Marbles Riddle

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Marbles Riddle

Postby Cec » Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:35 am

Came across this riddle today.

A prison warden devises a "game" where a prisoner can choose one of only two marbles secretly concealed in a box. The warden explains that a prisoner will be immediately freed if they select a white marble from the box but selecting a black marble will mean instant execution.

Being a sadistic warden, the two marbles in the box are both black. Even knowing that all prisoners have previously failed when attempting this gamble, prisoner Pablo selects one of the marbles and convinces the warden that he should be freed. How did Pablo achieve his freedom ?

To give other people time to consider this riddle, PM me if you know the answer.

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Postby tarek » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:27 am

Is it.......
Pablo took one of the marbles out & instantly swallowed it without the warden or anyone seeing what colour it was, they had to look in the box to see what marble was left.....
Pablo is a free man


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Marbles riddle

Postby Cec » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:41 am

MCC was first to PM an acceptable answer followed later by Bigtone53 also with a suitable answer. With some variations the answer is :

Pablo chooses any marble and either swallows it, hides it or drops it down a grate, etc. He then asks the warden to remove the remaining black marble from the box to demonstrate that the first ball removed must have been white. To maintain face, the warden would not reveal to the other prisoners that the first marble was also black so Pablo gets his freedom.

It seems this is an "oldie" but I hadn't heard it before. Thanks for the responses.

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Postby tarek » Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:23 am

There may be a sad twist for poor Pablo........

When Pablo's fingers circled the marble inside the box his thoughts suddenly focused on his abilities, being an amateur magician & to some extent a good pickpocket......

Pablo (thinking to himself): I'll pull it out quickly, I can look at it & if black make the switch -all in a split secon-, after all - all those long training sessions with spasmodic aftemaths should make this very easy.

Warden (with sarcastic grin): Come on Pablo !!!!

Pablo (thinking in the split second): Oh, it's black, I have enough time only to make the switch before anyone notices......

After a second, Pablo was raising his arm high enough to show all the prisoners the white marble - the ticket to his freedom & proof of his dexterity skills.......

Imagine the look on Pablo's face & the horror that rushed into it when he discovered the awful truth. The truth which will end his life, the truth he could have Swallowed........

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Postby Hud » Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:38 am

This actually happened at the Arizona State Penitentiary at Florence. Pablo, who is a Mexican National, did mistakenly pick the black marble, but due to his having been taken into custody in Mexico and extradicted to the USA, he couldn't be legally executed. The Mexican Consulate raised such an international ruckus, that The US State Department stepped in and returned him to his homeland where he was welcomed as a hero, and went on to live happily earning $2 US each day and at last report is still living. He said he does miss eating green bologna though.
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Postby fermat » Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:37 am

It was perfect because, he was color-blind.

He never did know black from white!

Edited to add: Wasn't it in Texas?
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Postby udosuk » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:07 am

If I was the warden, seeing Pablo swallow the marble, I would destroy the box (with the remaining marble within) and give Pablo some strong laxitives, and have my best cavity examiners on standby... (But what IF Pablo was so smart he swallowed some white marbles beforehand?)
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Postby MCC » Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:55 am

Being a sadistic warden - it all depends if there are other prisoners present when the drawing of the marble takes place.

If there are other prisoners present, then when the warden takes his marble out (and if he wants to keep up his pretence) he has to declare the colour of the marble i.e., black and the prisoner goes free.

If there is only the single prisoner present then all the warden has to do is look in the box and say this marble is white, and if the prisoner disagrees with this, all the warden has to do, is say to the prisoner, show me your marble to prove me wrong, and as the prisoner cannot do this, he is executed.

As for swallowing the marble, it is a good ploy but, as I shown above, and dependant on the situation,it can back fire.


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