Quantum CyberTeaser: May/June 1997


Family planning. A family of four (father, mother, son, and daughter) went on a hike. They walked all day long and, when evening was already drawing on, came to an old bridge over a deep gully. It was very dark and they had only one lantern with them. The bridge was so narrow and shaky that it could hold no more than two persons at a time. Suppose it takes the son 1 minute to cross the bridge, the daughter 3 minutes, the father 8 minutes, and the mother 10 minutes. Can the entire family cross the bridge in 20 minutes? If so, how? (When any two persons cross the bridge, their speed is equal to that of the slower one. Also, the lantern must be used while crossing the bridge.)