Talk:Zebra Puzzle

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Copyright problems[edit]

Wikipedia:Copyright problems

    • Einstein's Puzzle
    • Claim of public domain. (Still a question of whether these belong here.) Kevin Saff 14:56, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)
    • This has now been rephrased. Kevin Saff 14:56, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)
      • I can most certainly say that that Einstein's Puzzle did not come from that page, it is much older ( in fact, i remember solving it in 12 minutes at the age of 14 ), i cannot speak for the other pages but that page most certainly did not originally come from that url, he may have copied it from there but that is not it's original origin. --Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 21:03, 2004 Apr 27 (UTC)
        • You're probably right. I guess I don't know the copyright status of things like this, and became overzealous when I saw that all of this user's edits were copy/pastes from other websites. Kevin Saff 14:56, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Since it's been more than a month and nobody else cares, I've reinstated the text, with some tweaking ... DavidWBrooks 18:31, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Missing step in "A different method of solving the puzzle"[edit]

In the chapter "A different method of solving the puzzle" it is said, that Chesterfields are smoked in house two and because Chesterfields ars smoked next to the fox, the fox must be in house one. In my opinion you can't exclude house three for the fox at this situation; so the fox could also be in house three!? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 171.18.29.130 (talk) 13:56, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

The Solution[edit]

How about putting the solution on another page? For example, Einstein's puzzle/Solution. Jimp 27Nov05

The ((solution)) warning seems to be the preferred way to handle this. See [1]. Canon 21:00, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Fair point. Okay, let's leave it as it is. Jimp 30Nov05

What about making the Solution expendable like in the German Wikipedia (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebrar%C3%A4tsel). That way it would still be on the same page but it would not be visible for people who want to read the rest of the Article and solve the Puzzle at a later time. Furthermore I think the Spoiler policy does not apply here since it states that "A spoiler is a piece of information in an article about a narrative work (such as a book, feature film, television show or video game) that reveals plot events or twists." which is not the case here. Stipa (talk) 05:26, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Ordered from left to right[edit]

"One other thing: In Statement 6, right means your right." says the article. The fact is that it doesn't matter whose right it is. What matters is that the houses are in a row and ordered from left to right. I'll adjust the wording accordingly. Jimp 29Nov05

What does matter is that the "first" house is on the "left".Badmuthahubbard 05:38, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
The first house on the left is a house on one end of the row. It doesn't matter which end as long as you are consistent in deciding which end is left. Canon 14:03, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
So why mention that it's on the left? I took that out, but I'm not dogmatic about it - can you explain to those of us who are a bit slow why it needs to be mentioned? - DavidWBrooks 14:48, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
If you look at the clues, the only ones that mention direction are 6 (which mentions "right") and 10 (which mentions "first"). Looking at the solution logic, you find that clue 6 is used in step 1 only to deduce that the green and ivory houses are next to one another. The sense of direction is an inessential detail. Nonetheless, it serves to establish that the first house is on the left end. Therefore I agree it does not need to be stated as an assumption since it can be deduced from the clues. Canon 15:22, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I don't think that the fact that the first house is on the left can be deduced from the clues.
If you make the assumption that the first house is the rightmost one, you'll find that you get a solution and that the Norwegian still drinks water, and the Japanese still owns the zebra, but who lives where will change slightly.
Under this assumption, the solution looks like a left-right reversal of the solution given in the article, except that the [green, Spaniard, orange juice, Lucky Strike, dog] house is at the (leftmost) end of the street, swapping positions with the [ivory, Japanese, coffee, Parliament, zebra] house. --Rick 15:11, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. So it is not the case that the puzzle requires that "first" mean "leftmost." Is it worth stating that the specific solution given in the article is one of two possibilities depending upon whether "first" means "leftmost" or "rightmost"? Canon 17:10, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I have added this "right-to-left" solution. --Aleph4 16:51, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Spelling[edit]

The version that was here was the version originally published in Life International, which reportedly circulated in mimeographed form widely in the early 1960s. I do not know who originated this puzzle but the Life International version predates all published versions of which I am aware. As is common with popular puzzles, people feel free to adapt the puzzle to their local culture. Thus there are versions with British and American cigarette brands, different pets and nationalities, and so on. I believe the original puzzle was American and thus the original spelling was "color." Do you have evidence to the contrary? Canon 21:00, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

