Mind Trap!

During my vacation last week, I stayed in a rented condo by the beach with my extended family. The owner left a few games there for tenants and one of them was Mindtrap . I told my family, "Hey this sounds just like what testers do when we get together, hang out and challenge each other with these types of puzzles!"

I got some puzzled looks for that comment but we enjoyed playing the game and I found another tool to stretch my mind a little while having fun. I know I can't be the first tester to discover this game, but I want to make others aware who have never played it. Basically, it is a box of cards where each card has a word puzzle to figure out. Players can be divided into teams, and take turns reading and solving the puzzles. The solving team gets to ask yes or no questions about the puzzle until they get the answer or give up. Some are pretty obvious but others are fairly difficult. Here's an example from the cover of the box:

"During a baseball game, a pitcher faced 27 batters and struck out every one he faced, yet his team lost the game by 4 runs. How can this be possible?"

Attach a comment if you think you know the answer.


He wasn't the only pitcher that game, could have relieved another pitcher in the first who gave up 4 runs and his team failed to score any during the game.

I can think of two ways:

1. The other side also pitched a shut out. After nine innings, the score was tied. Going into extra innings, the perfect pitcher was replaced, and the other team scored 4 runs in that inning to win the game.

2. Another way it could happen is that the catcher drops or misses the ball during a strikeout, which allows the runner to get on base. I think that still may technically be scored as a strikeout for the pitcher, but it is not an out, and another hitter comes to the plate. In that way, the pitcher may face 27 hitters, and strike them all out, and yet there could still be more opportunity for hitters to come to the plate during that game.

In addition to my other answer, I have some more premise challenging ideas:

3. The pitcher is pitching in a computer game, and the game has a bug in it that credits runs at random to the other team.

4. The game was between a team of adults and a team of children. The adults spotted the children four runs at the start of the game. But it turns out the adults were really bad at offense, and didn't score during the game.

5. The problem statement does not say that the pitcher was pitching in the *same* game as referred to in the first phrase. Hence, the pitcher may have been playing a baseball video game in the bullpen, and perhaps faced and struck out 27 or more hitters in that game, during the period that his team was playing a physical game on the field.

6. The other team cheated by crediting themselves with four runs right at the start of the game. The first team didn't notice this because they were from the Piraha tribe of the Amazon-- who are famous for not being able to count.

7. The word "this" is ambiguous. How do we know it refers to the previous sentence? Perhaps that sentence means "How can the word 'this' be possible"? Or if it does refer to the previous sentence, how do we know what about that sentence is being signified? Perhaps "this" refers to the physics of baseball, in which case the answer would be that Higgs field collapsed moments after the Big Bang, which gave matter "mass" and "inertia" and therefore billions of years later allowed baseball to be invented.

8. Perhaps the first sentence is not true. As an untrue statement, it is certainly possible.

9. Maybe this event happened in an unspecified future reality where all baseball games are now 10 innings long.

Okay, that's enough possibilities to demonstrate that I'm a tester.

Who's on first ?

Well, the "official" answer from the game is Chris's relief pitcher scenario, but as James proved, these puzzles are so great for testers because they can get you thinking outside what appear to be the rules of your context.

And What's on second, from What I've heard.

The statement said: a pitcher. It didn't say the pitcher.

I like the name of the game.

Imagine a tester's game with categories suitable to IT. Might make for interesting training of new testers.