First, ace techno magician Marco Tempest has created a wonderful performance piece to celebrate the life of Nikola Tesla.  Link here.

Second, the Friday puzzle…..

A condemned man is allowed to choose how he will die.  He is presented with the following six options:

1) Thrown into a deep river tied to a heavy stone.

2) Decapitated by an axe.

3) Eaten alive by a group of cannibals.

4) Thrown into a pit of lions that haven’t eaten for five months.

5) Hanged by the neck until he is dead.

6) Shot through the heart with a rifle.

Which one should he choose in order to maximise his chances of survival?

As ever, please do NOT post your answers, but do say if you think you have solved the puzzle and how long it took. Solution on Monday.

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


    1. Really? The question doesn’t really make sense. For example, can lions even live 5 months without eating?

  1. Ha! For the first time, I was able to get it before I finished reading it! Thank you for letting me feel a little bit clever – it doesn’t happen often!

    1. Oh I see.
      The man is tied to a heavy stone, but with a very long piece of rope.
      Then the man is thrown in to the river, but because the rope is so long, the stone does not go in, so the man does not drown.
      I guess this is a spoiler then.

  2. As per the above, I got this one right away. thought I was clever, turns out it may just have been an easy one!

  3. What if you are thrown into a pit with no moderators ready to remove unlovely spoilers as soon as they sprout? 🙂

  4. What is it recently with people giving away spoilers? The general standards have plummeted on here recently – everyone used to be so courteous and careful not to do that, and now suddenly they’re falling over themselves to give the answer away.

    Folks, not giving away the answer means ALSO not discussing the question until Monday. You’re only supposed to say how long it took you and whether you got it. THAT’S ALL.

    It’s really quite simple.

    1. I have been participating in this for about a year now, Mike. I don’t think I ever ever noticed anyone providing a deliberate spoiler and I don’t see any in this thread either. [Maybe because I have the “wrong” answer!].
      Richard sometimes [often?] sets trick questions. Because they are trick questions sometimes people accidentally give the game away when seeking clarification. That’s one of the hazards of setting trick questions. The “spoiler” I see above is in that class.
      If all we do is say whether we solved the puzzle or not and the time we took to do it we may as well have two drop downs – one saying “Solved” or “Not Solved” and the other with a list of times. I, for one, would find that pretty dull.

      PS You have broken your own rule viz:-
      “You’re only supposed to say how long it took you and whether you got it.”

  5. Piece of cake. I started looking at it literally, then thought there’s not enough information (how many cannibals in the group?, are they armed?) and quickly realized there’s no way to answer it with that approach, read through the options again and there it was, plain as day.

  6. Thanks for that, Richard: clever one 🙂 Got the answer immediately, whilst reading the question itself, but it’s a subtle one, so thanks for another quick brain workout 😀

  7. Either these are getting easier – or I’m getting wiser to Richard’s tricks.
    On the second reading, so about 30 seconds.

  8. Obvious! What’s the point of having a puzzle which not even the thickest person would have to think about for more than a microsecond? Or is that itself the puzzle?

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