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Dr. Contrary's Pointy End

Logic puzzles require you to think. You will have to be logical in your reasoning.


Puzzle ID:#49873
Fun:*** (2.77)
Difficulty:*** (2.14)
Submitted By:AwwwSweet***!!
Corrected By:AwwwSweet




Try to close your eyes and picture this in your mind (once you have read through it, of course!).

You are standing in front of a solid metal table. Dr. Contrary places a one-hundred dollar bill in the middle of the table. While you watch, he turns a large metal pyramid upside down and perfectly balances its point in the middle of the one-hundred dollar bill so the pyramid is balancing on that single point. He shows you very clearly that there is nothing holding up the pyramid other than gravity.

Dr. Contrary turns to you and asks, "Can you remove the one-hundred dollar bill in such a way that you do not disturb the upside-down pyramid? You may not touch or move the pyramid, you cannot prop it up or lift it off the table, it cannot fall over, and you are not allowed to cut or tear the dollar bill." He eyeballs you and waits patiently for your response.

Can you solve Dr. Contrary's puzzle?


Light the one-hundred dollar bill on fire. It may be painful to see some nice spending money go up in smoke, but burning the bill will successfully remove it without disturbing the overturned pyramid.

There may be semantics to be quibbled over, such as the definition of "touch", whether you are removing/destroying/changing the composition the dollar bill, whether there may be some small portion of the dollar bill remaining, and even the legality of the action. However, the true purpose of this puzzle is to find the reader's "flash of insight" to realize that burning it is an option. It is very unlikely that someone would come up with the solution through brute force itemized thinking.


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Jul 12, 2013

It might land you in prison, though.
Jul 15, 2013

You are quite right, and I should point out that I don't condone that.
Jul 20, 2013

Very clever, I was gonna cut it until I read that far (darn) I got it with the hint, Thanks for posting!!
Jul 26, 2013

I enjoyed this one. What if you placed some supporting objects immediately next to and/or behind the upside-down pyramid, which would mean that you would not be touching it directly, thereby enabling you to slip the one-hundred dollar bill out? Wouldn't this also satisfy the conditions specified in the challenge?
Jul 26, 2013

It is kind of like a little girl telling her brother not to touch her, and he then pokes her arm with his finger under a cloth or with a stick. The instruction and intent can be understood, but technicalities of language can be used to twist the intent. Admittedly the instructions do not spell out that nothing can touch the pyramid, but then I'm sure there would be those who would argue air or flame was touching it during the solution. I'll think about it and see if I come up with a way to account for the technicality.
Jul 26, 2013

Not to nitpick but burning it would remove MOST but not all of the bill. The small portion that was under the point of the pyramid would not be burned since it's smothered. And also, your not really removing the bill anyway. You're just changing it chemically to carbon ash or something like that (I'm not a chemist).
Jul 27, 2013

@zembobo: The tiny bit of the bill underneath the pyramid's point could be burned, it would have a minuscule amount of surface area around the edges.

ALSO...Dr. Contrary says you cannot rip the "dollar bill." It's not a dollar bill: it is a one hundred dollar bill. So...if you are really good with an exacto knife maybe you could do it without disturbing the pyramid. it possible to put a powerful magnet (if this pyramid is iron/steel, or an alloy thereof) in a fixed position above the pyramid--not powerful enough to lift or move it, but enough to hold the bulky inverted base in place? Sure, there's no way you could do that and remove the bill without moving it at LEAST extremely slightly, but I mean, hey, come on, even breathing (and at that, your own gravitational pull) would affect the pyramid's position to some microscopic degree, right?

Are we getting technical enough yet?
Aug 12, 2013

surely the rising heat from the burning bill would unbalance the pyramid especially if it was that perfectly balanced?
Aug 19, 2013

haha, i only got this once I'd read the hint. @MadAde--I think this calls for a little experimenting!
Jan 19, 2015

This really should be in Trick, not Logic.
Mar 17, 2015

I, too, thought it could be done with a powerful magnet, and figured that was why we were told the pyramid was metal.

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