A Brain Puzzle Question

My secretary bought me a Mensa Puzzle A Day Calendar.

I am flattered, but not up to the challenge. I get about two a week correct.

Today’s puzzle was very similar to the Games component of the LSAT, so I was able to work it out (I loved the games section and wish they sold them in puzzle books).

So here is today’s puzzle:

**In a go-cart race, Cindy was neither first nor last. Rose came in after Cindy. Jean beat Roger. Roger beat Beth. Cindy beat Beth but not Roger.

I worked it out and got down to two names.

The correct answer is:


My analysis:

The correct order was: Jean, Roger, Cindy, Rose, Beth
I got it right, but I felt there was insufficient evidence due to poor wording.
I narrowed it down to Beth and Rose as the finalists. When I got to that point, I had no clues left to figure out the order of the final two. Looking back at the clue, I noticed how “Rose came in after Cindy” was different than all the other clues, so I guessed that Cindy was immediately followed by Rose in the race. Thus, I put Rose 4th and Beth 5th. I guess that is the rationale, but it seems cheesy. “Came in after” does not mean “immediately followed” does it? Is there something I am missing or is this one of those “best answer available” things? Did the resolution of the question turn on that issue or did I get the puzzle correct for the wrong reason?

Above Average but no Mensa,


You and I got the finishing order the same, for identical reasons.

I too got it down to Rose or Beth, and went with the idea that as worded, Rose must’ve finished just behind Cindy. But I agree…it could’ve been worded better.

Ditto on the conclusions and that it could have been worded better.

Plus, I’m still at a loss as to where to place Paul.

Paul is dead.

Yeah, I came to the same conclusion. They should probably have said something like “Rose was right after Cindy” to make it clearer.

My first temptation was “whoever came in after Rose and Beth” but I figured they had provided all the names you could use. Your logic is what I used. Same answer you got.

I like these questions. Anyone know what they’re called so we can google a few more?

Logic Puzzles are all I’ve ever called them. I’ve seen books of them wherever they sell crossword puzzle books.

Another category that’s as much fun is the Lateral Thinking Puzzle. That’s for stuff like:

A guy goes into a bar and asks for a glass of water. The bartender pulls out a gun and fires it into the ceiling. What’s going on here?

I’d take that as a no.

Is this in reference to the bartender thing?

Just FWIW, isn’t the first piece of info in that puzzle superfluous? We know Cindy can’t have come first 'cos “Cindy beat Beth but not Roger”. We know she didn’t come last 'cos “Rose came in after Cindy”

Does the bartender recognize or otherwise know the customer?
If the customer had asked for something else, would the bartender still have fired the gun?
Did the bartender intend to shoot the ceiling, specifically?
While we’re on the subject, does anyone have a definitive answer for the one about the dragon and the seven poisoned wells?

In these Lateral Thinking puzzles whoever poses the question answers yes/no questions from the rest of the players (preferably a group) until the real situation is resolved.

In this case:

Does the bartender recognize or otherwise know the customer? Irrelevant

If the customer had asked for something else, would the bartender still have fired the gun? Quite possibly

Did the bartender intend to shoot the ceiling, specifically? Not specifically, just something other than the guy asking for the water

I don’t know about the dragon and the wells. Sorry.

The guy had the hiccups. The bartended decided to try an alternate way of curing them.

Here’s some more lateral puzzles.

Those things annoy me!

And it was Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe.

I got the answer mentioned in the OP; perhaps owing to my familiarity with this type of problem, I took “Rose came in after Cindy” to mean immediately after and thus came up with the correct solution. While I’ll agree that the question could have been worded a bit more explicitly, with logic problems you have to parse the statements with the most obvious intent of the author, rather than adding in excess in the process of interpretation; witness Cecil’s weaseling on his original answer to the Monty Hall problem.


For Christmas several years ago, I got this book and the others on this page by Sloane. We had a good time with them all that holiday season and on several subsequent gatherings of family and friends.

It’s fun to try to come up with your own that are different from the ones you’ve heard or read about. Makes good traveling time-killers.

I have the (an) answer to this, but before posting it, I’ll post the question and see what others think.

A knight and a dragon live on an island with seven numbered wells on it. Well number one is at the shore of the island, and each well after it is at a higher elevation with well number seven being at the top of the mountain. Well seven is so high up that only the dragon can reach it through flight.

On it’s own, the water from each individual well acts as a poison, but if you drink water from a well with a higher number after drinking from any well, you will be cured. For instance, if you drink from well number three, drinking from wells numbered four, five, six, or seven will cure you.y

One day, the knight and the dragon decide that they no longer want to share the island and that they will duel for it. Their duel consists of both of them bringing water for the other to drink. Whichever one survives will win the island. On the day of the duel, they exchange their water. Shortly afterwards, the dragon dies, but the knight does not. Why? What happened?


I can make the knight live, but I’m not sure if I can kill the dragon:

Before exchanging water, the knight has a drink from the lowest well, thus ensuring that whatever the dragon gives him is a cure to the poison he’s already taken. Similarly, he can kill the dragon by making him drink something other than water, so that well no. 7 (which is the dragon’s safe bet) becomes an incurable poison. But I don’t find the last part very satisfactory.

He could bring him water from the sea, maybe?