Can You Solve the Control Room Riddle?

June 23, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

The control room of a power plant
Photo credit:

This one might take you a minute!

You are a top spy for your country and have been tasked to infiltrate the headquarters of an evil syndicate to deactivate their death ray. However, the surrounding area is under reconnaissance and you only have a limited amount of information about the location of the control panel of the death ray.

The only information you are provided with is the following:

The headquarters is a massive pyramid with a single room at the top level of the pyramid, two rooms on the next level, three on the following and so on.

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The control panel is hidden behind a painting in a room on the highest floor possible that satisfies the following conditions:

Each room has exactly 3 doors to other rooms on that floor

Except the control panel room, which connects to only 1 door

There are no hallways, and you can ignore stairs

Unfortunately you don’t have a floor plan and you will only have enough time to search a single floor before the alarm system reactivates

Can you figure out which floor the control panel is on?

Watch the video and pause a moment to work it out. When you’re done, continue and let Dennis Shasha from TED-Ed explain how to locate the control panel:


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