Jim's Blog: Observations and Perspectives

A Knotty Problem (from My Son)

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Tied up in Notts

My son, aged eleven, has a set of magazines from the 1970s, and in this one he was recently reading to me, he came across an interesting word problem which is displayed in the following paragraph. Enjoy!

There was a duel and Fred Nott was shot. Stanley Shott was not, which shows that it’s better to be Shott than Nott. Some people said that Nott was not shot, but Shott swore that he shot Nott. So, either the shot Shott shot at Nott was not shot, or in fact Nott was shot. If the shot Shott shot shot Nott Nott was shot, but if the shot Shott shot shot Shott himself, then Shott would be shot and Nott would not be shot. But the shot Shott shot shot not Shott but Nott. It’s not clear who was shot and who was not shot, but we do know which one was Shott and which was Nott.

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