You have 12 coins, one of which is fake. The fake coin is indistinguishable from the rest except that it is either heavier or lighter, but you don't know which. Can you determine which is the fake coin and whether it is lighter or heavier using a balance scale and only 3 weighings?

[Ref: ZLKY]

Hint: Finding the correct weighings requires some very careful thinking.

Answer:
One solution is to label the coins with the letters FAKE MIND CLOT and weigh the coins in the following three combinations:

MA DO -- LIKE
ME TO -- FIND
FAKE -- COIN

Logic will now allow you to find the fake coin based on the three results. Bearing in mind we don't know whether the fake coin is lighter or heavier.

For instance, if the results were left down, balanced, left down, we could work out which coin is fake in the following way:

From the middle weighing we know that the coins METOFIND are all normal. So one of the coins ACKL is fake. Therefore looking at these coins one at a time in the other two weighings, we can see that:

A - appears on the left twice and could be fake.
C - appears only once, therefore can't be fake (otherwise the first weighing would be balanced).
K - appears on opposite sides, so it can't make the left side go down both times.
L - appears only once, therefore can't be fake (otherwise the third weighing would be balanced).

Therefore the only possibility is A, which must be heavier. Any other combination of ups and downs will allow you to use the same logic to find the fake coin.

Puzzle 388

Daft Dave did such a good job of the housing estate, he was asked to paint the room numbers on all of the doors of the fourth floor of the local hotel. He painted all of the numbers from 400 to 499. How many times did he paint the number 4?

After a recent spate of home improvements, four couples were having a dinner party to discuss the additions to their houses.

Alan had not recently had a new bathroom. Kara had not yet done her kitchen, but perhaps would update it next. Brian, who is married to Maud, had not had new windows. Laura delighted in showing photographs of her new conservatory. Neither Charles nor David had a new kitchen. Julie had not had new windows. Alan, who also had not had windows, is not married to Laura and Charles is not married to Kara.

Who is married to whom and what work had they recently undertaken, assuming that each couple had one improvement and no two couples had the same improvement.

Answer:
Alan is married to Julie and they had a new kitchen.
Brian is married to Maud and they had a new bathroom.
Charles is married to Laura and they had a new conservatory.
David is married to Kara and they had new windows.

Puzzle 390

Using the BrainTracker grid below, how many words can you find? Each word must contain the central U and no letter can be used twice, however, the letters do not have to be connected. Proper nouns are not allowed, however, plurals are. Can you find the nine letter word?