Three Cups And Ten Pieces Of Sugar Can Make Quite A Mind-Blending Puzzle
Perhaps everybody enjoys solving entertaining puzzles, especially when there is nothing else to do. However, originally, the tradition of brain-teasers was conducted in the form of the entire celebration with thorough preparations as well as rewards. Here is a great example of such evening, during the times of medieval Europe. By the way, here is also a puzzle for you to think about while reading – What starts with a T, ends with a T, and has “T” in it?
Glorious past of a puzzle
An excellent representative of the old English provincial nobility was Squire David from Stoke Courtesy Hall, in Somerset. He showed special interest in all sorts of puzzles, with one of the evenings a year always devoted to this glorious amusement.
It was assumed that every guest would come to him, armed with a puzzle for others to think about, while the old gentleman would give the guest the most skilled in his mysteries, a new watch.
There have been dozens of very simple puzzles, but some of them were very hard nuts, with the Three Tea Cups as a vivid example.
That evening, one young lady put three empty teacups on the table and invited anybody who would be able to put ten pieces of sugar in them so that each cup had an odd number of pieces.
Another young man, who studied law in Oxford, said that this, of course, can’t be done and that he is ready to bring the entire company to prove this statement.
It was probably very interesting to look at his face when the girl showed him the right answer.
The young lady obviously had some trick in reserve.
As she proposed to spread out ten pieces of sugar in three cups, she didn’t say that you can’t move the cups themselves. By placing a cup containing one piece into a cup containing two pieces, we can verify that indeed each of them contains an odd number of pieces. In the third cup, eventually, we have the rest – 7. Obviously, if the cup contains another cup, then it includes its contents.
The young woman deserved that new watch from Sir David, and what about you? Have you figured out the answer to the puzzle at the beginning? While you are still thinking, and as I have run out of tea, I will go to the kitchen and add some more water into my teapot.