Laughter is the Best Medicine

Can you solve the penniless pilgrim riddle? – Daniel Finkel

After months of travel,
you’ve arrived at Duonia, home to the famous temple that’s
the destination of your pilgrimage. Entering from the northwest, you pass through the city gates
and the welcome center, where you’re given a map and a brochure. The map reveals that the town consists
of 16 blocks, formed by five streets that
run west to east, intersecting five more
that run north to south. You’re standing on the
northernmost street facing east, with the two blocks containing the gate
and the welcome center behind you. The temple’s only entrance lies
at the very southeast corner. It’s not a long walk,
but there’s a problem. As you learn from the brochure, Duonia imposes a unique tax
on all visitors, which must be paid when they arrive
at their destination within the city. The tax begins at zero, increases by two silver
for every block you walk east, and doubles for every block
you walk south. However, a recent reform
to make the tax fairer halves your total bill for
every block you walk north and subtracts two silver
for every block you walk west. Just passing through the gate
and the welcome center means you already owe four silver. As a pilgrim you carry no money
and have no way of earning any. What’s more, the rules
of your pilgrimage forbid you from walking over any stretch of
ground more than once during your journey— though you can cross your own path. Can you figure out a way to reach
the temple without owing any tax or walking the same block twice
in any direction? Pause here if you want
to figure it out for yourself. Answer in: 3 Answer in: 2 Answer in: 1 You look at the map
to consider your options. Walking towards the temple
always increases the tax, and walking away decreases it, so it seems like you can never reach it
without owing silver. But what happens when you walk
around a single block? If you start out owing four silver
and go clockwise starting east, your tax bill becomes six, then 12, then 10, then five. If you looped again, you’d owe seven, 14, 12, and six. It seems that each clockwise loop leaves
you owing one extra silver. What about a counterclockwise loop then? Starting owing four again
and going south first, your bill changes to eight, 10, five, and three. Looping again you’d owe six, eight, four, and two. Each counterclockwise loop actually earns
you one silver. That’s because any tax doubled, plus two, halved, and minus two, always ends up one smaller
than it started. The key here is that while the different
taxes for opposite directions may seem to balance each other out, the order in which they’re applied
makes a huge difference. You start off owing four silver, so four counterclockwise loops would
get you down to zero. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple,
since you can’t walk the same block twice. But there’s another way
to reduce your bill: walking one large counterclockwise loop
through the city. From your starting position,
walk three blocks south. You need to leave the southernmost
street clear for the final stretch, so continuing counterclockwise
means going east. Walk two blocks to the eastern wall
and you owe a whopping 36 silver. But now you can start reducing your bill. Three blocks north and one block west
cuts it to 2.5. You can’t go west from here
—that would leave you with no way out. So you go one block south,
and the remaining three blocks west, leaving you with a debt
of -1 silver. And since doubling a negative number
still gives you a negative number, walking the three blocks to the south wall
means the city owes you eight. Fortunately, that’s exactly enough to get you through the final blocks
to the temple. As you enter, you realize what
you’ve learned from your pilgrimage: sometimes an indirect route
is the best way to reach your destination.

100 thoughts on “Can you solve the penniless pilgrim riddle? – Daniel Finkel

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  2. Assuming intersections are 1 (upper left) through 25 (bottom right) and you start at intersection 3, this earns you 4 dollars:

    South to 8 (8.00)
    South to 13 (16.00)
    West to 12 (14.00)
    South to 17 (28.00)
    East to 18 (30.00)
    East to 19 (32.00)
    East to 20 (34.00)
    North to 15 (17.00)
    North to 10 (8.50)
    North to 5 (4.25)
    West to 4 (2.25)
    South to 9 (4.50)
    West to 8 (2.50) (passing through intersection twice allowed – rule #6)
    West to 7 (0.50)
    West to 6 (-1.50)
    South to 11 (-3.00)
    South to 16 (-6.00)
    South to 21 (-12.00)
    East to 22 (-10.00)
    East to 23 (-8.00)
    East to 24 (-6.00)
    East to 25 (-4.00)

  3. Seems easy enough, though I must say, a city containing a major pilgrimage site putting this much strain on not just everyday travelers but also the pilgrims, many of whom have apparently sworn vows of poverty or otherwise pack very light to avoid tempting bandits, would seem to be risking some serious international outrage.

