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by:  Erik Oosterwal

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Crossing the Bridge

Here's a puzzle I found in an online book dedicated as a salute to Martin Gardner, everybody's favorite puzzle master.  In the chapter, Puzzles from Around the World, Richard I. Hess provides this little stickler. It's a bit tricky at first but you should find that insight will strike you after some thinking.

Four men approach a bridge at night.  The bridge is old and rickety and can support, at most, two men going across at one time.  They have only one flashlight to share between them.  Each man has differing abilities and some take more time to cross than the others.  The times it takes for each man to cross are: 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes.  When crossing in pairs, they can only cross as fast as the slowest man can go.  How can all four men cross in only 17 minutes total?

I give up, show me the Answer

All original puzzles and solutions are © Erik Oosterwal 1993-2008

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