A Riddle for an INTJ

Once upon a time, I was a seventeen-year-old, bored out of my mind, even in my college-level classes. This boredom morphed into a sort of cosmic angst, anger at the fact that I was sitting in a classroom memorizing facts when I could be problem-solving somewhere else.

My sister tells me I looked like Sherlock pounding around the living room asking for a case.

Boredom is a very dangerous thing in immature INTJs because we’ll do pretty much anything to stop being bored (so long as it doesn’t violate our principles).

In 2014, @Ockham’s Chainsaw linked me to a post they’d written on the topic of intelligence, mentioning that NT types are often reluctant to say, “I can’t do it,” or “I don’t know,” when taking a test because they have firm confidence in their ability to figure the problem out, even if they don’t know the answer.

The following piece of writing consists of the notes I recorded while solving the Einstein Riddle to stop being bored when I was in high school, and it’s a perfect example of Ockham’s idea.

Actually, it is easy. You just have to believe it. The problem with the 98% of people who can’t solve this riddle is that they lack the patience and the solid logic necessary to tell themselves that they can do it. As it turns out, I fall into the 2% that can effectively solve this riddle without googling instructions (since that’s no fun for an INTJ).

Come on, people. If you think you can’t do it, you’ve been watching too much telly.

I started with what I knew for sure.

  • House 1 = Norwegian
  • House 2 = blue (because the house next to the Norwegian is blue)
  • house 3 = Brit/red (because the middle house drinks milk –> green and white have to be next to each other and green drinks coffee, so it couldn’t be them)
  • House 4 = green (because green is on the left of white)
  • House 5 = white

Next, using a graph, I decided to slowly decipher various details about each:

  • House 1 = yellow (since I knew all the other colours) –> The yellow house owner smokes Dunhill
  • House 2 owns a horse (because the horse lives next to Dunhill)

Next, I made a graph of what I knew (in order of houses):

COLOUR Yellow Blue Red Green White
Pet Horse
Cigar Dunhill
Drink Milk Coffee
Nationality Norwegen Brit

I knew then that the water drinker could only belong at the yellow house because:

  1. Yellow doesn’t drink beer (beer is paired with Bluemaster and we know that yellow smokes Dunhill)
  2. He doesn’t drink tea (because the Dane drinks tea, not the Norwegian)
  3. The only option left was water

From this, I determined that the Blue house-owner smokes Blend (because Blend is neighbors with water).

Next, I looked specifically at one clue: the owner who drinks beer smokes Bluemaster

  1. Blue doesn’t drink beer because he smokes Blend
  2. Green drinks coffee and red drinks milk, so neither smoke Bluemaster
  3. Therefore, White drinks beer and smokes blue master
COLOUR Yellow Blue Red Green White
Pet Horse
Cigar Dunhill Blend Bluemaster
Drink Water Milk Coffee Beer
Nationality Norwegen Brit

Well, there was one obvious hole there…looks like blue drinks tea and is a Dane….

I deduce that the German lives in the green house because:

  • he can’t live in the blue house because he smokes Prince, not Blend
  • he doesn’t smoke Bluemaster, so he doesn’t live in the white house

Red must be the bird owner, because the bird owner smokes Paul Mall and all the other cigars are taken

Yellow owns the cat because blend has a neighbor who owns a cat (and we’ve now determined that it’s not red because red owns the bird)

COLOUR Yellow Blue Red Green White
Pet Cat horse Bird
Cigar Dunhill Blend Paul Mall Prince Bluemaster
Drink Water Milk Coffee Beer
Nationality Norwegen Brit German

We can easily see from looking at the graph that the only place left for our tea-drinking Dane is Blue.

That leaves white to be the dog-owning Swede and the green to own the fish.

COLOUR Yellow Blue Red Green White
Pet Cat Horse Bird Fish Dog
Cigar Dunhill Blend Paul mall Prince Bluemaster
Drink Water Tea Milk Coffee Beer
Nationality Norwegien Dane Brit German Swede

The German owns the fish!

3 thoughts on “A Riddle for an INTJ

  1. This reminds me of a game we used to play as kids, Logic Street, involving processes and clues similar to this but much more basic. It wasn’t the first thing I was drawn to as a 9 year old INFP but it helped to build that Te logic once I’d got over how boring it seemed to my Fi Ne brain.

    Do INTJs tend to get depressed if they don’t have the stimulation of problem-solving? What I don’t understand is how INTJs go out of their way to solve problems, wouldn’t your Te serve your Ni? Maybe that’s not how it works in situations of severe boredom. Is it ok to ask questions like this in the comments? I hope the answer to this wouldn’t require a whole post’s worth, for convenience and gratification ;)
    May you have an extra spoon.

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    • Questions are 1000% welcome in the comments.
      Dominant and auxiliary Ni tends to fixate on strategy and future outcomes, which directly results in us looking for and trying to configure solutions to problems that may impact said outcome. Te then rubs it’s hands together and pushes out whatever action is necessary to solve the problem. I even tend to do this in my approach to other people’s emotions. I tend rather than trying to talk to people about their distress, to just jump in and eliminate what’s causing the problem, whether that’s fixing their computer or putting out a literal fire. It’s a habit that I’m trying to break.
      When it comes to boredom—yes, for a right lot of us (not all), we can get depressed without some kind of problem solving. It can also trigger anxiety, a sense of restlessness and unfulfillment. However, it’s not actually that hard for to create our own stimulation. Because of that Ni obsession with problem identification, we can usually find something to improve or make better anywhere that we are.

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