  4. So as a pilgrim you can't earn money, but if your destination was in the bottom left they would owe you money?

  5. I only figured that you probably need -1 on any of the the left side blocks, but I didn't figure out how to get it there.

  6. Just go the way everyone goes…so I came all this way just to plan the final stretch of my trip at last minute?

  7. What's brilliant about his cities setup, is that the collection office is already four silver in.
    Questions: Do I have to pay for each new destination? Or is it once you get to a spot and pay, you can wander, because if so, she should have stopped at the west most corner and collected 8 silver, and then strolled on over to the Temple. Or when she leaves, instead of going West, then North, and collection .5 silver, she should travel North, then West, and collect eight.

  8. Go left twice, down all the way, go to gate, up1, left 3, down1, gate, up 1, left 2, gate, up1, left1, down, gate. With that combination you will gain 10 silver

  9. How to solve this
    Version 2

    1:Stop being a “pilgrim”
    2:Go out and cross the other way, witch is trepassing the Wall Sofas the mountain

  10. Cmon make the city go bankrupt and go off road and then the city HAS to release the tax thing, also you haven’t broken the piglrimige rules

  11. I've found a variation of the solution, where you can have -4 at the end. That is the city owns me 4 silver coins. But as a pilgrim I carry no money…so I think I'll just bury them somewhere…one day the Templars will find a treasure 😉

    Solution: go south 1 block (8), go east one (6), go south two blocks (24), go west 3 blocks (30), go north 3 blocks (30/2=15; 15/2=7,5; 7,5/2 = 3,25). Go east 1 block (1,25), go south 1 (2,5), go east again 1 block (0,5). Go south one block (1), go east two blocks (you have -3 now). You go south two blocks (-12). Now you're in the south-eastern corner. Go west four blocks and you reach your destination. At the end you have -4. 

    Moral of the story: Though you bring nothing with you in this world, live your life in such a way that at the end many will feel indebted to you 😉

  12. Leave the town and enter the temple by scaling the cliff and jumping over the walls.

  13. i think that if you use this simple algorithm, you can solve this easily. 23*(656466464554465456654+84946-558)= Drop the Mic…

  14. But the city owing money isn't a proper way that they work. It would drop to 0 no matter what. If your riddles don't make proper sense in terms of law, you kind of need to state it

  15. You could just walk west three times then walk south until you end up back outside Duonia, then walk east to get to the temple.
    You'll probably end up a millionaire.

  16. I just read a comment on how people who live in the kingdom can just walk around their house to make tons of money.
    And I can’t get over the fact of waking up, looking up the window, and seeing everyone just jogging/running/jogging around their houses 😂😂

  17. 🤒 why didn't I think of this? Well, my solution even earned me an extra 2 Silver at the end of the journey.

    Walk 1 block south, then 2 blocks west, then 2 blocks south, then 4 blocks east, then 3 blocks north, then 1 block west, then 1 block south, then 1 block west, then 1 block south, then 1 block west, then 2 blocks south, and finally 3 blocks east.
    Try it.
    Igbo man sense😁. We go make money.

  18. Why can’t u just lie to the tax collector and say oh no I climbed over the wall, didn’t travel any blocks so not taxes 4 me 🤷‍♀️

  19. Um if you go straight east then straight straight south you will end up with 128 silver but while going back straight west then straight north you will end up with 0 again

  20. this is very interesting,
    i would moonwalk facing west while going to 2 block east, making my tax 0
    then just walk 4 block south like a normal pilgrim does

  21. But wait there's more, you are an old pilgrim, so old, that you cant walk more than 2 blocks without having to stop for the day. You have 3 days. Thankfully, though, there is a bus, but it costs 100 silver, bit will take you to your destination.

    Answer: Use the power of God to move the temple closer to you or die trying

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