Can you solve “Einstein’s Riddle”? – Dan Van der Vieren
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Can you solve “Einstein’s Riddle”? – Dan Van der Vieren

January 13, 2020

Before he turned physics upside down, a young Albert Einstein supposedly
showed off his genius by devising a complex riddle involving
this list of clues. Can you resist tackling a brain teaser written by one of the smartest
people in history? Let’s give it a shot. The world’s rarest fish has been
stolen from the city aquarium. The police have followed the scent to a
street with five identical looking houses. But they can’t search
all the houses at once, and if they pick the wrong one,
the thief will know they’re on his trail. It’s up to you, the city’s best detective,
to solve the case. When you arrive on the scene,
the police tell you what they know. One: each house’s owner
is of a different nationality, drinks a different beverage, and smokes a different type of cigar. Two: each house’s interior walls
are painted a different color. Three: each house contains a different animal,
one of which is the fish. After a few hours of expert sleuthing,
you gather some clues. It may look like a lot of information, but there’s a clear logical path
to the solution. Solving the puzzle will be
a lot like Sudoku, so you may find it helpful to organize
your information in a grid, like this. Pause the video on the following screen to
examine your clues and solve the riddle. Answer in: 3 2 1 To start, you fill in the information
from clues eight and nine. Immediately, you also realize that since
the Norwegian is at the end of the street, there’s only one house next to him, which must be the one with the blue walls
in clue fourteen. Clue five says the green-walled
house’s owner drinks coffee. It can’t be the center house since you
already know its owner drinks milk, but it also can’t be the second house,
which you know has blue walls. And since clue four says the green-walled house must be directly
to the left of the white-walled one, it can’t be the first
or fifth house either. The only place left
for the green-walled house with the coffee drinker
is the fourth spot, meaning the white-walled house
is the fifth. Clue one gives you
a nationality and a color. Since the only column missing both
these values is the center one, this must be the Brit’s red-walled home. Now that the only unassigned
wall color is yellow, this must be applied to the first house, where clue seven says
the Dunhill smoker lives. And clue eleven tells you that
the owner of the horse is next door, which can only be the second house. The next step is to figure out what
the Norwegian in the first house drinks. It can’t be tea, clue three tells you
that’s the Dane. As per clue twelve, it can’t be root beer
since that person smokes Bluemaster, and since you already
assigned milk and coffee, it must be water. From clue fifteen, you know that the Norwegian’s neighbor,
who can only be in the second house, smokes Blends. Now that the only spot in the grid
without a cigar and a drink is in the fifth column, that must be the home of the person
in clue twelve. And since this leaves only the second
house without a drink, the tea-drinking Dane must live there. The fourth house is now the only one
missing a nationality and a cigar brand, so the Prince-smoking German
from clue thirteen must live there. Through elimination, you can conclude
that the Brit smokes Pall Mall and the Swede lives in the fifth house, while clue six and clue two tell you that these two have a bird
and a dog, respectively. Clue ten tells you that the cat owner
lives next to the Blend-smoking Dane, putting him in the first house. Now with only one spot left on the grid, you know that the German in the
green-walled house must be the culprit. You and the police burst into the house, catching the thief fish-handed. While that explanation
was straightforward, solving puzzles like this often
involves false starts and dead ends. Part of the trick is to use
the process of elimination and lots of trial and error
to hone in on the right pieces, and the more logic puzzles you solve, the better your intuition will be for when and where there’s enough
information to make your deductions. And did young Einstein
really write this puzzle? Probably not. There’s no evidence he did, and some of the brands mentioned
are too recent. But the logic here is not so different from what you’d use to solve equations
with multiple variables, even those describing
the nature of the universe.


  • Reply eg boy November 16, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Your welcome

  • Reply Jana Gaspard November 16, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Of course it was a German

  • Reply chitra baskaran November 16, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Love it 😍

  • Reply Mekacz November 16, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    How come the Brit doesn't drink the tea

  • Reply vhea He November 16, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    Solved it. 😉

  • Reply J.Y. K November 17, 2019 at 1:29 am

    But if einstein wrote this he is stupider than we thought

  • Reply Marie Mouse November 17, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    I got it with my friend and school, and it is pretty much logic, and then guesswork.