No, no evidence to the contrary, however this was not the basis for my reversion. Yes, people quite naturally will adapt such puzzles to their taste. The version which first appeared in this encyclopædia used the spelling colour. It also used British brands of cigarettes. The solution was then added with the American spelling, color.
Now, the Wikipedia manual of style recommends that we "consider following the spelling style preferred by the first major contributor (that is, not a stub) to the article" (where the article is not specific to any particular country). This is a reasonable approach.
Why, I wonder, wasn't this advice followed when the solution was added. Perhaps it was overlooked. The article then continued to have two different spellings for a while. Eventually the two occurrences of the word were brought in line, however, the American spelling was kept.
I'm sure that this was all done quite innocently however, in the spirit of Wikipedia's approach to variant spelling I reverted color back to colour.
On the other hand, you do bring up an interesting point about how the spelling appeared in the first published version. The manual of style hasn't mentioned this. It probably should but the place to discuss it would be at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style.
Of course, the puzzle probably existed long before it was published and so who's to say how the original author would prefer us to spell colour? If, though, the author is Einstein, then it would be a translation from German and thus either spelling would be equally valid.
Jimp 30Nov05
As a minor point, Einstein almost certainly was not the author of this puzzle. The claim that he was seems to have originated in the 1980s, long after the puzzle was in wide circulation. I think this was a form of advertising for the puzzle since the earliest attributions to Einstein are all in the form "Einstein said that only 2% of the people in the world can solve this puzzle." I very much doubt that this is the kind of thing Einstein would have said, even if the dates were right.
Popular puzzles like this can succumb to version wars, in which people with more enthusiasm than sophistication continuously edit the puzzle to conform to the *one true version* which usually is the version they first heard. I've been editing the rec.puzzles archive for 25 years and I've seen that many times. Take a look at the Gry entry for an example of how bad it can get. I've extensively researched the history of this puzzle. I have reason to believe that the Life International version was the original wording (the puzzle does not date back before the 1960s or late 1950s). Since this wording has historical precedence, I believe that by sticking strictly to it we can avoid the version wars. Canon 13:33, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
You present a good argument, Canon. I'll revert my edits. However, the point I made above that it doesn't matter whose right it is still stands. This may not matter but let's leave sentence as it was though with the additional note that the houses are in a row and ordered from left to right.
Jimp 1Dec05
Thanks very much for your graciousness. I agree that the clarifying sentence separate from the original problem statement is just right. This is an example of Wikipedia at its best. Canon 03:46, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Puzzle Version ?[edit]

I have found this version of puzzle:

1. The British person lives in the red house

2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets

3. The Dane drinks tea

4. The green house is adjacent on the left of the white house

5. The green house owner drinks coffee

6. The person who smokes Pall Mall raises birds

7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill

8. The man living in the house right in the center drinks milk

9. The Norwegian lives in the first house

10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats

11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the one who smokes Dunhill

12. The owner who smokes Bluemaster drinks juice

13. The German smokes Prince

14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house

15. The man who smokes Blend has a neighbor who drinks water


This version is solvable, but for version in article i am not sure. In article version exist hint "There are five houses.". Maybe some hints is missed in article version. Any suggestion ?

Since the original publication, there have been many versions of this puzzle with various changes made, such as the types of pets, the nationalities, the brands of cigarettes or whether cigarettes are mentioned at all, and so on. This is common in popular puzzles (see the Gry entry for an even more evolved puzzle). However, the original version certainly was solvable, and was in fact solved within a month of the original publication in 1962 by several hundred people from around the world whose names were published in a follow-up article. Canon 12:57, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

After small analyses i have found hint "The man who smokes Blend has a neighbor who drinks water" in this puzzle. Puzzle from article not include any form of this hint.

Do you somebody have solving process for article version ? Chupcko 16:33, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
If you send me your email address I will send you the shortest solution that was sent in to Life International in 1962. Canon 23:22, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I have (tanks Canon) progress of solving "article puzzle" with two backtracking. Its good idea to added this progress in article ? Maybe in section "Solving method" ? Chupcko 00:50, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Even the short solution I sent Chupcko is too long to put in an article, it seems to me. That is why the external links point to programs that can solve any version of the problem. By examining the source code of these programs, you can see various approaches to solving this kind of problem. What this leaves out is anyone who cannot read source code, so perhaps a general explanation of how to solve them is needed. Canon 03:32, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Comments at end of original puzzle[edit]

