Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Puzzle: The Bicycle Thief

A NOTE ABOUT PUZZLES:  I'm going to be running one puzzle a day for the next couple of weeks. Some of these are classics, and some of them are my variations or adaptations of classic ideas. Puzzles will go up at 11am, and solutions will go up at the same time the following day. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, or RSS in order to get the daily puzzle and the solution.

Today's puzzle is from Britain's greatest puzzle-maker, Henry Dudeney. I remember getting it wrong the first time I tried it, but it teaches a valuable lesson: don't be distracted by superfluous details.

"Here is a little tangle that is perpetually cropping up in various guises. A cyclist bought a bicycle for £15 and gave in payment a cheque for £25. The seller went to a neighboring shopkeeper and got him to cash the cheque for him, and the cyclist, having received his £10 change, mounted the machine and disappeared. The cheque proved to be valueless, and the salesman was requested by his neighbor to refund the amount he had received. To do this, he was compelled to borrow the £25 from a friend, as the cyclist forgot to leave his address, and could not be found. Now, as the bicycle cost the salesman £11, how much money did he lose altogether?"


Joshua Fahey said...

So, I'm thoroughly confused, but I'll give it a shot.
Seller -£11 for buying the bicycle
Seller -£10 for paying cyclist in change
The £25 evens out as he received £25 then had to pay it back

So the Seller lost £21?

Ack. So confusing.

Eye of the Frog said...

I'm assuming that he has to pay the friend back the £25 at some point. So there's the:
£11 bicycle
£25 owed to a friend
£10 given in change

for a total of £46. Maybe?

Thomas L. McDonald said...

Joshua got it right! The solution just went up. (EotF: that's the answer most people give, including my wife and me the first time I tried it.)

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