Pill-popping panic - a good brain teaser

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My solution: Take a second “A” pill out of the bottle.

Cut all four pills in half, and take one half of each pill. Tomorrow, take the other half of each pill.

Now, to check that against the actual solution.


Only two medications a day? Amateur!


You know when you got the prescription, and you know how many pills each bottle started with.
Counting the remaining pills in each bottle seems pretty easy…


How does “Count the number of remaining pills” not rise as the immediate solution? And, while we’re at it, can we talk about the lack of logic in some logic puzzles? More than one B pill is fatal? And A and B are indistinguishable?

Legal has not had a look at any of these policies because someone is literally asking to be sued.


This doesn’t do anything. You know which bottles are which, but not which pills (that you’ve removed) are which. You have 3 pills, one A, and 2 Bs, and need to take one A and one B total.


But you need to take one of each per day. Why wouldn’t you get N of each and not have to make two trips for the same problem?

I’m not understanding this question.

Your original solution of “count the remaining number of pills” doesn’t give any more information. We know which bottle is A and which is B (and that’s required for the real solution). We know we have one A, and two B in our hands. The question is just “Given that, how do we take only one A and one B today, and not overdose on anything and throw away as few pills as possible”.

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You have 3 identical pills in the same hand. You know one is from bottle A but not which one. You know two are from bottle B but not which two. You lost track as they fell into your hand.

That’s the set up.

What I’d actually do is be a fuckload more careful when dealing with a drug I have to take one of if two pills is fatal. Or say fuck it and take my chances of going B free for a couple of days.


How expensive can the pills be (or how cheap is the hypothetical pill-popper) that they would risk death rather than throw out the pills and start again. Or be more careful like @daneel says!

My advice… never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

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There were eighty-seven Advil in the bottle now there’s thirty left I ate forty-seven so what happened to the other ten? Why do you suspiciously change the subject and break my concentration As I dump the bottle out and I count the Advil up again?

“Till My Head Falls Off” - TMBG

It is not a complete solution, but it will at least tell you if you have two A’s or two B’s.

But you already know that in the original set up. You saw two B’s fall out but don’t know which two are B’s.

Man, that’s one scary medication setup. I’d complain to the pharmacist.

OMG, I completely missed that bit somehow, I so failed it - clearly I need some caffeine pills! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m just going off to this corner here, out of the way, quietly.

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The solution seems very obvious, but the way it’s described on FC is seriously risky. If you add another A pill to your hand and then cut them all in half, you’ll end up with eight indistinguishable halves, and you’ll be screwed. Better to swallow half of each pill as soon as you cut it, before you cut the next one. Which probably just shows how preposterous the whole setup is for this puzzle.

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That’s what I was thinking. If you cut them all in half, but don’t keep track of which half is the “top half” of each pill, you’re just as screwed except now you have an extra A in the mix as well.

My solution was: cut each pill into thirds and eat one third of each set to get 1/3 of A and 2/3 of B. Then take extra pills from bottles and cut them to fill the dose, repeat for three days.
The “correct” solution is much more simpler but it’s fun to sometimes find alternate answer.

Well, then you could grind them up, divide the powder exactly in half, and take half each day. Assuming they’re not specially coated, or have microcapsules in them, or something.