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Handshaking

Puzzle:

Jack and his wife went to a party where four other married couples were present. Every person shook hands with everyone he or she was not acquainted with. When the handshaking was over, Jack asked everyone, including his own wife, how many hands they shook. To his surprise, Jack got nine different answers. How many hands did Jack's wife shake ?


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Solution:

Jack's wife shook 4 hands.

Because, obviously, no person shook hands with his or her partner, nobody shook hands with more than eight other people. And since nine people shook hands with different numbers of people, these numbers must be 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. The person who shook 8 hands only did not shake hands with his or her partner, and must therefore be married to the person who shook 0 hands. The person who shook 7 hands, shook hands with all people who also shook hands with the person who shook 8 hands (so in total at least 2 handshakes per person), except for his or her partner. So this person must be married to the person who shook 1 hand. The person who shook 6 hands, shook hands with all people who also shook hands with the persons who shook 8 and 7 hands (so in total at least 3 handshakes per person), except for his or her partner. So this person must be married to the person who shook 2 hands. The person who shook 5 hands, shook hands with all people who also shook hands with the persons who shook 8, 7, and 6 hands (so in total at least 4 handshakes per person), except for his or her partner. So this person must be married to the person who shook 3 hands. The only person left, is the one who shook 4 hands, and which must be Jack's wife. The answer is: Jack's wife shook 4 hands.

1 comment:

C R D said...

well thats because with every successive new person involved in a handshake, the number of unacquainted handshakes decreases.


eg a b c d

when a shakes hands with b c and d, hes acquainted with them all, so that leaves the next 3 with 1 less new person to be acquanited with.. and as the progression goes on, the number of new-acquaintance prospects decreases.. so thats the reason the number of new handshakes decreases


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