Friday, February 3, 2012

Of Hearts and Tarts and Liberal Arts

At this time last year, it seemed as though all of my classes were alterations on the same concept; it's funny how many times "prisoner's dilemma" or "determinism" come up in academia. But this semester, it's happening again (and I wasn't even trying to theme my classes this time around!). In Literature of Chaos, we've been reading Lewis Carroll* (Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass), while Discrete Mathematics has been discussing Carroll as a logician, drawing on his amusing logic puzzles as examples. And so, I present to the world a problem I've invented (for extra credit), inspired by the Carroll's universe.

*Funny phrasing, no? Reading Carroll? I'm reading books...

Extra Credit: Create a custom logic puzzle.

The Queen of Hearts is quite furious, as someone seems to have stolen (and subsequently returned) her tarts. She is not sure who is responsible for the theft, but has decided to employ a process never before attempted in Wonderland, logic, to find her answer. She is aware of the following:

The only suspects that had the opportunity to go after her tarts were:
A. Knave of Hearts
B. Tweedle Dum
C. Tweedle Dee
D. White Rabbit
E. Cheshire Cat
F. Mad Hatter

It is quite possible that multiple suspects are responsible for the theft. In Wonderland, the suspects are sworn to consistency, not truth; each suspect will speak always in truths or always in lies.

The Knave of Hearts says:
If I stole the tarts, I would not return them.

Tweedle Dum says:
Tweedle Dee did not steal the tarts.
Tweedle Dee tells the truth.

Tweedle Dee says:
Tweedle Dum did not steal the tarts.
Tweedle Dum tells the truth.

The White Rabbit says:
If the Mad Hatter stole the tarts, then I helped.
I did not steal the tarts.
Exactly two of the suspects are lying.

The Cheshire Cat says:
I stole the tarts.
If I stole the tarts, I worked alone.

The Mad Hatter says:
I stole the tarts.
If the White Rabbit stole the tarts, he must be telling the truth.
The White Rabbit stole the tarts.

Which suspect(s) stole the tarts?

There you have it - a logic puzzle, fitting for my current state of mind. If we've already discussed the answer, don't post it here. Otherwise, guesses, solutions, and frustrations are welcome below.

Ha. Also; Carroll was into 42 before Adams.

If that doesn't stump you, why is a raven like a writing desk?

For more Alice, check out the 2010 remade movie, now on Netflix, or the slightly more appealing three-part SyFy mini-series, Alice


  1. I would really love to play this at my cousins birthday party this weekend. See how many are stumped and how many can get it right. How can I get the answer?? thanks so much

  2. I'd suggest you start by reading the guesses and discussion on the following page. If your still stumped, post your best guess/logic, and I'll let you know how you did:


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