Marilyn is outsmarted by the native men and women

Marilyn is Wrong Copyright © 1997-1998 Herb Weiner. All rights reserved.

Ask Marilyn ® by Marilyn vos Savant is a column in Parade Magazine, published by PARADE, 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA. According to Parade, Marilyn vos Savant is listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame" for "Highest IQ."

In her Parade Magazine column of August 10, 1997, Marilyn attempts to solve a riddle in which men always tell the truth and women always lie. Although she realizes that the "natives love to confound naïve explorers who ask silly questions," she does not realize although men are obligated to tell the truth, they are inclined to evade silly questions by supplying a truthful, yet misleading answer.

Sorry, Marilyn

I thought I heard the first person whisper "Some of us are men, and some of us are women." So the second person's first statement was false -- which means the second person is a woman. And because the second person is a woman, her second statement must be false too -- which means the first person is a man. Also, because the second person is a woman, the third person's first statement is true -- which means the third person is a man. Although the first person (a man) is obligated to tell the truth, he has no obligation to answer the explorer's question.

Thanks to Charlie Kluepfel <> for pointing out that the only information we can determine from the problem is that the second person is of the opposite gender from the first and third person. last updated June 30, 1998 by