  • Reply Cj Cola November 18, 2019 at 12:58 am

    House 4

  • Reply Iliana November 18, 2019 at 10:22 am

    That was easy

  • Reply Noodles Aren't we all November 18, 2019 at 4:29 pm


  • Reply 郑准 November 21, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Them: Can you solve "Einsteins's Riddle"?
    Me: Solves it
    Also Me: I'm 1% of Albert's brain.

  • Reply Alvin Wu November 21, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    At the German’s house:

    Bom! Bom! Bom! FBI! Open up!

  • Reply Han Ko November 22, 2019 at 7:19 am


  • Reply Diamonds are the best November 23, 2019 at 12:43 am

    Clues 1:37

  • Reply Raheel Nath November 23, 2019 at 2:26 am

    Nice riddle

  • Reply iTengoku November 23, 2019 at 9:51 am


  • Reply Hopelexx_ Romanzze November 23, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    I solved it after an hour. 😂

  • Reply Berna Ozgiray Sagun November 24, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    We must arrest German; who lives in the 4. house which has green walls, drinks Prince and coffee. Norwegian lives in the 1. house which has yellow walls, drinks Dunhill and water and owns a cat. Dane lives in the 2. house which has blue walls, drinks blends and tea and owns a horse. Brit lives in the 3. house which has red walls, drinks Pall Mall and milk and owns a bird. Swede lives in the 5. house which has white walls, drinks Blue Master and root beer and owns a dog.

  • Reply Ken Rubenstein November 24, 2019 at 4:50 pm

  • Reply Profreshinal November 24, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Everyone: Get 5 police to search the houses, easy.

    Me: Yes.

  • Reply PuteBordDelux November 24, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    ofcourse the german is the criminal lmao

  • Reply ArrowTRAKT November 25, 2019 at 1:26 am

    What if the thief was El Chapo

  • Reply Chi Nguyễn November 25, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Oh my gosh me and my friend actually solved it. Im so happy i could cry!!! <3

  • Reply LuqmanLSG November 25, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    I did it. Pen and paper, took about 45 mins or so, but I did it. Yay, brain.

  • Reply PhasyX November 26, 2019 at 3:56 am

    At clue 15, you could also ruin the riddle when you assign the blend smoker at house #4 and the man at house #5 as the man who drank water.

  • Reply Bluey November 26, 2019 at 11:06 am

    they're all different nationalities that speak different languages.. if there was at least something that recorded the audio of the robbery, we would know sooner, unless it's the brit. THIS COMMENT IS LONGER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE.

  • Reply Clara Mel B November 28, 2019 at 12:49 am

    I remember solving this when I was little but it's probably because I didn't know much about the world and didn't have time to doubt my thinking, so I just used logic lol

  • Reply eva riani November 28, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    This puzzle is soooo fun

  • Reply Anshika Sahu November 28, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Yayyyyy I did it by myself!!!

  • Reply Alvin Wu November 28, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Of course the German stole the fish! Why do you think Einstein is German?!

  • Reply Panda Person November 29, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    who else got it right!!!

  • Reply Lee Lynn November 30, 2019 at 5:28 am

    Swede with the dog is pewdiepie with Edgar

  • Reply Fatou Barry December 1, 2019 at 5:02 am

    I ACTUALLY SOLVED IT WTH- I was doubtful at first, but when I checked my answers I was literally freaking out!!!

  • Reply clαrιeɴ December 2, 2019 at 8:45 am

    i watched this so much times and just now noticed that both police are thicc

  • Reply Trafalgar Law December 2, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    It took me 15 minutes, although the true challenge is doing it without the grid. With a grid it really is like sudoku, but an easy one, as you need no testing.

  • Reply زهراء December 2, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Solved it 😎👌🏻
    The German is the thief.

  • Reply isyoursheepwireless December 3, 2019 at 2:50 am

    I don't know how long it took me to solve it (a while) and I definitely didn't do it in the order shown in this video, but I got all the solutions correct so I don't mind

  • Reply meme troll December 3, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I can't but I know Senku can.

  • Reply Mira Nehme December 3, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    I actually solved this correctly

  • Reply Krithika Iyer December 4, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Turns out it was a red herring..

  • Reply the human god December 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    This puzzle wasn't written by Einstein!
    The smartest man in the world wouldn't make the mistake of having a Brit drink milk instead of tea!

