P is for…

Person or Persons Unknown

Person or Persons Unknown Final Draft

Front Row:  Mary, Hamish, Hammett, Holmes

Back Row: Edgar, Grimm, “Topper,” The Village Witch, Mr. Moppet, Mrs. Moppet, Victoria Moppet (aka “Lil”), “Sweepsie,” Rue, MacAbre

A Logical Conundrum

Use the Clews below and the picture above to solve The Crime.  Write in with Your Solution, making sure to say how you reached it.

1.  In all, there are 14 Suspects.  Each suspect is Marked with a Query in the picture above.

2.  Look at the picture above.  Make the suspects into 7 groups, where each group has more than 1 suspect, Using the Following Information as a Guide:

     -There are 10 Humans.

      -There are 4 Animals.

     -No human is in a group with an animal.

     -Every group is made of adjacent figures.  For this purpose, view the picture as a flat object, not a scene in perspective.

  -No one in the back row is in a group with anyone in the front row, and vice versa.

     -Many of the groups can be inferred intuitively.

     -No Ladies (or, rather, Females) are in a group together.

    -Gender is as it appears to be in the picture.

    -There are, in total, 6 Females in the picture.  Neither of the birds is a female bird.

3.  The significance of the groups: members of a group alibi each other.  One person is lying.

4.  “This was a woman’s crime!”  Said Constable Flotsam.  He is basically correct.  “Yes, but more than one female must have been involved!”  Cried Lady E.  She is, of course, totally correct.

5.  None of the murderers is in a group with any other murderer.  There is, therefore, a maximum of one murderer per group. 

6.  5 of the groups have no murderer at all.

7.  Mr. and Mrs. Moppet are in a group together.  They were also together at the time of the murder.  They are always together.  They are the embodiment of Domestic Bliss.  It is, the village thinks, rather tiresome of them.

8.  Here is a list of all of the groups:

    1.  The only all-male group

    2.  Mr. and Mrs. Moppet

    3.  A group with the liar and one of the murderers

    4.  Mary and Hamish- they say that they were canoodling at the time of the crime.  This seems all too likely.

    5.  A group with a visually apparent age disparity

    6.  A group containing someone who is properly called a “B***h”

     7.  Rue’s group

9.  There are two groups with a visually apparent age disparity in its membership- that is, at least one member of the group is vastly older or younger than the other member or members.

10.  Animals are not liars, for these purposes.  They are also lousy alibis.  Their testimony is not usually well-received in court.

11.  Here is another complete list of the groups:

    1.  A group with a visually apparent age disparity

    2.  Mr. and Mrs. Moppet

    3.  “Lil” Moppet and “Sweepsie” (“I were drawin’ pictures on th’ walk for the lil lady wi’ a bit o’ chalk” “They were ever so smashing, mama!”).  Neither of these people committed the crime!  How you could even think it of them, I’m sure I don’t know!

   4.  Edgar’s group

   5.  A group with a Man and a Woman

   6.  Holmes’ group

   7.  The group with a murderer but not a liar.

Can you name the murderers?   


Notes:  hmm… this sounds suspiciously like a case I am tangentially involved in, the Murder at the Zoological Gardens… and there is my name, mentioned in a Clew!!!  I wonder if this isn’t so much a “puzzle” as a new trick of the Yard’s: ask the public to solve the case for you, under the guise of a game.  Clever, indeed!  Indeed, I predict that this method of “Crowd-Sourcing” (to coin a phrase) might, in time, become rather Big.


A Note from Melanie Atherton Allen:  I’ve always wanted to write a Logic Problem.  I think I now have.  This is, however, my first serious attempt at the form.  If, therefore, you can’t solve it, that could totally be my fault.  I will say, however, that I believe this is solvable, and I encourage you to try!  I really, really hope it is a) solvable and b) not too obvious.  Tell me what you think!  I will post a link to my solution anon- probably tomorrow!  Thanks for playing!



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  1. I’m guessing Rue and the Village Witch?

  2. Melanie Atherton Allen

    Yes!!!! You are correct!!!
    Was it easy? Hard?
    Have you ever done a logic problem puzzle before?
    I love logic problems, but this is the first one I’ve written, so I am curious to know how it was to solve.
    THANK YOU LORI for taking the time to solve it!!
    I am kind of ecstatic.

    • Yes, I’ve done logic problems before. I like them if they’re not way too complicated. I can’t imagine trying to write one. Bravo! This one was neither hard nor easy. The first set of groups, #8, confused me for a little bit because it seemed like it had 6 descriptions for people and only one for animals, but then it finally dawned on me what the other animal description was and I had one of those “Duh” moments. It was fun! Great post!

  3. Melanie Atherton Allen

    Yay! Thanks Lori!!

  4. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as
    with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you
    customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to
    see a nice blog like this one these days.

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