The Maiden and Three Boxes

Jan 05, 2013

RAY: The fair maiden Rowena wishes to wed. And her father, the evil king, has devised a quiz to drive off her suitors.

There are three boxes on a table. One is made of gold, one is made of silver, and the third is made of lead. Inside one of these boxes is a picture of the fair Rowena.

It is the job of the knight to figure out which box has her picture. Now, to assist him in this endeavor there are inscriptions on each of the boxes.

The gold box says, “Rowena's picture is in this box." The silver box says, "The picture ain't in this box." The lead box says, "The picture ain't in the gold box."

If the knight just opens one box and it contains the picture, he gets the girl.

The hint is, one of the statements, and only one, is true.

The question is: Where's the picture?
RAY: Here’s how you solve it. If you look at one and three, they're contradictory, which means that one of them must be true.

And the inscription on the gold box cannot be true, because if it is, then the inscription on the silver box must also be true, and that can't happen.

The statement on the third box is the only one that can be true. The first one must be false, and the second box, which says, "Rowena's picture is not in this box," that is also false, which means that her picture is in the silver box. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Greg Frye from Scottsdale, Arizona. Congratulations, Greg! 

Get the Car Talk Newsletter