Who doesn't like riddles?
I have always been drawn to riddles and brain teasers. I remember being in grade school and getting a book of riddles that I couldn't wait to bust out my unsuspecting friends and relatives. I was a smart little kid and it made me feel even smarter if I could stump a grownup with one of my riddles. I think one of the first ones I would use on other people is the classic,
"How far can a dog run into the woods?"
Inevitably the person would humor me with a polite "I don't know, how far?" and being a smug little bastard I would reply with the traditional "half way, because after that he is running out!", most likely with a shit eating grin that only a ten year old who thinks he is clever can manage. As I matured I learned to stop spewing random riddles at people just to try to show off. You learn that there are appropriate times to bring up interesting riddles, like when it comes up naturally in conversation or when you are trying to distract a hungry Gollum as you plan your escape from a goblin infested cave.
So I gave you this quick glimpse into early Fingolfinhood because I wanted to establish that I love little brain teasers and wanted to share one that I came across recently.
I'd like to take credit for being the person who created this riddle but alas I am not that clever. I stumbled across this on one of my favorite websites, https://fivethirtyeight.com. They have a weekly feature where they will post a quick riddle/math problem as well as a more detailed one. This one falls into the quicker category and it reads as follows.
From Josh Kaplan, a classic coin puzzle: A man named Yunk has nine gold coins, but one isn’t pure. One has been minted with a cheap alloy, and is known to be heavier than the others. You have a simple balance scale. How do you determine the impure coin with only two weighings?
I found this oddly thought provoking and was way too proud of myself for figuring it out. Feel free to answer it in the comments and share any of your favorite riddles as well.
This riddle has been Gollum approved :)