The comment at the end of the original puzzle (ending with the statement about which direction "right" refers to) are part of the original puzzle, as can be seen here first known publication. Since the article is claiming that it is presenting the original puzzle, we shouldn't alter this text. The next section of the article contains commentary on the puzzle, and this is where people have been adding clarifying comments, criticisms, and so forth. Canon 12:13, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

My error - I am the one who removed it. Is there some way we can mark it up to make it clear that this wording was part of the original puzzle? Particularly with the following paragraph, which is clearly not from the original puzzle, it reads as if it's an addition by a wiki editor (as I mistakenly thought it was). - DavidWBrooks 14:29, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, I tried something - indenting the entire original puzzle and putting a solid line at the bottom. Not the handsomest, perhaps; better alternatives are welcome. - DavidWBrooks 14:35, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I like that a lot. This inspired me to collect all the commentary in one place and add pointers to solution techniques. I also made the text of the original version section conform exactly to the original text except for the obsolete spelling of "cigaret". Canon 23:52, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
We have on the table a request for an explanation of how to solve the puzzle. Plus we have people who have objected to giving the solution in the article. So perhaps everyone would be a bit happier if we inserted a section between the original puzzle and the solution (putting a bit of distance between them) that contained commentary on the puzzle and a short discussion of how to solve this kind of puzzle. Canon 12:13, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Misattributions[edit]

Now that someone has brought up the Lewis Carroll misattribution, should we add the Lewis Carrol category or delete the Albert Einstein category? I've checked with several Lewis Carroll experts, and none of them think this is the type of puzzle that Lewis Carroll would have invented (nearly all of his puzzles involved logic with quantifiers - logic with "for all" and "there exists"). None of them can find this puzzle or anything like it in his work.

Speaking of misattribution, I just deleted a link to a Web site that repeats nearly every wrong thing ever said about this puzzle. Does anyone think I should have left it there? Canon 21:46, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

You done good. - DavidWBrooks 23:34, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Do you think we should delete the Einstein category? For some reason I find it mildly insulting. Canon 23:52, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I think categories are kind of stupid; I don't think people really use them - they just suck away editing energy, IMHO. So delete it, if you wish. - DavidWBrooks 00:00, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, how about this then: We create a new article "Zebra Puzzle", copy the contents of this article to it, and have this article redirect to it? Is that going too far? Canon 00:16, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
I have sent the creators of the "Einstein's Riddle" page er.myhomy.com an email complimenting them on their site but asking them to remove the misattribution to Einstein that is at the top of the page. So far there has not been a response. I will try again. In the meantime, it seems to me that it might be advisable to move the content of this page (as I mention above) to some less confusing place, e.g., "Zebra Puzzle." This page would be changed to a redirect. Any objections? Canon 14:03, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Yea, Zebra Puzzle is a better name. Those who know it as Einstein's puzzle/riddle will still find it. As for categories, though, I find them useful. I have used them in the past. They are good when you're taking a category wide approach to editing, for example, gathering up a whole bunch of related stubs which on their own have no potential for growth but together would make a decent article. Jimp 01:47, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Solutions[edit]

I did the 'fish' one in about an hour, but this one has me stuck at proving the red house is in the middle and who the occupant of the blue house is. Was going to try some of the source code to see if it is solvable, but the C# link no longer works, and the other one is in LISP which is just downright unreadable. The english PDF that's up there doesn't seem to have a solution, just a worksheet for solving the problem, and even if it did it's the fish puzzle and not the zebra one. Can someone post an English solution, step-by-step, that doesn't make any leaps in logic? Can someone else fix the links, and find ones applicable to the Zebra puzzle and not the fish puzzle? It's safe to say they're 2 different puzzles, since the number of clues differs (not counting 'there are five houses' as a clue, that should be a given, the extra clue increasing the easiness factor by 16%).

If you send me your email address I will send you the shortest solution that was sent in to Life International in 1962. Canon 04:38, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Move/Redirect[edit]

I noticed that the talk page for Zebra Puzzle wasn't moved from this location (talk:Einstein's Puzzle) when the article was moved/renamed on March 25. There isn't a redirect either, though that may be an option. Is there a reason for this, or should the talk page be moved as well? -- Jared 16:19, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Fish versus Zebra[edit]

Why is it redundant to note that there are versions of the puzzle that ask "Who owns the fish?" instead of "Who owns the zebra?" Canon 04:22, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

