Puzzles & Quizzes

Can You Solve the Gold Bar Logic Puzzle?

Hope you're ready for a tricky little math challenge. The gold bar logic puzzle featured in "Fundrum My Conundrum: A Book of Riddles" by Ray Epstein and Ben Kovler is an algebra problem that'll test your skills. Feeling confident? Keep reading for the puzzle and the answer. Good luck!

Here's the Puzzle

You're out traveling and stumble upon a quaint little hotel. You decide to stay there for seven nights. For some reason, the only currency you have with you is a solid gold bar that is notched into seven separate segments. Luckily, the front desk agrees to let you pay in gold segments. You need to pay the hotel daily for each night you stay.

What is the fewest number of times you must cut your gold bar so that one segment is paid to the hotel every day? Hint: you can ask for change, but the only gold they have is what you've given them.

Keep scrolling to get the answer, and the explanation.

Here's the Answer

You could be sneaky and say that you can give the hotel clerk your whole bar — or what remains — every day and have him deal with breaking it up; that's not the way we had in mind. Let us assume that the clerk doesn't have the tool, but you do. With that in mind, the answer is just two cuts.

Here's how it works: on your first night, you'll chop off one notch and pay. On your second night, you'll cut off a chunk of two segments from your bar and pay with the two, getting your first night chunk back in change. At this point, you have one chunk of gold plus a bar with four segments, and the hotel clerk has a two-segment chunk of gold. On your third night, you'll give the clerk your single chunk. On your fourth night, you'll pay with your four-segment chunk, and get the single chunk and the two-segment chunk back as change. On your fifth night, you'll pay with the single chunk. On your sixth night, you'll pay with the two-segment chunk and get the single chunk back in change. On your seventh and final night at the hotel, you'll pay with your last single chunk. Did you get it right?

For more mind-bending logic puzzles, check out "Fundrum My Conundrum: A Book of Riddles" by Ray Epstein and Ben Kovler. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Joanie Faletto June 19, 2018

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