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12 People on An Island Riddle: The Answer To This Famous Riddle is Easier Than You Think!

A legendary logic conundrum that baffled the characters of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in season 2 has reappeared online.

In episode 18 of season 2, Captain Holt (portrayed by Andre Braugher) poses his “12 people on an island” conundrum. It is more challenging than others, requiring both mathematical and logical abilities to solve.

What is the meaning of the Riddle “12 Persons On An Island” and what is the solution?

12 People on An Island: Riddle

Holt states in the episode:

“Twelve men are on an island. Eleven objects weigh exactly the same, but one is slightly lighter or heavier. You must determine which. There are no escapes from the island, however, there is a seesaw. What’s the catch? It may only be used three times.”

Here is a more accurate rendition of the mystery we discovered. The puzzle will be easier to solve with this formulation.

“Twelve men are on an island. Eleven of them weigh the same, but the other one is either slightly heavier or lighter. You have a seesaw to identify who is the odd one out, but you must do so in no more than three measurements.”

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12 People on An Island: Answer

There is not a single definite answer, but rather a several paths to the solution.

Here is one approach to determining who on the island weighs more or less than the others…

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1. Count the islanders from 1 to 12
2. First, compare 1, 2, 3, and 4 against 5, 6, 7, and 8 on a seesaw. If they are the same then…
3. Weigh 9, 10, 11 against 1, 2, 3. If they are identical, then the 12th individual must be distinct.
4. Using the third and final seesaw use, assess if the 12th islander is heavier or lighter (i.e. 1 v 12)

If the second group’s weight was found to be unequal, then weigh 9 against 10. You already know if the different man is heavier or lighter than the second weight, hence the solution is the man who is heavier or lighter than the second weight. If the ratio of nine to ten is balanced, then the eleventh islander has a different weight.

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