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Is Wrangling Watchmen broken?

posted by asfm on - last edited - Viewed by 1.3K users

I have a problem with this puzzle. There seem to be at least three solutions. Now, I've already done it, so I don't need any help finding the answer, but I would like to know if there is a reason one solution is right and the others are wrong -- is there some hint I missed?

The correct answer is:


Al worked 6 hours - 12am - 6am (first shift)
Iggy worked 7 hours - 6am - 1pm (second shift)
Bernie worked 8 hours - 1pm - 9pm (third shift)
Pop worked 3 hours - 9pm - 12am (fourth shift)

That would make the time of the explosion 8pm.

But:

Al worked 6 hours - 12am - 6am (first shift)
Iggy worked 7 hours - 6am - 1pm (second shift)
Pop worked 3 hours - 1pm - 4pm (third shift)
Bernie worked 8 hours - 4pm - 12am (fourth shift)

That would put the explosion at 3pm. I believe there's also yet another solution, but a friend found it and I didn't make a note of it so I can't repeat it here.

Anyway, both of the above hold to all four rules. In both, Pop works three hours, Bernie works eight hours, Iggy worked from six until he was relieved (while working more than 3 and fewer than 8 hours), and the explosion was heard during the third shift.

The only possible explanation I can see for the first example being correct is that Bernie works the third shift, and it's Bernie who says 'BOOM! One hour before the last shift started', but that statement in no way affirms that it was Bernie who actually heard the explosion. This is also exemplified by the fact that Al makes a statement about Bernie's shift, meaning it stands to reason that Bernie's comment may also be about someone else's shift.

Am I missing something or is this puzzle broken?

12 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • This puzzle and the one with the arm wrestling made absolutly no sense to me. Nada. Zero.

  • The arm wrestling puzzle was poorly done because it didn't clarify the format of the tournament, but it was a requirement to know the format in order to solve it.
    The wrangling watchmen puzzle I had no problem with myself. From Bernie's statement I deducted that the explosion happened during his shift so I was able to find the solution from that.

    But it's quite clear that many of the puzzles in the game are confusing because the rules haven't been clarified well enough. I had alot of trouble with Diners & Dishes (the puzzle where you had to deduct what food each patron ordered and the patrons resembled a type of food). In that instance it said that the ham should be placed next to the banana split but they couldn't be placed across the table from each other. I mean, some clarification would have been nice there.
    I can only hope that this will be vastly improved in the next puzzle agent game.

  • For both puzzles, I considered the alternatives, and thought: well, if the text itself doesn't disambiguate the solutions, what would be the most reasonable assumption I can make to arrive at a single possible solution? For the watchmen that's assuming that Bernie's talking about his own shift; otherwise, why would he even be at the factory to hear the explosion? For the arm wrestling competition, it's assuming that it's a knock-out tournament.

    But I do agree with asfm that this takes it outside the purely logical realm, which also makes it hard to reason about the problem rationally. It would probably have been better to avoid these ambiguities. But I don't think either puzzle is completely "broken".

  • I say that the picture is part of the puzzle and his body language is a fifth fact to use.

  • "One hour before the last shift started" meaning he couldn't be the last shift.

  • To me it was missing two important rule (no guard shifts can overlap)....once I realized that it all made sense and the statement about Bernie should be no guard was scheduled for more hours then Bernie who worked 8hrs (as opposed to say being scheduled for and not having to work because the factory was closed.) Just a poorly worded puzzle.

  • So many problems with this puzzle. The solution relies on you knowing Bernie heard it, but it doesn't say he heard it he simply describes a boom, which, if I recall correctly, other people in town also tell you about thus indicating that hearing it does not mean you were anywhere near it.

    Second, it relies on the assumption that no further guards reported following the explosion, which again is not stated anywhere. You need to infer that, but without anything to support it you're just guessing.

    Really though, this isn't a logic puzzle, which is what I thought I was getting in for.

  • @Quitch said: So many problems with this puzzle. The solution relies on you knowing Bernie heard it, but it doesn't say he heard it he simply describes a boom, which, if I recall correctly, other people in town also tell you about thus indicating that hearing it does not mean you were anywhere near it.

    Second, it relies on the assumption that no further guards reported following the explosion, which again is not stated anywhere. You need to infer that, but without anything to support it you're just guessing.

    Really though, this isn't a logic puzzle, which is what I thought I was getting in for.

    Bernie speaks about the time of the explosion, so yes, he heard it.
    Besides how are you gonna point out the time of the explosion if neither of the guards heard it?? Someone must heard it, if not the puzzle is imposible.

    I don't understand your second statement. No further guards reported the explosion simply because they weren't working on the factory at that time. The only guard that is connected with it is Bernie, and you need to put in order all of the guards shifts around the clock to figure Bernie's work time.
    It's pure logic.

  • Reported as in reported for duty.

    @Ignatius said: Bernie speaks about the time of the explosion, so yes, he heard it.

    Or he, say, heard about it from another guard (the ones he was standing next to in the picture, another visual element!). How loud was the explosion? How far did the sound carry?

    He doesn't say he heard it, nor does he indicate he was on duty at the time, that's an assumption you're forced to make. To my mind for this to be pure logic the puzzle would need to show that only the guard on duty at the time could have heard it, otherwise you have to assume that over the many other plausible explanations.

    I just think it's a sloppy puzzle.

  • You just want the puzzle solved!:p

    I think you are missing something important: the guards were not together in the factory, they re together there for the questioning, but each one of them was alone during his shift. It doesn't matter their position in the picture, that's irrelevant!
    From this you realize that only one of them heard the explosion, the one that was working when it happened. And since Bernie is the only one speaking about it (and by looking at his face you know he is stressed) he is the only one that could have heard it.

    But this is just the set up of the puzzle, it's common sense, from the time they tell you they work by shifts you should aready know this. If you didn't get this, it's less probable that you could figure the real logic of the puzzle.

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