"Redundant" was the wrong word - "unnecessary" is better, since there's no fish mentioned anywhere else. There's probably a version somewhere that asks about an armadillo instead of a zebra, but mentioning that wouldn't be terribly helpful either. - DavidWBrooks 10:22, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
This is a good logical point, but if you google "who owns the fish" you'll find many times more hits than for "who owns the zebra" so since we're doing an encyclopedia article we need to document that fact. Canon 15:42, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
We need to explain that in the article, not just drop in a sentence that left me scratching my head and saying "fish - huh?" - DavidWBrooks 18:17, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
That would be great. Do you want me to take a crack at it? Canon 19:31, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Sure, because I've never seen a fish. I mean, I've seen a fish but ... well, anyway, you get my drift. - DavidWBrooks 19:33, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

er.myhomy.com[edit]

I previously removed a link to this page because it contains many incorrect statements about this puzzle, and in the interests of clearing up the misconceptions about this puzzle I will continue to do so until the misstatements on the page are corrected. Canon 23:37, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Life International?[edit]

What's Life International magazine - is it just Life (magazine)'s international edition, or something different? - DavidWBrooks 23:04, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

From the magazine: "LIFE International is published by Time-Life International (Nederland) nv, at 590 Keizersgracht, Amsterdam-C., Netherlands." There was an editorial and advertising staff separate from the US staff. Canon 01:10, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Do you have a copy in front of you? Does the masthead say "Life International", or just "Life", with "international edition" or something down below - like this photo [[2]]. If that's what we're dealing with here, I think we could link to Life (magazine), which was the point of my long-winded query. - DavidWBrooks 02:15, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I have a copy. The masthead says "Life International", actually, "LIFE International". Canon 12:55, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
So the red link stays! -DavidWBrooks 15:41, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Alternatively, someone who knows something about magazines, who, say, is in the publishing business, maybe a reporter or some such, might create an article. Know anyone like that? ;^) Canon 18:40, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Corrected poor wording[edit]

Two of the rules (11 and 12) used to read "X is in the house next to the house where Y." We have corrected these to read more like "X is in one of the houses next to the house where Y." The former wording led to a contradiction. The new wording allows for a solution.

--Two random passers by.

And the "corrections" have been reverted, and I (one of the two aforementioned random passersby) approve, as I have just realized the article is supposed to be giving the original form of the puzzle. My apologies.

I think the concern I've expressed here could be included in a comment in the article, though. But I guess that's "original research?" I dunno.

There is not enough information to determine which house "the house" is, and as it is only talking about one house, regardless of whether there are multiple options, the original grammar is correct. Furthermore, there is no mention that all of the houses are next to eachother. Two houses could simply be next to eachother whilst the others locations are unknown; the puzzle does not specify. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.148.4.17 (talk) 21:42, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

The one that i heard didn't have "smokes". It had Flowers; Roses, Marigolds, Geraniums, Lilies, and Gardenias

The statement "Rule 11 suffers from a similar problem as that just described regarding rule 12." is incorrect as there is only one house next to House 1. Though, it is confusing due to rule 12's error. *Fixes*

Reasoning for the [Sic] Tag[edit]

The sic was placed there because that line leads to a contradiction. If you read in the Discussion section below the puzzle it reads:

Rule 12 leads to a contradiction. It should have read "Kools are smoked in a house next to the house where the horse is kept." (Note "a" instead of "the.") The text above has been kept as it is, as it is meant to be a presentation of the text of the puzzle as originally published.

And thus the usage of the [Sic] tag. The usage of the [Sic] tag is quoted below:

Sic is a Latin word meaning "thus", "so", "as such", or "in such a manner". In writing, it is placed within square brackets and usually italicized – [sic] – to indicate that an incorrect or unusual spelling, phrase, punctuation, and/or other preceding quoted material has been reproduced verbatim from the quoted original and is not a transcription error

Thanks! Dillard421♂♂ (talk to me) 20:53, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

The idea that "the" implies exactly one house satisfying the condition whereas "a" implies one or more such houses is missed by the people who successfully solve the puzzle. It is included in the discussion section, where several such clarifications are made. The "[sic]" in clue 12 is confusing because it is not clear that it is meant to refer to the immediately preceding word, nor is it clear that it is meant to call attention to this aspect of that word. Canon (talk) 00:10, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, and if you look at the answer, there is exactly one house that satisfies the condition. So where's the contradiction?
The usage of the [Sic] is to be placed just after the word that it is referring to. For a reader to know what that tag is, they would also know the usage. Furthermore, if they were reading the article, they would read the reasoning later on in the Discussion Section. Please see the following page for reference as to the use of the [Sic] Tag: Sic. Thanks. Dillard421♂♂ (talk to me) 04:44, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
This addresses the placement of "[sic]" but not the meaning of it. I have changed the text to be clearer.Canon (talk) 18:52, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Reasoning for citation and wikilinks tags[edit]

