## Prison riddle

Anything goes, but keep it seemly...
udosuk wrote:
MCC wrote:They could agree to wait a period of time, say 100 days or 200 days or 300 days, to give Bob a chance to set the position of switch #2, then after the agreed time period the prisoners can then start using switch #2.
They only need to switch #2 on the once.
Then after switch #2 has been turn on 22 times Bob can then declare that they have all visited the switch room...

Problem is there is still a possibility (no matter how small) that during that agreed period of time, Bob is never drawed to enter the room... The puzzle requires a 100% watertight scheme that couldn't go wrong (e.g. wrong claim, neverending loop)...

Bob said he'll flip #2 switch several times in the waiting period to indicate that he has visited so that when the time period is up hopefully all the other prisoners will have noticed that Bob has been there and the #2 switch is in the off position, if it isn't, then to wait until it is the off position before beginning.
If a prisoner had been held back and had not noticed that Bob had flipped the switch during the waiting period then he should hold back until he notices that the #2 switch strategy appears to be in operation then he can indicate his visit when it is suitable to do so.

udosuk wrote:
MCC wrote:Scenario 2:
The warden is a right bar-steward and on Bob's first visit to the switch room he looked upon the light switches his heart fell He knew they would never be let out.

Why

Turns out MCC is also a right bar-steward and on my first glimpse of this post I looked upon the above paragraph my heart fell I knew I could never answer this...

Why

Let's see what people come up with

MCC
MCC

Posts: 1275
Joined: 08 June 2005

MCC wrote:Bob said he'll flip #2 switch several times in the waiting period to indicate that he has visited so that when the time period is up hopefully all the other prisoners will have noticed that Bob has been there and the #2 switch is in the off position, if it isn't, then to wait until it is the off position before beginning.
If a prisoner had been held back and had not noticed that Bob had flipped the switch during the waiting period then he should hold back until he notices that the #2 switch strategy appears to be in operation then he can indicate his visit when it is suitable to do so.

Okay, I get what you mean, it could be another possible solution... Let's just ditch the waiting period (it's so arbitrary)... From the start Bob keeps flipping switch #2 on and off, hoping at least one of the others will notice the changes... Once Bob confirms #2 being tampered by somebody else he moves from "on and off" mode to "counting" mode...

As for the other 22 prisoners, they wait until they see #2 flipped by someone else (Bob or the others), then they join the action by seeing whenever #2 is off, they flip it to 'on'... (But they can do this only once!) What if a few prisoners join the action early and all have executed their only 'on' flipping, and Bob (now in "counting" mode) could only flip #2 from 'on' to 'off' but not from 'off' to 'on'... Then for some of the late joiners they would always see #2 in 'off' position... So they'll never know whether Bob has passed the "waiting period" or not... I don't think this is working...

Anyway, let's consider the "best" scenario: Say the prisoners are "Bob" and @1-@22...
First up, @1-@22 visit the room in order, with #2 as 'on' initially...
Bob is the 23rd to come in, and flips #2 to 'off'...
@1 is next, seeing #2 has been flipped, he flips it back to 'on'...
Bob is the next, flipping #2 to 'off' and counts "one"...
@2 is next, seeing #2 has been flipped, he flips it back to 'on'...
Bob is the next, flipping #2 to 'off' and counts "two"...
...
This will take 23+22*2=67 total visits, should be much better than the official method provides...

As for the "worst" scenario... There are so many things that could go wrong... For example, if every time Bob is drawn he is drawn the next time too, he'll keep flipping the switch back and forth and nobody else will ever notice any changes...

Perhaps to assess these methods it's best to write a program to simulate the situation... (JPF?)

MCC wrote:Scenario 2:
The warden is a right bar-steward and on Bob's first visit to the switch room he looked upon the light switches his heart fell He knew they would never be let out.

Why

Is it that the position/design/colour/material of one of the switches prevents Bob or any of the prisoners from touching it?
udosuk

Posts: 2698
Joined: 17 July 2005

MCC wrote:Bob said he'll flip #2 switch several times in the waiting period to indicate that he has visited so that when the time period is up hopefully all the other prisoners will have noticed that Bob has been there and the #2 switch is in the off position, if it isn't, then to wait until it is the off position before beginning.
If a prisoner had been held back and had not noticed that Bob had flipped the switch during the waiting period then he should hold back until he notices that the #2 switch strategy appears to be in operation then he can indicate his visit when it is suitable to do so.

