Questions tagged [combinatorics]

A puzzle based on combinatorics, which is the study of counting discrete structures.

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6
votes
4answers
174 views

Neighboring sums 5x5 game

You start with an empty 5x5 grid. At each turn you choose an empty cell and place a value in it. The placed value is given by the following rules: If the chosen cell has no neighboring (horizontal or ...
10
votes
3answers
363 views

Neighboring sums 4x4 game

Here is an interesting game. You start with an empty 4x4 grid. At each turn you can choose an empty cell and place a value in it. The placed value is given by the following rules: If the chosen cell ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

Forming pairs of trominoes on an 8X8 grid

On an 8x8 grid I put 21 trominoes of thee different colors. Each group of 7 trominoes has one color. By visual inspection we see the trominoes cover the whole surface except the single empty square ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

Optimal Strategy for Matching Pairs

I found a reality TV show recently that I thought would make a fun puzzle. On the show are 10 men and 10 women that have been "matched by experts" (ie. randomly paired). Their goal is to ...
-3
votes
1answer
123 views

Self-intersecting polygonal chains in a hexagon [closed]

This is continuation of this Q&A. Given a regular hexagon with center at point O: Question: How many self-intersecting polygonal chains are there that connect 7 points? The self-intersecting ...
6
votes
1answer
170 views

Plus-sized amoeba escapes

As an extension to @WhatsUp 's question here, the rules of which are included below, with the following differences: In one of the squares, there lives an amoeba (marked as a circle in the following ...
21
votes
2answers
683 views

Amoebas escaping the prison

There is an infinite grid of squares. In one of the squares, there lives an amoeba (marked as a circle in the following pictures). Amoebas cannot move, but they can perform their unique action: an ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

Prime stepping stones

Start by placing number $1$ anywhere on an infinite square grid. Now place numbers $2, 3, 4, \ldots, K$ in order. A number $k$ can be placed if the following rules hold: It must be adjacent (...
0
votes
2answers
88 views

Car registration similarity [closed]

In my city, car registration plates contain 3 numbers (0 to 9) and 3 letters (A to Z). Today I've noticed that my neighbour's car has the same registration as my car except for one character. Should I ...
9
votes
2answers
428 views

What is the minimum number of problems in the pool?

Using a pool of problems, 16 tests will be formed, following certain conditions: Every test should have the same number of problems. Any problem should be included in at most 8 tests. Every group of ...
13
votes
1answer
523 views

The tip of a colorful triangle

Original source: Problem 1 of British Informatics Olympiad 2017, Round 1 You're given a bunch of red (R), green (G), and blue (B) balls. I arrange some balls on a line. Then I ask you to complete the ...
7
votes
1answer
155 views

My two button microwave

Long ago, I encountered a microwave with a display in the "HH:MM:SS" format. But instead of a number pad, you entered the desired time through two buttons: An "up" button, which ...
8
votes
1answer
204 views

Generalized color balls in a 4x4 grid

This is a generalization of the Colored balls in a 4x4 grid puzzle that was proposed by Darrel Hoffman. Colored balls from 4 different colors are placed in a 4x4 grid. There is at least one ball from ...
8
votes
4answers
948 views

Colored balls in a 4x4 grid

Colored balls are placed in a 4x4 grid. A move consists of swapping two adjacent (horizontally or vertically) balls. What is the least number of moves required to form 4 connected components*, one for ...
5
votes
1answer
398 views

All values in a 6x6 Super Minesweeper grid

In a Super™ Minesweeper grid each cell is either a mine or a value. A value in row $𝑟$ and column $𝑐$ represents the total number of mines located in row $𝑟$ or column $𝑐$ Can you fill a 6x6 Super™...
4
votes
1answer
215 views

Most 5s in a 5x5 Super Minesweeper grid

In a Super™ Minesweeper grid each cell is either a mine or a value. A value in row $𝑟$ and column $𝑐$ represents the total number of mines located in row $𝑟$ or column $𝑐$. What is the most number ...
10
votes
1answer
617 views

All values in a 5x5 Super Minesweeper grid

In a Super™ Minesweeper grid each cell is either a mine or a value. A value in row $r$ and column $c$ represents the total number of mines located in row $r$ or column $c$. Can you fill a 5x5 Super™ ...
-1
votes
2answers
286 views

How many triangles can you obtain using the 6 vertices and center of a regular hexagon?

