GeekDad Puzzle of the Week Answer: Guinea Pig, Labrador, Kale

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Kale? Where we’re going we don’t NEED kale. Notice the alligator clip. Hmmm… Image: Flickr/oskay

By far the best solution to this week’s puzzle was to let the Labradors eat the guinea pig bedding and Templeton (said guinea pig) eat the kale, and then simply buy new kale or admit that kale is something purchased by over-motivated parents who imagine their children should eat it with no intention to do so themselves, and instead cook dueling hot dogs over the gas stove and call it good. Blaine also points out that the easiest solution would be to take the bedding to the shed and clean it (thus violating the problem constraints and sending the Earth spiraling from its orbit into the Sun. But … otherwise good idea!) For those of you especially concerned about the kale, here is this week’s correct answer:

1. Take Templeton to the shed.
2. Take dogs to the shed but bring back Templeton.
3. Take the kale to the shed.
4. Take Templeton to the shed.

And as many of you pointed out, this is identical to the time-honored wolf-goat-cabbage problem, and closely related to the missionaries and cannibals problem, and all other river crossing problems. As had been much studied by the cognitive psychologists who study this kind of thing, the counterintuitive part is bringing Templeton back to the house — like the Towers of Hanoi problem, you gotta move away from your goal so that you can move toward it. It’s like skiing with kids, during which, after dressing a kid, you have to strip said kid nearly naked in order to use the restroom, in order to successfully re-clothe the child and arrive at ski lessons with proper protective clothing and also an empty bladder. Anyway…

The winner of this week’s puzzle, drawn from the veritable plethora of correct entrants, is frequent submitter, Blaine. Congrats! The $50 ThinkGeek gift certificate is yours, all yours, mwhahahahahahaha! Tune in Monday when Jude offers a puzzle that very likely doesn’t have to do with kids’ pets eating each other.

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