins from a pile of 30 coins. You know that a fake coin has a different weight to a real coin, but you don't know whether it is lighter or heavier. You also know that all ...
10
votes
2answers
590 views

Two football teams

Twenty two football players have agreed to split every week into two teams and play a match against each other. Every week, teams will be chosen differently, 11 players in each team, and they will ...
45
votes
4answers
8k views

The coolest checkerboard magic trick

In the small town of Terni (Italy), there's a couple of young friends named Marco and Leonardo, who like to perform magic tricks to a restricted audience of common friends and relatives. They like to ...
13
votes
2answers
911 views

Placing 9 cars into a 4x4 carpark

A carpark is arranged in a 4x4 grid and has a single entry/exit as shown in the diagram. A car has the size of a single cell of the grid. Cars can move through adjacent empty cells of the carpark ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Ten distinct numbers in the table

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9
votes
1answer
325 views

Four-by-four table with equal row and column products

Is there a way of filling a 4×4 table with 16 distinct integers from 1, 2, ..., 100 such that the products of the numbers in every row and in every column are all equal to each other?
1
vote
1answer
137 views

Probability of a successful DT Cannon

In multiplayer Tetris, there are a number of opening setups that let you send powerful attacks very quickly. One popular opening is the DT Cannon, which allows the player to very quickly send a T-Spin ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

Swapping eggs puzzle

You can try this with pencil and paper, or make it a physical puzzle you can try out with your kids if you have one of those large 3x6 egg cartons laying around. Imagine you have 3 rows of 6 spots. ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Non-increasing arrangement

We are arranging the numbers from 1 to 8 in an order so that three consecutive terms cannot be increasing. For example, 12345678 isn’t allowed but 81436572 is. How many ways are there to do it? Please ...
15
votes
5answers
655 views

Domino tiling on 8x8 checkerboard with four squares removed

I once posted this problem on the (now deleted) Area 51 Math Puzzles proposal. It was well-received there, but obviously I didn't get an answer. I still don't know the answer, and I'm not even sure if ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

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

There is a 3×3 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 polygons ...
2
votes
0answers
68 views

Fair and square island hopping [duplicate]

If amateur fiction is not your thing skip to the bottom. As IP (Implausible Physics) expert for DREAM, the Department for Reckless Engineering and Advanced Megalomania you have been tasked by sheikh ...
1
vote
2answers
231 views

Minimize the longest King chain on a 6x6 ternary grid

This puzzle is an extension of this one: Minimize the longest King chain on a 5x5 binary board Given a grid filled with numbers, we define a King chain to be a path on the grid such that: The path ...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

Minimize the longest King chain on a 7x7 binary grid

This puzzle is an extension of this one: Minimize the longest King chain on a 5x5 binary board Given a grid filled with numbers, we define a King chain to be a path on the grid such that: The path ...
4
votes
1answer
339 views

Two knight tours on a 4x4 grid

Two knights are placed on opposite corners of a 4x4 grid. Can you move* each knight 7 times, such that each cell of the grid is visited exactly once by exactly one of the knights? *Note that a knight ...
13
votes
7answers
843 views

Minimize the longest King chain on a 5x5 binary board

Given a grid filled with numbers, let's define a King chain to be a path on the grid such that the path can be traversed with chess King's moves (moving to one of 8 adjacent cells at a time), the ...
5
votes
0answers
193 views

Choosing squares on a square board [closed]

I have an $8 \times 8$ board. On the board, I want to choose 2 unit squares in each column and row such that none of the chosen squares are touching. This means they cannot share a side or a corner. ...
3
votes
2answers
93 views

Dividing the first 10 numbers into two groups with similar product

Can you paint all numbers from 2 to 10 with red and blue colour, such that the product of all red numbers is as close as possible to the product of all blue numbers?
9
votes
1answer
1k views

On an 8x8 board, a knight is on the second square of the last row. Only moving upwards, how many routes to the top?

In chess, a knight moves in L-shaped jumps consisting of two squares along a row or column plus one square at a right angle. If it can only move up the board, how many routes can it take to reach any ...
3
votes
2answers
200 views

Determine minimal number of moves to find cells on a square table 10×10 in which a treasure is hidden

In a 10x10 square table, two neigbouring 1x1 cells contain a hidden treasure. John needs to guess these cells. In one move he can choose some cell of the table and can get information whether there is ...
10
votes
2answers
461 views

Sixteen chess pieces on a square board

It is well known that the eight main chess pieces cannot cover a chess board. Suppose I have two sets of the eight main pieces. What is the size of the largest chess-like square board all of whose ...
6
votes
1answer
395 views

Eight distinct numbers in the table

While I was working on Ten distinct numbers in the table, I found that odd-sized tables will all work. Additionally, the technique @xnor used to prove a 10x10 doesn't work does not automatically rule ...

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