Dr. Duke used to begin each of his gaming/simulation courses with this exercise. While some students would solve the problem right away, others would struggle all semester. It had taken Dr. Duke well over a year himself, and he would always explain that the smarter you were, the longer it took to figure it out.
I had a sudden insight and figured this out in about four or five “hits.” Mainly because I read the “some students would solve the problem right away” part and started looking for something so simple somebody could solve it right away. And I found it.
I hope it’s not true about the “smarter you are, the longer it takes.”
I think I just spent too much time staring at six-sided dice as a child.
5 thoughts on “Petals Around the Rose”
Well, I must be pretty stupid, too, because it took me two tries. ;)
It took me 2 tries as well. I wonder if it’s not so much “smart” people that have a problem with it as people who approach it as a math problem first of all.
I approached it first of all from the name of the game and thought first about what could fit that. I then got it in two tries.
I happen to know that both Beth and Jim spent too much time staring at six-sided dice as children.
This puzzle took me about 1/2 hour to solve, so the claim that it takes smarter people longer is clearly ridiculous. I feel certain that both Jim and Ed are smarter than I am in more ways than one. I don’t know Beth, but odds are good that’s she’s brighter than I am as well.
What’s most interesting to me about this puzzle is that it seems the more assumptions you make, the faster you will solve it. As an example, Jim assumed that the title had significance and it led him quickly to the solution. Had I read his comment before attempting to solve the puzzle, his clue would have influenced my approach significantly. Surely realizing that a clue is indeed a clue indicates Jim’s a very smart cookie. (I can call Jim a cookie because I know him. If you don’t know Jim, don’t call him a cookie. He won’t actually mind, but it will make you feel a little funny inside.)
Instead, I took 10 samples and then proposed method after method of using the five data points to arrive at the result for each trial. Since a portion of my “second career” involves designing dice mechanics, I can state with authority that there are many, many methods of achieving various results from 5d6.
Thanks for pointing us to the puzzle, Ed(itor).
Got it in three tries. (First guess, entirely random number, wrong; second guess, based on “two highest numbers”, wrong; third guess correct and verified on fourth+ tests. Perhaps because I was already warned that it wasn’t a math problem per se, and also from the name of the game. But I never spent a lot of time staring at dice.
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