Problem:
Jeff (not the Jeff on this forum, but a much more vicious Jeff) is the first one in and sees the switch is on. Later Bob comes in and switches it off. Jeff comes in again and sees it off, so he switches it on. From this on the other prisoners also start to notice that the game is on and they all switch it on once. However, Burt is an old man, sentenced to prison for burning a luxurious spa, who doesn't like to shower that much. As a result the warden seems to 'randomly' not bring him in very often (the walk through the long corridor from the cell to the switch room isn't very pleasant next to Burt). During the time that all other prisoners have had a chance to turn the switch on once, Burt has only been in the room 3 times. First time was before Bobs first visit and the two other times the switch happened to be in off-position (Bob had been there after the last visit of someone who hadn't switched #2 yet). Now Burt will never see any change in switch 2 and they will all rot in the prison forever!

udosuk wrote:Each prisoner other than the spokesman maintains a counter with initial value 0. When he enters the switch room, if switch "1" is "off" and his counter is 0 or 1, then he switches "1" to "on" and increments his counter. Otherwise (switch "1" is already "on" or his counter is 2) he switches "2".

The spokesman also has a counter with initial value 0. When he enters the switch room, if switch "1" is "on", he switches "1" to "off" and increments his counter. Otherwise (switch "1" is already "off") he switches "2". When the spokesman's counter reaches 44, he declares to the warden "We have all visited the switch room."

Problem:
Michael, who deliberately got himself into the prison to rescue his wrongfully accused brother, is proven innocent and released before he touches switch 2 the first time => The other prisoners will never be released.

I think the safest thing to do is not go to prison in the first place. Lesson: Whatever you do, don't get caught!

RW
RW
2010 Supporter

Posts: 1000
Joined: 16 March 2006

RW wrote:
udosuk wrote:Each prisoner other than the spokesman maintains a counter with initial value 0. When he enters the switch room, if switch "1" is "off" and his counter is 0 or 1, then he switches "1" to "on" and increments his counter. Otherwise (switch "1" is already "on" or his counter is 2) he switches "2".

The spokesman also has a counter with initial value 0. When he enters the switch room, if switch "1" is "on", he switches "1" to "off" and increments his counter. Otherwise (switch "1" is already "off") he switches "2". When the spokesman's counter reaches 44, he declares to the warden "We have all visited the switch room."

Problem:
Michael, who deliberately got himself into the prison to rescue his wrongfully accused brother, is proven innocent and released before he touches switch 2 the first time => The other prisoners will never be released.

Earlier I wrote:I should mention that drastic events like a prisoner dies (or escapes from the prison), or a missile or nuclear bomb hits the place and annihilate everybody should be ignored... Let's assume everyone in the story will live forever (with the new technology told by emm)...

Perhaps after Michael is released, the warden will secretly bring in another newbie Jack and let him view the tape of the prisoner's first night conference (secretly recorded), and ask him to replace Michael's role for a chance to get free...
udosuk

Posts: 2698
Joined: 17 July 2005

MCC wrote:... he looked upon the light switches his heart fell ... Why

Bob entered the room and looked upon the switches which were set in a steel plate mounted on a revolving circular tray which Max, the bad bar-steward, spun callously with a sadistic chuckle, a toothless grin and a withered, dirt-encrusted hand which looked as if it had done bad things in dark alleys on late nights, and his heart fell.
emm

Posts: 987
Joined: 02 July 2005

emm wrote:
MCC wrote:... he looked upon the light switches his heart fell ... Why

Bob entered the room and looked upon the switches which were set in a steel plate mounted on a revolving circular tray which Max, the bad bar-steward, spun callously with a sadistic chuckle, a toothless grin and a withered, dirt-encrusted hand which looked as if it had done bad things in dark alleys on late nights, and his heart fell.

I had thought of several possibilities but not a revolving one, a good alternate answer emm, but not what I was thinking of.

In scenario 2, the switches are clearly visible, their positions can be determined, they can be turned on and off, they can be marked, but it dosen't help the prisoners.

MCC
MCC

Posts: 1275
Joined: 08 June 2005

### AA#2

Bob entered the room and looked upon the switches which were set high in the wall, beyond the reach of his band of 22 fellow dancing dwarves who late the night before, flush with success following a dynamic performance of 'The Tver Chastushkas', had been picked up for brawling with a band of toothless, one-eyed, anti-Semitic dwarf-baiters in a taverna on the road to Minsk, and his heart fell.
emm

Posts: 987
Joined: 02 July 2005

Bob - a Russian limerickist from Smolensk
Oh! How could he be so dense
His fellow dwarves - so small
The light switches - so tall
That bar-steward warden from Tomsk

In fact emm, if all the prisoners went down on bended knees they could easily reach the switches.