What in this article needs a citation? Canon (talk) 00:13, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

How about this: "The March 25, 1963, issue contained the solution given below and the names of several hundred solvers from around the world." I'd love to see a cite for that. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:59, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
You mean you want to see a scan of the article? I ran into copyright trouble when I did that for the original puzzle, and only passed muster because the article itself states that Life did not originate the puzzle. That argument won't hold for the solutions. If you like I can send you a scan via email. Canon (talk) 14:36, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
*I* don't need to see it - readers of the article should be able to see it or, more likely, be given a link to a reputable source which backs up the existence and date of its appearance in the magazine. The point is to show that we haven't just made this darn thing up! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 14:42, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, readers can do what I did, locate a copy of the magazine and check for themselves. After all, we went to considerable trouble to include an (abridged) scan of the original puzzle. Isn't that sufficient? Canon (talk) 15:02, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry if I'm being dense, but where's the abridged scan? Is it linked in the article? - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:17, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
It is linked to the text "first known publication" -- which sounds like it might be too clever by half. Canon (talk) 15:50, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I was the one who placed the tag, and this is my reasoning: This article has one reference. One reference is simply not enough for an entire article. This article needs to have inline citations so that the reader may know where the information was sourced from. Even if these citations are from a magazine, it needs to be included. Not all references need to be online, they just need to be mentioned after the line where the citation is referencing to. There are few articles that would be handy for future reference to help you with citation: Wikipedia:Citing sources and Inline Citations. This page talks about why we need citation and why it is critical we do so: Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia. One very handy tool that I personally use for references, and maybe it can help you, is called Wikicite. This small program is a sort of "fill in the blanks" type of program. Once you add the information, one then clicks on "create reference" and it pastes it to your clipboard so you may simply paste it where it needs to go. Very handy, and it also ensures you get the proper format for the citation. Hope this helps. Dillard421♂♂ (talk to me) 15:39, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The first paragraph contains an inline citation that verifies the Einstein information. I'll track down a citation for the Carroll information and add it. It seems redundant to add footnotes to the second paragraph. Next is the puzzle, copied from the first citation, and a discussion of the puzzle, which doesn't need a citation since it is discussing the text itself. Then there is the solution, which is again self-evident and not stating any facts that need citations. Finally, there are alternate versions, which have been added by people who did not provide citations, but all of these versions and many more are readily available on the Web. Some of the Web locations are given in the external links section. Canon (talk) 16:03, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The article still requires inline citation. Those first inline citations are a great start; however, the rest of the article lacks them. How am I to know, as a reader, that it is the true solution to the article? If you say, oh well thats what I came up with, thats original research. How am I to know those are other versions? Its not hard to reference where you got your information. Use Wikicite, it makes it very quick and painless. We are all just trying to improve the article, not personally attack you... Dillard421♂♂ (talk to me) 16:15, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't feel like I am being attacked, so no worries there. We are all working for the best article we can write (for example, see the concern expressed above about the confusion caused by the "[sic]" annotation). The way we know that the solution is correct is either by (1) following it, which requires only the ability to think logically, which is required of the reader, or (2) relying on the Life International editors, from which the solution is copied, as stated in the second paragraph of the article. The fact that there are alternative versions is demonstrated by the External Links sections, which lists several. Does one need to find a printed source in which it states that there are alternative versions? Is a citation needed for something that can be directly demonstrated? For example, if one states that the letters in the word "aegilops" are in alphabetical order, does that require a citation? On a separate note, there are wikilinks currently for "logic puzzle," "Albert Einstein," and "Lewis Carroll." What additional links are required? Finally, does a well-written article always have a density of citations and wikilinks within a certain range? Canon (talk) 19:41, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Most importantly, how does a reader know that this solution is the solution given in Life magazine at that time? Is it possible to reference that fact specifically? - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:57, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The most direct way to "prove" that Life printed this solution in 1962 would be to include a link to it, but copyright prohibits this. Another way would be to include a reference to a book that says so, but that just pushes the trust issue back one level. How do we know the book really says that? Isn't this true of citation in Wikipedia in general? Nothing prevents an editor from making up a fact and then providing a spurious citation for it. I'll bet that happens all the time. An editor wishing to dispute the fact has to go to the effort of following the citation to its source, and then get an administrator involved to remove the bogus information. There really is no other way to proceed. This extends beyond Wikipedia to all forms of information media. Canon (talk) 20:23, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes, but the world of information seems to function fine despite that - so we participate, too. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 20:35, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. I have made several edits to the article to address the issues raised in this discussion. If there are no others I will remove the citation and wikilinks tags. Canon (talk) 18:52, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
It's been two weeks now, having made some improvements and hearing no further objections, I propose to remove the citations and wikilinks tags. Canon (talk) 23:06, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Massive "Manual of Style" edit by anonymous user[edit]

