Einstein’s Zebra Puzzle

I just solved this one. Took me about an hour, though I think I could now do a similar problem much more quickly. It’s from Rosen’s “Discrete Mathematics with Applications” 6th Ed. I’m curious to see if others get the same answer as me!

Yes... you know you want to waste your time solving this...

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23 Responses to Einstein’s Zebra Puzzle

  1. Telanis says:

    A classic problem. All you have to do is make charts. It’s basically Sudoku.

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  3. Granite says:

    Well, I’ll send you what I got in a tweet because I don’t know how to do a spoiler box on this comment system.

  4. Ben says:

    Could be wrong so no real spoilers.

    Mineral Water = Norwegian
    Zebra = Englishman

  5. Westicle says:

    Have you ever had a Dell Magazine? They come out with puzzles just like this. Of course, I’m getting to work solving right away.

  6. Emperor Spock says:

    How about solving it without a chart (well, a written chart anyway)?

  7. Jeff Frazier says:

    This is about the level of the questions on the LSAT ( law school application test) there is always an entire timed section of these questions.

  8. Gary says:

    From the leftmost (#1) to rightmost (#5) houses:

    #1 yellow house, Norwegian diplomat, fox, mineral water
    #2 blue house, Italian physician, horse, tea
    #3 red house, English photographer, snails, milk
    #4 white house, Spanish violinist, dog, orange juice
    #5 green house, Japanese painter, coffee, zebra

  9. Tempel says:

    I did a lot of these puzzles back in elementary school. We were always given the charts used to find solutions, so I don’t much care to draw out the whole chart required for this one, especially considering there are six variables with five possible values involved.

    But I never made any connection between these problems and discrete mathematics. How did this relate into the book?

  10. Chewbaccanator says:

    Whipped up a spreadsheet in google with the answers, just to compare with y’all


  11. Theo says:

    My HS physics teacher had my class solve this problem a few years back. A few of us managed it in about half an hour, and some couldn’t get it on their own. Ironically, the kid with the lowest grade in class, and worst critical thinking skills in general, solved it first. Whether he did it by luck or ability, I will never know.

  12. Azelbaum says:

    Norwegian = Water
    Japanese = Zebra

  13. JRM says:

    Steve owns the zebra.

    Joe likes mineral water.


  14. Renee says:

    Took me two tries. You make ONE mistake and it screws up the whole thing. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I got it right.

    Mineral Water- Norwegian
    Zebra- Japanese

  15. Tiggum says:

    There’s a puzzle game called Sherlock that is exactly these sort of puzzles. Can be found at http://www.kaser.com/ along with a bunch of other puzzle games more or less similar in various ways. I killed a lot of time while waiting a couple of weeks for my internet to be hooked up with these.

  16. Ainara says:

    Took me 1 hour!
    mineral water- norwegian
    zebra- japanese

  17. Super2goten says:

    Aah, aalways loved these types of puzzles, been doing them since I was little, though I very rarely come across them nowdays, nice to take a mind warp back a few years.

  18. F says:

    My solution had everything right, except the fox wasn’t in the house next to the physician. Dang, time to try again.

  19. Vic says:

    I got the Norwegian drinks mineral water and the Japanese owns the zebra, too. Yiss!!
    It didn’t take me thaaat long, but I did also assume that the zebra and water drinker wouldn’t be in the same house since that would be too easy, which in turn, made it much easier to solve!

  20. Zhi Zhi says:

    Total time: About an hour and a half.

    First try on a spreadsheet in google docs…didn’t work out too well. Second try, I used paper and tape to track the connections and got it in 15 minutes (minus all the cutting, writing and taping). I found it by playing around with the position of the physician and fox.

    SPOILER (As if this hasn’t been spoiled already by the commenters above :/ ) A picture of my results:

  21. Luke says:

    Got the same answer as everyone above; took me about 2 minutes to get the mineral water part, and another 15 minutes to work out the rest. If you’re doing it with pen and paper, it’s fastest to make guesses at certain points and quickly see if it works out; if not, scrap it and restart.

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