Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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2
Mar 00
Thu

Riddle Ye!

The variation of the hats riddle is quite a bit more trickier than the “original”. Here’s my attempt to explain it – it’s got two “layers” of logic:

Label the three men A, B and C. Assume A is the correct man. Let’s step into his shoes. A must either be wearing a black or white hat. Now, assume that A is wearing white. In this case, either B or C can deduce what coloured hat they are wearing. B sees A (white) and C (black). If B is wearing white, C can straight away say he’s black (since there are two whites, A and B). However, C’s silence only can mean that C doesn’t see two white hats. Therefore, B must be black. BUT, as C and B have said nothing, A cannot be white. A can only be black.

This question assumes the three wise men have impeccable logic. It would be possible to mislead another person by keeping your mouth shut, thereby eliciting an incorrect response (eg: C is white, but A and B still say nothing). But the contest is to see who guesses first, not to humiliate someone else.