  • Reply anil sethi December 5, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Hey you did it wrongly why can't the 5th house be of green colour when the clues does not say any thing about the colour of the 4th house. So instead of taking in consideration that 4th house could only be the green coloured one is wrong which leads to the conclusion that your question is either incomplete or wrong.😎😎😎

  • Reply Milk Meat December 6, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Theres 1 thing I wanna say to albert einstein in person

    What's 1 + 1 ?

  • Reply Nishtha P December 6, 2019 at 2:49 pm


  • Reply Blue Vaquita December 8, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    I still got a logical answer with a headache

  • Reply Mili Mehta December 9, 2019 at 6:44 am

    I solved it🎆🎆

  • Reply dvbrikvlogs December 9, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    i did this test 4 years ago when i was 10 and i gave up halfway through, now that im 14 i re-did it and i worked it out in under 10 minutes and omg im so proud of myself

  • Reply Modeson Jay Manalastas December 10, 2019 at 6:50 am

    Solved it yey!

  • Reply ElZamo92 December 10, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Yeah, this was basically easier sudoku.

  • Reply Mavros Patman December 10, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Einstein's riddle doesn't include the information that someone has the fish. So the answer is that if someone has the fish, this man is the German. Buy it is possible that noone has the fish

  • Reply MADELEINE MARDER December 11, 2019 at 3:29 am

    This is the first TED riddle I have solved on my own!!

  • Reply a literal god December 11, 2019 at 5:15 am

    I guessed 4 and got it right!

  • Reply Carl Xyruz Frias December 12, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Hold on hold on…
    The police told the detective the clues right?

    Then the clue includes five pets

    And how in the world did the police know the five pets

    If they didn't look on the houses

    So, that means that they also saw where the fish is!

  • Reply Enda Brogan December 12, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I done this riddle in 5th😂

  • Reply Dr. P. Toast December 12, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    I solved this riddle 'bout a year ago in 30 minutes

  • Reply A Kid December 14, 2019 at 12:16 am


  • Reply Maria Elizabeth December 14, 2019 at 5:47 am

    I passed it! 😌😌

  • Reply CarbonDio Active December 14, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    1:25 I paused the video and solve the Sudoku.
    This is the Vietnamese boy that commented English that you're looking for.

  • Reply Angelo Sanchez December 15, 2019 at 6:02 am

    i actually got it

  • Reply Nicole Gasmin December 15, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Our Math professor gave this to us for an additional points and we actually solved it. All 5 groups solved it

  • Reply Sarita Gupta December 15, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Can't you send 5 cops

  • Reply Oldschool gamer and Lover December 17, 2019 at 3:02 am


  • Reply K.C.D 15 December 18, 2019 at 12:23 am

    It took me 58 minutes to solve it… and I was surprised when I got it right.

  • Reply terry truccus - msm youtuber December 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Dane: hai

  • Reply Mocchaq December 18, 2019 at 10:14 pm


  • Reply Brenda Bianca December 20, 2019 at 6:49 am


  • Reply Banu Betul December 20, 2019 at 8:24 am

    I solved it about 15 minutes 💪🏾😎

  • Reply Mc Nguyen December 21, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Shouldn’t the Brit drink tea?

  • Reply j l December 21, 2019 at 9:08 am

    But can you solve Epstein's riddle?

  • Reply ImmaUnicorn_ Duh777 December 21, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    I gOt IT SOmEhoW iT took 15 mins but got it

  • Reply Olaoluwa Akomolede December 22, 2019 at 9:23 am

    No way. I actually solved it! Took me so long it was like sudoku after the basic stuff. I feel so accomplished!

  • Reply Cheeseburger Monkey December 23, 2019 at 1:12 am

    The British person drinks water:
    monarchy: thats not how you are supposed to play the game

  • Reply O Dasher December 23, 2019 at 10:07 am

    i did it in 2 hours and 30 minutes

  • Reply Latoos Productions December 23, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Im just as smart as Einstein haha (i solved it correctly)

  • Reply InfiShades December 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Ironically I found this one out, although it took a lot of time

  • Reply Fish Biscuit December 24, 2019 at 4:26 am

    Famous fish stolen
    Eh let’s send two blokes over to help.

  • Reply Tsalena December 24, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    It's more like math.

