The warden meets with 23 new prisoners when they arrive. He tells them, "You may meet today and plan a strategy. But after today, you will be in isolated cells and will have no communication with one another.
"In the prison is a switch room, which contains two light switches labeled 1 and 2, each of which can be in either up or the down position. I am not telling you their present positions. The switches are not connected to anything.
"After today, from time to time whenever I feel so inclined, I will select one prisoner at random and escort him to the switch room. This prisoner will select one of the two switches and reverse its position. He must flip one switch when he visits the switch room, and may only flip one of the switches. Then he'll be led back to his cell.
"No one else will be allowed to alter the switches until I lead the next prisoner into the switch room. I'm going to choose prisoners at random. I may choose the same guy three times in a row, or I may jump around and come back. I will not touch the switches, if I wanted you dead you would already be dead.
"Given enough time, everyone will eventually visit the switch room the same number of times as everyone else. At any time, anyone may declare to me, 'We have all visited the switch room.'
"If it is true, then you will all be set free. If it is false, and somebody has not yet visited the switch room, you will all die horribly. You will be carefully monitored, and any attempt to break any of these rules will result in instant death to all of you"
What is the strategy they come up with so that they can be free?
The great emperor Akbar once ruled India. He was well known for his intelligence. But along with that, he was known for the Nine Gems in his court. One of the nine gems was Birbal, a quick witted and extremely intelligent man. The stories of his wit were widely popular.
Once a king ruling in a distant land heard of Birbal. To check his wit, he sent an invitation and called him to visit his land. Akbar allowed Birbal to go and he took off on the journey.
Upon reaching that kings kingdom, he was welcomed with flowers. He was then escorted to the palace of the king. Upon entering the palace, Birbal found that there were six people sitting in front of him adorning the same robe. They were also lookalike and it was hard to judge who the real king was.
After a couple of minutes, Birbal approached one of them and bowed in front of him greeting him.
That was the real king. How did Birbal know who was the real king ?
Find a 9-digit number, which you will gradually round off starting with units, then tenth, hundred etc., until you get to the last numeral, which you do not round off. The rounding alternates (up, down, up ...). After rounding off 8 times, the final number is 500000000. The original number is commensurable by 6 and 7, all the numbers from 1 to 9 are used, and after rounding four times the sum of the not rounded numerals equals 24.
In the 1920s, people feared that crossword puzzles would contribute to illiteracy.