Monday, August 25, 2008

Riddle #24: The package

Here's a new riddle that hopefully won't be so easy, but I may be proven wrong.

You need to send an important object to a friend in Russia in a locked box but you cannot send the key separately or along with the package or else the KGB (Russian secret police) will confiscate it. How do you do it?

NOTE: The correct answer has been guessed. To read it, see the Comments section.

Lateral Thinking Puzzlers by Paul Sloane has lots of classic riddles, clues and answers. Click here to order it.

25 comments:

  1. Okay, first I need to know what the KGB is. I've never heard of it before.

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  2. Ah, now I'm showing my age. The KGB was the Russian secret police from 1954 to 1991. Most people my age have heard of them. I'll add a note to my original post.

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  3. Can it be a combination lock?

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  4. No, it can't be a combination lock, because you would have no way of communicating the combination without the KGB figuring it out.

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  5. Is it a code? Can you call and tell the friend the key? Can you fly in secretly and deliver it yourself? :-)

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  6. No, you cannot fly it in, because this is in the days of the Iron Curtain and all the borders are watched. Every message you send is bugged, so you cannot send a key or the combination, even in code. This may be far-fetched, but for the sake of the riddle, this is the premise.

    Like most riddles, you will need to think outside the box a bit, but the answer is very logical and workable.

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  7. Yes, there is a key. It's a steel box with a latch to which you can attach a padlock or padlocks. But you cannot send the key in the mail at all, not even in a separate envelope, because it will be confiscated, and you cannot have someone bring it in personally, because they will be searched at the border.

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  8. How about if they first send you the unlocked padlock? They would keep the key and be able to unlock the box when they receive it.

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  9. Ah, Cathy, you're thinking. I see how that could work IF the person knew in advance that you were planning on sending you a package. But for the purposes of the riddle, let's say he doesn't know you are planning on sending him a package and you have no way of telling him, because all the mail is bugged. If you told him, then the KGB would be watching for him to mail you a lock. I know, it's far-fetched, but work with me here. : )

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  10. Couldn't he just use boltcutters when he gets the package?

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  11. Could the key actually be a code and be sent via email?

    Jan R

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  12. No, sorry. This has to be a totally secure package. If your friend can open it with bolt cutters, then the KGB could open it with bolt cutters too.

    And Jan, you can't send the code by e-mail, because that is bugged too.

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  13. From reading the riddle... I'd say send the key in a cake... because by your grammar - it is your friend who is inside the locked box...

    Just saying... :-)

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  14. Does he/she somehow get it open without the key?

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  15. Ha! The grammar police caught me. And I'm a writer! Hey, we can't all be perfect.

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  16. Cathy, good question. I would say this: Your friend finds a way to open the box without using the key to your lock.

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  17. Is the friend the one who actually opens the box? Or does someone else? I need to figure this out soon--it's occupying far too much of my brain activity!

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  18. Yes, your friend opens the box himself. Sorry to hear this is causing your brain distress. I'll tell you this much: I have dropped a hint in my previous comments. It's pretty nebulous, but it IS a hint. Also, your guess about sending the unlocked padlock is on the right track. That's all I'll say for now.

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  19. I get that there could be more than one lock and that your key probably never leaves your possession. I'm just trying to figure out how that would work.

    Do I send him something other than the box?

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  20. Yes, Cathy, you are definitely on the right track. Yes, you send him a box with your lock on it. And that's all. But what happens next? Your friend realizes that he can't open your lock. So what does he do?

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  21. AHHHHHH! He receives the box, but can't open it. He adds his own padlock to the latch, then sends the box back to you. You then remove your lock and send the box back to him. He has the key to open the remaining lock. And the box was locked the entire time. Thanks for the mental calisthenics!

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  22. YES, Cathy, that's it! Congratulations! I hope I didn't give it away with my clues. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  23. An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your web page.

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