Petals Around The Rose

A fascinating game ( actually it's more of a puzzle or a brain teaser).

The name of the game is Petals Around the Rose, and that name is significant. Newcomers to the game can be told that much. They can also be told that every answer is zero or an even number. They can also be told the answer for every throw of the dice that are used in the game. And that's all the information they get :D

The person who has the dice and knows the game, rolls five dice and remarks almost instantly on the answer. For example: in Roll #1 the answer is two.

	Roll #1: 4 1 6 3 6
	: Answer is 2

Roll #2: 5 6 5 4 4 : Answer is 8

Roll #3: 3 5 5 5 6 : Answer is 14
The answer doesn't depend on previous rolls; for any given roll resulting in the same numbers showing on the dice, the answer is the same each time.

The three example rolls presented above don't provide enough information for most people to solve the puzzle. See for more examples. Or try where you can play the game, read about about how Bill Gates went when he was introduced to this challenge, or join the Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose.

A remark on the above site that "the smarter you were, the longer it took to figure it out" gave it away for me straight away. -- vk

And in turn, your remark here did the same for me. -- AT

Well, when the answer's in the name, doesn't take but a second to see the solution.

	Maybe this is a spoiler, after reading it I had the solution... MauroPanigada

Same here. I started out frustrated that I couldn't figure it out from this page. But I can't figure out how to improve this page without giving it away. Spoiler indeed! -- dm

Another "me, too". That page was a lock... between the hints above, and that page, it took me 5 throws until I saw the "pattern". Given an "in person" version as described, I probably would have been scratching my head for a while. -- TimLesher

Given the hint below, I came up with an almost-correct answer, which I quickly refined after going to the interactive page. I can see how it could take a year of stewing over to figure out, though. -- GeorgePaci

I did not read the hint below but I supposed I found an answer. Reading the hint was a confirmation for my theory. Great game -- GabrieleRenzi

I suspect a graph of how long it takes would have a double hump; as with editing tech_docs, once you miss something it's not likely to "pop-up" and so it's likely to take some sort of brute strength approach. My first try (at another site, a pretty Java applet) was a failure ... and I couldn't convince myself this was proof of my genius. -- BenTremblay

I started out frustrated that I couldn't figure it out from this page

Right, but a single throw of the (simulated) dice and the answer jumped out at me. There is a great deal of cognitive noise in the presentation of the problem above. What exactly did the poser of the problem as stated above think was the problem that they were inviting people to solve, I wonder?

It used to be that, in England and Wales, public (that is, publicly funded) secondary education was in two tiers: Secondary Modern and Grammar School. To get into the more academically focussed Grammar a child had to score highly on a test called the 11-plus.

Post WWII this system fell into disrepute and was disbanded (although some Grammar schools still exist, and selection is being reintroduced more widely). My school was a Grammar that became a non-selective "Comprehensive" by absorbing the local Secondary Modern a few years before I went there. One of the ex-Grammar teachers told us stories about exactly how degenerate the 11-plus became towards the end of its widespread use. For example, what is the next term in this number series:

1/4 1/2 1 3 ...

answer to follow after a few days (today is 10 June 04)

and today is 12 april 05

I assume no one tried to answer the sequence because there are too many reasonable answers -- yet he's clearly saying that if we answer wrong, we're degenerates! :-). Not degenerates; just doomed to mop floors for a living. (Or become President...)

No, if you get it right, you're degenerate. The answer that the examiners were looking for, by the way, was 6.

I thought it took three such digits to completely degenerate. :-)


The Hitchiker's Guide to the Number of the Beast??

[Spoiler moved to PetalsAroundTheRoseSpoiler]

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