Thursday, April 17, 2008

What Good Logic Puzzle Does Not Involve Death?

There are six jars containing coffee, arsenic, sugar, snuff, tea and salt. But they have all been mislabeled, so that no jar contains what it's label says. The six jars have been placed on two shelves so that it looks like:
coffee, arsenic, sugar,
snuff_, _tea_, _salt_

To be clear, the jar labeled snuff is below the jar labeled coffee. The jar labeled tea is below the jar labeled arsenic and the jar labeled salt is below the jar labeled sugar. Your job is to find the arsenic by asking two questions from a friend knows what is inside each jar.

You ask her, "Where is the salt located?"

She responds, "It is under the jar containing snuff."

Your second question goes, "Would you tell me where the sugar is?"

Her response, "Immediately to the right of the jar containing coffee."

Have you figured it out?


  1. The arsenic is in the top right.

    From the first answer we know the salt and snuff is in either column 1 or 2; can't be in 3 because salt is labeled there.

    From the second answer we know the coffee and sugar are in row 2.

    So by deduction:


    The only place arsenic can fit in top right.

  2. Nice job, James. The arsenic is in the jar labeled sugar. You've laid out the logic very well.


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