MCC
MCC

Posts: 1275
Joined: 08 June 2005

### AA#3

Bob entered the room and looked upon the switches which had been set just 20cm from the floor, the perfect height for a dwarf on bended knees, if not for the unfortunate fact that they had been mounted sideways by a toothless, one-eyed, withered-armed bar-steward from Pskov, whose personal misfortune had left him with no regard for symmetry or design, and left the dwarves, whose plan had included the possibility of up and down positions only, with no way of telling off from on, and his heart fell.
emm

Posts: 987
Joined: 02 July 2005

Right from the start
With solutions so smart
They agreed on the positions of switches
Up and down, left and right
And dimmers - Ideas so bright
You would almost think them witches
But all would come to naught
With everything they'd thought
Reality would have them in twitches
Escape it was plain
Wardens! Those b****y sons of b*****s

Ok emm, a clue.
The switches are neither on the walls or the floor but can be easily reached.

MCC
MCC

Posts: 1275
Joined: 08 June 2005

### AA#4

Bob entered the room and looked upon the switches which were in midair, entangled in a web of killer spiders, undoubtedly relatives of the one whose lethal bite had felled his dear old toothless babushka before she could say 'Pthkov', one late night in a dark alley in Novokuznetska, and his heart fell.
emm

Posts: 987
Joined: 02 July 2005

Bob’s babulya was from Osinniki, which, as you know is a small town to the south-east of Novokuznetsk. She was in Novokuznetsk that night looking for her fourth husband, or should I say, her fourth husband to be, when she was bitten by that poisonous spider.

Yelena Alexandrovna Bushina, for that was her name, although Bob took to calling her Yelena or Helena, worked on the eleckricka by day and played in the balalaika orchestra during the evenings, where, amongst the balalaikas, domras, gusli, bayan and garmoshkas, she played the kugikle.

Yelena spent some time in prison for the supposed murder of her third husband, he being killed by a knout, it was shown by her defence that she was too frail to wield such a device and she was released. But the time she spent as a petookh was well spent, for it was there, in prison that she came across a band of dwarves, skomonokhs by trade, that after their release, took to travelling with Bob committing the nefarious deeds.

Yelena was killed by a Latrodectus pallidus, a white widow or white steppe spider, there’s irony for you, a black widow killed by a white widow.

There was an anecdote that Yelena always use to the young Bob –
Не сыграйте с ядовитыми спайдерами, котор они могли сдержать
But it did not seem of much use to him in dealing with these spiders, if he could figure that problem out there might just be a way to overcome this problem with the light switches.

Joke:
Англичанин, swede и русский находятся в картинной галлерее. По мере того как они смотрят картину adam и кануна в саде Eden, англичанин комментирует, "взгляд на красотке сада, оно должен быть английской картиной". Swede не ответил "нет, взгляд на adam и канун. Быть покрашенным нагой как такие, картина должна быть шведска ". С этой точки зрения русский прерывает, "нет, вы оба неправильно. Не говорят никаким одеждам, никакому укрытию, только одному яблоку между ими и им его рай; он должен быть русск ".

MCC
MCC

Posts: 1275
Joined: 08 June 2005

Congratulations, MCC, winner of the most-difficult-to-translate-art-gallery-joke-I-have-heard-this-week contest. Having stupidly spent time transliterating and then translating it (my grasp of Cyrillic is naff) I remembered that altavist babelfish does a reasonable Russian-to-English translation.
underquark

Posts: 299
Joined: 06 September 2005

Bob, who was normally a patient man but was getting a bit fed up with going in and out and dreaming up new ideas, entered the room and looked upon the switches which were on a remote control unit in the warden’s withered hand and suspecting that the cunning bar-steward would stuff up any scheme they made by switching the switches in the intervals and furthermore, having had just about enough of his long-winded ‘Once-Upon-a-Time-in-The-Steppes' saga which involved improper references to his old babushka’s kugikle, finally reached the end of his personal emotional elastic and snapped, swearing ‘Ty zadnitsa! Call my babushka a bludnika! Porosvenok!’, head-butting him and severing his one hand with a swift swipe of his small, sharp nozh, leaping through the open window with the skomonokhs from Shelabolikhin and fleeing down the dark alley on the road to Krasnogvardeyskiy, bravely shouting into the night words that sounded sort-of Russian like 'perestroika' and 'stolichnaya' and 'khaktasassia' and 'izartvelskjia'!
emm

Posts: 987
Joined: 02 July 2005

Censored
The author of this capitilist propaganda has been arrested for crimes against the state.

It is a fact that no prisoners have escaped their detention, these are capitilist lies and anyone found propagating them will be severly dealt with.

It is also a fact that there are no prisoners within these borders, they are subbotniks, undergoing re-training, to make themselves better members of society.

Apparatchik
MCCOV (No relation)
MCC

Posts: 1275
Joined: 08 June 2005

PreviousNext