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The Riddle's Daunting Dance

A funny little story with a difficult riddle to challenge your mind. Can you crack the code and save the world from Joe's evil plans?

By Jesse BridgesPublished 8 months ago Updated 8 months ago 5 min read

You have skillfully infiltrated the top-secret Bat cave to put an end to the evil plans of Joe Rogan, a twisted individual, passionately driven to unleash upon the airwaves, an inescapable tune that inexplicably gets lodged in the minds of every man, woman and child. No one wants it stuck in their heads but, human kind has not evolved enough to defeat its powers, the song by the one and only Spice Girls. It is called “Wanna Be”.

His devilish plan is to play the song in loop across all wave bands. From radio, television, cell phones and walkie talkies, no ears will be spared. Mr. Rogan has already set his plan into motion. Now you have to find out what the code is before it is too late.


You need the same two numbers that the mastermind Joe Rogan used to authorize the launch, but one false move will result in you being locked out, and we will all be doomed! Remaining incognito in the shadows, you tune in on the mad man Rogan giving away some vital information.

The big boss, ever mistrustful of his two minion Oompa Loompas, only gave one launch code to Bo and the other to Jackson, forbidding them from sharing the numbers with one another. When the order came, each entered their assigned number and initiated the countdown. That was 50 minutes ago, and with only 10 minutes left before the world is all singing in tune with Scary spice and the gang, the Big Bad Boss Joe Rogan reveals this surprising truth:

"Your launch codes were actually related. I chose a set of distinct positive integers with at least two elements, each less than 7, and told their sum to you, Bo, and their product to you, Jackson." Following an awkward silence, the Oompa Loompa’s finally gather their thoughts and Bo says, "I do not know if you are aware of my number." Oompa Loompa Jackson reflects for a moment before responding, "I know your number, and now I know you know my number as well." Time is running out.

What numbers must you enter to override the launch?

You might want to grab a piece of scratch paper and take a moment to ponder this.

A long moment……

The key is to place yourself in the minds of both characters, and narrow down the possibilities based on what they know or don't know. Let us begin with Bo's initial statement. It implies that Jackson may possess information that could reveal Bo's number, but is not necessarily certain. This may seem insufficient, yet it leads us to a significant conclusion.

The only scenarios where Jackson could know Bo's number are when there is only one valid way to factor Jackson's number.

After factoring a few numbers, a pattern emerges - the number could either be prime (the product of 1 and itself), or it could be the product of 1 and the square of a prime, such as 4. In both cases, there is only one sum.

For instance, with a number like 8, factoring it into 2 and 4, or 1, 2, and 4, produces too many options. Since the boss's numbers must be less than 7, Bo's list of Jackson's possibilities is limited to four numbers.

Still with me?

Ok, good then lets continue.

This is where a significant clue is revealed. For Jackson to possess these numbers, Bo's number must be a sum of their factors - 3, 4, 5, or 6.

We can dismiss 3 and 4 because if the sum was either, the product could only be 2 or 3, in which case Bo would know that Jackson already knows his number, contradicting Bo's statement.

5 and 6, however, are in play since they can become sums in multiple ways. This is one of the most challenging aspects of this puzzle - the need to consider multiple steps going from sums to products and back to sums.

Nevertheless, we know that Bo held either 5 or 6 when he made his initial statement. Both characters possess knowledge about the sum, but only Jackson knows the product.

We are half way there, are you keeping up?


Next we shall now examine the first part of Jackson's statement.

If Bo's number was 5, it could be from 1 + 4 or 2 + 3, resulting in Jackson having either 4 or 6.

4 would inform Jackson of Bo's number, as there is only one option to produce the product: 4 times 1.

However, 6 could be broken down in three ways, which sum up differently.

7 is not on Jackson's list of possible sums, but 5 and 6 are.

Consequently, Jackson would not know whether Bo's number was 5 or 6, and this option contradicts his statement.

This is excellent - 5 and 4 could be the override code, but how can we be certain?

Suppose Bo's number was 6, which could be 1 + 5, 2 + 4, or 1 + 2 + 3, giving Jackson 5, 8, or 6, respectively.

If Jackson had 5, She would know that Bo had 6.

If he had 8, the possibilities for Bo would be 2 + 4 and 1 + 2 + 4.

Only 6 is on the list of possible sums, so Jackson would, once again, know that Bo had 6.

In summary, if Bo had 6, he would still not know if Jackson had 5 or 8.

This contradicts the second half of Jackson's statement, and thus 5 and 4 must be the correct codes.

So, with just moments to spare, you execute a swift override and halt Joe Rogan's wicked plot to flood our precious airwaves with indefinite playtime of the infamous "Wannabe."

The ever-faithful Oompa Loompas surround him and with their classic tune begin a mischievous rendition of "Oops!... I Did It Again" by Britney Spears. Joe collapses to his knees, unleashing a heart-wrenching howl of anguish, "No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!"

With a sense of satisfaction, you gaze over your shoulder while mounting Falco, the beloved creature from “The Never-Ending Story.” Your mission has been accomplished.

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About the Creator

Jesse Bridges

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  • Kathy Newby Porter8 months ago

    I’m not smart enough!!

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