Three gods

Question:

Three gods A, B, and C are called, in no particular order, True, False, and Random. True always speaks truly, False always speaks falsely, but whether Random speaks truly or falsely is a completely random matter. Your task is to determine the identities of A, B, and C by asking three yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one god. The gods understand English, but will answer all questions in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are da and ja, in some order. You do not know which word means which.

What three questions can you ask?

.

.

C

A

P

T

A

I

N

I

N

T

E

R

V

I

E

W

.

.

Answer: A possible solution is:

  • Q1: Ask god B, “If I asked you ‘Is A Random?’, would you say ja?”. If B answers ja, either B is Random (and is answering randomly), or B is not Random and the answer indicates that A is indeed Random. Either way, C is not Random. If B answers da, either B is Random (and is answering randomly), or B is not Random and the answer indicates that A is not Random. Either way, you know the identity of a god who is not Random.
  • Q2: Go to the god who was identified as not being Random by the previous question (either A or C), and ask him: “If I asked you ‘Are you False?’, would you say ja?”. Since he is not Random, an answer of da indicates that he is True and an answer of ja indicates that he is False.
  • Q3: Ask the same god the question: “If I asked you ‘Is B Random?’, would you say ja?”. If the answer is ja, B is Random; if the answer is da, the god you have not yet spoken to is Random. The remaining god can be identified by elimination.

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