The IP 87.254.92.202 today changed quite a few things in the article, giving as reason WP:MOS. It seems a bit odd that a person claiming to be an expert in the Manual of Style would use an anonymous account, but be that as it may, the one specific problem is that the edit undid a recent change intended to make the article less confusing, namely, replacing the linked text "first known publication" with the text "(click here to view copy)". What is the reason for this? Canon (talk) 19:36, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

The guideline Click here specifically says not to link text such as "(click here to view copy)". The original and current link to "first known publication" is the canonical (no pun intended) practice, and if this confuses some people, then those people are going to be confused frequently within WP. Canon (talk) 02:46, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Odd part in the article?[edit]

Near the end of the article it says "When given to children, the cigarette brands are often replaced by snacks eaten in each house."

After this it is followed by an example of a version WITH cigarette brands, which is followed by a version with cars instead of cigarettes. Wouldn't it be better to find a snack version and put it after that statement, or possibly rephrase it to "When given to children, the cigarette brands are often replaced by car driven in each house."

DarkLightA (talk) 07:57, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Solution Method[edit]

It doesn't make sense to me to have the first solution method listed being the one which includes trial and error. As this is a logical puzzle, wouldn't it be logical to list the step by step methods first?

"Some claim that only 2% of the population can solve it"[edit]

This is weasel-wording. I know there are two references to support this statement. If we trust those references, we should simply say "only 2% of the population can solve it". If we don't trust those references, we shouldn't include the sentence. If we want to include a doubtful statement about those references, like "some claim that", we should use another reference that does that meta-analysis. Sancho 21:03, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

This puzzle's claimed association with Einstein and Carroll, and the 2% claim, are of interest to puzzle historians. Aside from historians, people consulting this article will be interested in the quality of evidence for these claims. These claims are part of the popularization of the puzzle, which is a different issue from its solvability. Canon (talk) 03:48, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

  • The provided sources only say "2% of people can solve it". They don't use the more doubtful phrasing, "some claim that 2% of the population can solve it". If we are going to inject doubt, it shouldn't come from us (by use of weasel words like "some claim that"), but by reference to a source that provides that doubt. Sancho 22:03, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    • The wording has been changed to state two facts: (1) the claim is made that only 2% of the population can solve the puzzle and (2) no evidence is given for this claim. Canon (talk) 08:36, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
      • What Sancho says is exactly right. If we want to say that "the claim that only 2% of the population can solve it is commonly made although no evidence for this claim is given", we need to find a reliable source that says this. An unreliable source that actually makes the claim is not sufficient. (See WP:Primary sources for relevant policy.) Therefore, I'm removing the Yahoo Answers source again. —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:19, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
      • I managed to find two secondary sources that support a modified version of the statement, one by a Stanford linguistics professor and the other seemingly by a New York Times columnist. I've added them to the article—hopefully that will solve the problem. —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:37, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

First Version[edit]

In the current version of the article, the Life international version is mentioned several times and also, that it contains cigarette types which didn't exsist at Einsteins or Carrolls times. The relevance of this information has become unclear as Trystan did remove the information that the Life international version is the first known version with revision from Dec 17, 2015. So either the Life international version is not the first known version or it should be made clear again that the Life version is the first one known. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.120.84.9 (talk) 06:47, 30 June 2017 (UTC)

I agree that it would be good to establish that the Life version is the original, but we would need a source saying so. The way the article is written, the Life version is both the first presented and the earliest described. The implication is that it is the earliest version that we, the editors of the article, are aware of, without making the strong claim that it is the original. The relevance of the reference to the cigarettes seems clear to me, given that implication.--Trystan (talk) 12:51, 30 June 2017 (UTC)