Problem: Crossing The River Axe


Many years ago, in the days of the smuggler known as "Rob Roy of the West," a piratical band buried on the coast of South Devon a quantity of treasure which was, of course, abandoned by them in the usual inexplicable way. Some time afterwards its whereabouts was discovered by three countrymen, who visited the spot one night and divided the spoil between them, Giles taking treasure to the value of £$800,$ Jasper £$500$ worth, and Timothy £$300$ worth. In return, they had to cross the river Axe at a point where they had left a small boat in readiness. Here, however, was a difficulty they had not anticipated. The boat would only carry two men, or one man and a sack, and they had so little confidence in one another that no person could be left alone on the land or in the boat with more than his share of the spoil, though two persons (being a check on each other) might be left with more than their shares. The puzzle is to show how they got over the river in the fewest possible crossings, taking their treasure with them. No tricks, such as ropes, "flying bridges," currents, swimming, or similar dodges, may be employed.

Solutions: 1

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Project Gutenberg

  1. Dudeney, H. E.: "Amusements in Mathematics", The Authors' Club, 1917

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