Answer to Puzzle #58: The Blind Man Who Must Take 1 Red & 1 Blue Pill

58. A blind man is alone on a deserted island. He has two blue pills and two red pills. He must take exactly one red pill and one blue pill or he will die. How does he do it?

Just a Quick Puzzle. Not that that makes it easy, but once you hear the answer you'll get it straight away:

picture of some red and blue pillsBefore reading the answer can I interest you in a clue?

Break each of the pills in half, as you do this pop one half in your mouth and lay the other half aside for tomorrow. When he's done this with all four pills he will have consumed one red pill and one blue pill. And have the same left over.


Practical considerations are the only issue here. Can you break the pills for example? Will they break in half exactly? The set up is sufficiently weird, or rather abstract that I think we are entitled to make these assumptions. You could dissolve all the tablets in water maybe, drink half the glass? The first answer is the generally accepted one, but there is nothing wrong with the dissolving in water answer. It has it's own problems, for example assuming that the pills are water soluble.

If I were asking this and someone gave me the first answer, I'd say that's no good the pills wont snap. The puzzler might come up with the water solution. I'd say he has no drinking water, what else have you got? The puzzler might say well if he's got no drinking water then he's got bigger problems. OK he has drinking water just no glass. I think that is how you would use a puzzle like this to see how someone thinks and not just to see if they've heard it before.

Bard refused to help with this despite me telling it it was only a theoretical puzzle. I'm guessing i tripped some ethical routine about giving medical advice.

If you're curious what Bard made of this puzzle...

If you're curious what ChatGPT made of this puzzle...

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