# Questions tagged [optimization]

A puzzle where you have to optimize a certain objective function (maximize profit, minimize cost). There should ideally be a provable best answer, to avoid making the puzzle into an [open-ended] game.

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### Sudoku net that is always solvable

A sudoku net is a 9x9 grid where every cell is either (blank) or has a cross (block). A random solved sudoku is chosen. The net is placed on top of the sudoku (in any of the 4 ways). We can only see ...
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### Connecting 3 circular power timers to lights so that they turn for one day on Christmas

My friend gave a question to me. I am not sure if it is an original puzzle, but he has 2 lines of Christmas lights and 3 circular timers with 96 switches apiece. Each switch turns on power for 15 ...
661 views

### A tour of 36 cities

Each of 4 people is touring 36 cities separately. Each of the 36 squares in the illustration below represents a city. To make the answers shorter, each city has been given a 1-character name, from A-Z,...
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### $n$ couples crossing a river

There are $n$ couples on one side of the river. Nobody is on the other side. They have a boat that accommodates up to 2 people. For every trip across, someone(s) must bring the boat back as well. The ...
440 views

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### Maximal number of steps needed to solve 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube

What is the maximal number of steps that a computer (using the fastest algorithm) would need to solve an arbitrary 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube configuration? Are there any other known algorithms that will ...
6k views

### Two spies throwing stones into a river

There is a puzzle about two spies: Two spies must pass each other two secret numbers (one number per spy), unnoticed by their enemies. They have agreed on a method for doing this using only 26 ...
3k views

### Knights and jokers

There are $N$ men. $K$ of them are knights, $M$ of them are jokers. $N$ is known, $K$ and $M$ are unknown. You know that: $K + M = N$, $K \gt M$, $M \ge 1$, $N$ is odd. Knights always tell the truth, ...
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### Fastest way to collect an arbitrary army

I am looking for solution of this puzzle: There is a kingdom with a square shape with sides of length 1. The castle is located at the center of the square. At the castle the king lives under the ...
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### How many squares can 4 queens control?

Though there is no strict mathematical proof, it has been shown via brute-force that no arrangement of 4 or fewer queens can control every square on a standard 8x8 chessboard. So, out of the 64 ...
88k views

### A camel transporting bananas

A somewhat well-known puzzle is described as such: You have a pile of 3,000 bananas. You wish to transport them to a place 1,000 miles away on the back of a camel; however, the camel can only carry ...
864 views

### What is the fewest number of clues on a rotationally symmetrical sudoku grid with a unique solution?

It is known that the minimum number of clues a sudoku must have to have a unique solution is 17. But on every website I've seen for them, I haven't found any that are rotationally symmetrical. I once ...
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### How many clues are required to ensure Einstein's Puzzle is solvable?

I used to play Einstein's puzzles a lot when I was younger, and very quickly learned to assess quite rapidly whether I thought a puzzle would be a quick solve or more time-consuming, but I never ...