Let's say there is a regular hexagon with center at point O. Question 1. How many triangles can you obtain using the 6 vertices and its center? Question 2. What is the largest number of different ...
3
votes
1answer
169 views

Variation of 100 Prisoners' names in boxes

100 Prisoners' Names in Boxes The following puzzle is a variation of the above puzzle. Names in Boxes The names of 4 prisoners are placed in 4 wooden boxes , one name to a box, and the boxes are ...
9
votes
2answers
346 views

Maximize my flags

You are given the next list of 48 flags. For each pair of flags that are side by side, you score 1 point per color they share as a frontier. For instance France and Finland score 1 point thanks to ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Presidential Election

This puzzle was inspired by the current 2020 US presidential election. You are running for president in a country with 10 states. To win a state you must conduct more rallies than your opponent. ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Special arrangement of 16 cards

This puzzle is from Martin Gardner. You are given 16 cards containing all aces, kings, queens and jacks from a standard deck of cards. Can you arrange them in a 4x4 grid such that each row and each ...
3
votes
4answers
142 views

Given pairs of weights find individual values

The problem is as follows: A kid has five marbles. These marbles have different weights and the child weighs them in pairs in all possible ways. He records the weights in his notebook. These are the ...
1
vote
1answer
123 views

Visiting primes on a line

Recently I have been playing a great mobile game called Dicast: Rules of Chaos and it has inspired me to make this puzzle. This puzzle proceeds on an infinite number line, where each integer is ...
2
votes
3answers
426 views

Trapping fairy chess pieces

This puzzle is based on this wonderful puzzle. A fairy chess piece is placed on an infinitely large chess board with no edges. It can only visit each square once. What is the smallest number of moves ...
5
votes
1answer
191 views

Sudoku Logic From Another Planet

This is the brutally hard Tatooine Sunset Sudoku puzzle by Philip Newman ... except the Noble Happy Star has goofed! Two of the digits have been swapped and there are multiple solutions. Fortunately, ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Stepping Stones 1, 2, 3

I came across this beautiful puzzle and decided to create my own version. Start by placing numbers 1, 2 and 3 anywhere on an infinite square grid. Now place numbers 4, 5, 6 ... $m$ in order, subject ...
17
votes
5answers
936 views

Basic Numerical Boggle

In this post, we were introduced to the game of Numerical Boggle on a $6 \times 6$ board, the rules of which are as follows Each cell must contain a single digit from $0$ to $9$. Starting in one cell ...
4
votes
2answers
238 views

Lesser derangement on a round table

This is a harder variant of Super-derangement on a round table. There is a round table with 16 seats, each seat labeled with 1 to 16 in clockwise order. Also, there are 16 people, each of whom is ...
6
votes
1answer
232 views

Super-derangement on a round table

There is a round table with 16 seats, each seat labeled with 1 to 16 in clockwise order. Also, there are 16 people, each of whom is assigned a unique integer between 1 and 16 inclusive. Now, the 16 ...
9
votes
2answers
169 views

4x4 grid equations version 2

I decided to make another one of these, because they are fun and this one is rather different. Can you place all numbers from 1 to 16 into cells, such that the following 8 equations hold? Note that ...
10
votes
1answer
546 views

4x4 grid equations

Can you place all numbers from 1 to 16 into cells, such that the following 8 equations hold? Note that the operator "/" only works for non-remainder division, i.e. you can have "8 / 4&...
3
votes
3answers
947 views

Most intersections with Olympic rings

The Olympic symbol has 5 rings that intersect at 8 points: What is the most number of intersection points can you achieve by moving the rings?
2
votes
0answers
406 views

A robot moving on a grid. Part 2

This is an extension of the discussion A robot is placed on a grid point. At each move the robot must take three steps along the edge of the grid. After each step the robot must turn right. Lengths of ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