  • Reply Zildjian Melton December 24, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    I managed to solve it! I did the chart and over time, everything came together.

  • Reply Jēkabs Banāns December 26, 2019 at 9:21 am

    There is also a nother way to get that the german is the culpret

  • Reply Dominic Idowu December 26, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    I had to do this riddle in my math class one day..

  • Reply Coppa Don’t do it December 27, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    Solved it.

  • Reply Josefa Wayland December 28, 2019 at 12:38 am


  • Reply Anubis 4444 December 28, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    It took me almost an hour to solve this, but still I'm proud that this is the only riddle I have solved so far. Phewwww

  • Reply Kay Thwe Khin December 29, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Why can’t you just surround the place, then pick a random house and catch the robber while he’s trying to escape?

  • Reply Manosh Biswas December 30, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Did it in 60 minutes. ……….

  • Reply Olivia GuessItIAintTellingYou December 30, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    For those that are struggling a bit: make the graphic they recommend but put the house numbers as rows on the left side of the grid and list all the possible options inside each box bullet-point style instead of leaving them blank. For example, if you have the big tic-tac-toe style grid, you’d label each row 1-5 (top to bottom) and then the house detail subheadings (wall color, cigar, etc.) above each column across the top. Assuming the first box is at the intersection of H1 (House 1) and Wall Color, you’d put in the bullet points for yellow, blue, red, green, and white (the order you list the options doesn’t matter, but I’d keep it the same for the entire column so you don’t accidentally get confused). You’d then fill in the possible options in all the boxes in that column (each box in the animal column would list each animal, each box in the cigar column would list each cigar, etc.). This way, if you get what I call a “negative” clue say, the first house ISN’T green) then you can just cross off the green option. However, if you happen to get what I call a “positive” clue (eg. The first house is Yellow) then you circle that option in that box and cross off yellow from the bullet pointed lists in the other squares in this column. This way the information seems more organized because you don’t have to keep all the “negative” clues in your head. It takes a minute to set up (I’d abbreviate each option to the first letter or two to save space and time), but at least in my opinion this strategy makes solving these puzzles very straightforward and far less difficult. It’s also worth mentioning that I did not come up with this strategy; when I was a kid I used to do these puzzle books called “Perplexors”— basically a bunch of riddles/puzzles in the same style as the one above except they had already set up the table and bullet points and everything for you. That’s what gave me the idea for this (lol I’m not a genius or anything).

    TLDR: Try setting up the grid they give you with the house numbers as the row labels and the categories as the column labels. Then, for each box, fill in the relevant options as bullet points instead of leaving them blank. Cross off incorrect options as you go (I’d also recommend circling the correct option for each box once you find it) and suddenly riddles like this become a lot easier. Hope this helps!

  • Reply Adam O’Brien December 31, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    I did it house no 4 green German prince coffe and at last fish

  • Reply Aeiou January 1, 2020 at 5:08 am

    I actually solved this!! It took me about 25 min

  • Reply Andrea Stytzer January 1, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Timed myself and it took me 20 minutes on a whiteboard.

  • Reply geldersekade January 3, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    I knew the answer starts away!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply that awkward kid January 4, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    At first when starting this had to restart, but I got everything right at the last minute

  • Reply Min Oakkar January 5, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    It took me about an hour to solve this.At first,I was going to give up.But Then I got the right answer.I'm so proud of myself

  • Reply jojo george January 5, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Travel at the speed of light then time travel to the past and wait for the robber and catch him –
    That is what the detective should do according to Albert Einstein

  • Reply Obliviouz Alice January 6, 2020 at 2:21 am

    Holy cow, I did this riddle in school and got it right! (Nope not smart so no bragging here)

  • Reply Dipika Sinha January 6, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    I solved it

  • Reply Perfect_Poop January 10, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Albert Einstein: No, the answer is not the German
    (Team) Albert Einstein: It’s definitely the German.

  • Reply Gamebow Girl January 10, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    Course it's the German!

  • Reply Shy Guy The Great January 11, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    This is real

  • Reply GalaxZ -chan January 12, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    the correct answer:
    guard the fish better

  • Reply Enixma 820 January 13, 2020 at 4:53 am

    Wait why doesn’t the brit drink tea? That’s against the law

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