3 switches and 4 lights

The are three switches (1, 2 and 3) and four lights (A, B, C and D). Each switch turns on exactly two lights and no two switches turn on identical lights. You know that Lights A, B and C are on when ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

A robot making increasing steps

A robot starts on a cell in an infinite grid. On the first turn it can move 1 cell horizontally or vertically. On the $n$-th turn ($n>1$) it can move $n$ cells horizontally or vertically, but it ...
5
votes
3answers
189 views

Swapping 6 queens in a 4x4 grid

What is the least number of moves required to swap black and white queens? Queens move using standard chess rules - any number of empty cells vertically, horizontally or diagonally in a straight line. ...
10
votes
1answer
728 views

Swapping 3 rooks in a 3x3 grid

This puzzle was inspired by this one: Swapping rooks in a 4x4 board What is the least number of moves required to swap black and white rooks? Rooks move using standard chess rules - any number of ...
4
votes
1answer
354 views

Die rolling around a 6x6 grid

Each side of a standard 6-sided die is painted with a different color. A 6x6 grid is drawn on paper and the die is placed in one of its corners. At each turn the die can be rolled to an adjacent cell (...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

Sorting 9 numbers with 9 flips

You want to sort a sequence of numbers into ascending order. You can perform flips: take a sub-sequence of 4 numbers (a, b, c, d) and reverse their order to obtain (d, c, b, a). Can you sort the ...
13
votes
1answer
445 views

Is $~\let\r\raise\text{3rd.3}\r.6ex{\small3}\r1.1ex{\scriptsize3}\!\:\r1.6ex{\tiny3}\!\;\r2.2ex.\!\r2.5ex.\!\r2.8ex.\!\!\!\!\!\!(~)~$ too much to ask?

You will not be asked to devise a function to find the third-least of $ 3 \raise .6ex {\small 3} \raise 1.1ex { \scriptsize 3}\!\: \raise 1.6ex { \tiny 3} \!\; ...
5
votes
2answers
308 views

General orchard planting problem for circles

My previous puzzle asked for the maximum number of 4-point circles attainable from a configuration of $n=10$ points drawn on a plane. I am now interested in generalizations of this puzzle to arbitrary ...
6
votes
3answers
857 views

Flipping coins in a circle

We have a set of N coins that are all placed in a circle. They all have "Tails" as their face up side. The coins are all distinct and have numbers (1,2,3...N) written on them. In each move, ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

Orchard planting problem for squares

The classic Orchard planting problem asks for the maximum number of 3-point straight lines attainable from a configuration of $n$ points drawn on a plane. Here we are interested in a variant of this ...
6
votes
3answers
446 views

Orchard planting problem for circles

The classic Orchard planting problem asks for the maximum number of 3-point straight lines attainable from a configuration of $n$ points drawn on a plane. Here we are interested in a variant of this ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

Highest n where an equal number in all cells is (im)possible

Inspired by Board with all 2020s : Zeroes are written in all cells of a n×n board. We can take an arbitrary cell and increase by 1 the number in this cell and all cells having a common side with it. ...
5
votes
3answers
327 views

Different numbers in all cells of a 4x4 board

This is a harder version of this puzzle: Different numbers in all cells of a 3x3 board Zeroes are written in all cells of a 4×4 board. Pressing a cell increases by 1 the number in this cell and all ...
5
votes
2answers
439 views

Different numbers in all cells of a 3x3 board

This puzzle is inspired by this one: Board with all 2020s Zeroes are written in all cells of a 3×3 board. Pressing a cell increases by 1 the number in this cell and all cells having a common side with ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

A robot moving on a grid

In the spirit the question I propose the puzzle: A robot is placed on a vertex of a grid. At each move the robot must take three steps along the edge of the grid. After each step the robot must turn ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Board with all 2020s

Zeroes are written in all cells of a $5 \times 5$ board. We can take an arbitrary cell and increase by 1 the number in this cell and all cells having a common side with it. Is it possible to obtain ...

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