Minus' Solution to

The Fantastic Farmyard
Posted March 24 - 30, 1997

There must have been one horse to begin with, in whatever scenario, since the animals can't change into horses.

The horse ate either one or zero apples.

If he ate one, that would leave two apples. The chicken could have eaten an apple, turned into a goat, eaten another apple, and turned back into a chicken. The other chicken might have eaten nothing. So there could have been two chickens and a horse to start with.

Here's another scenario if the horse ate one apple: There could have been two goats also, each of which ate one apple, and turned into chickens, so that there was originally two goats and a horse.

Alternatively, the horse could have eaten no apples. The goat could have eaten one apple to turn into a chicken. The chicken (the original chicken) could have eaten one apple to turn into a goat, and then eaten another apple to turn back into a chicken. That would mean there was originally a goat, a chicken, and a horse.

There could also have been two horses.
If there was also a goat, then the goat could have eaten one apple to become a chicken, and each of the horses could have eaten one apple each (and remained horses.) There would have originally have been two horses and a goat.

Another scenario is there was two horses:
There could have been two horses and a chicken originally. One horse could have eaten one apple. The chicken could have eaten one apple to turn into a goat, and then eaten another apple to turn back into a chicken.

The five different scenarios are:
2 horses, 1 chicken
2 horses, 1 goat
1 goat, 1 chicken, 1 horse
2 goats, 1 horse
2 chickens, 1 horse

Your Solutions

Mr. T and his Little Einsteins cooked up this hot-as-Texas-chili dish for Minus. It wasn't easy for our old mascot to swallow, but he managed to wash it down with a few gulps of water. BTW: Mr. T, can you turn off your CAPS LOCK key?

Our basic options were:

We debated on whether or not to treat, in HHC for example, the two horses as two unique animals, or look at them as interchangable. We finally determined that it would be much more thorough and exhaustive if we treated each animal as a separate entity. Therefore, creating a complete list of possibilities.

The next thing we did was eliminate the combinations that could not produce the desired result. We quickly realized that to end up with a horse, you had to begin with one. Therefore, any combination without a horse in it could not work. That left us with 6 combinations:

HHH was then eliminated because it would take 2 apples to change each horse into the desired chicken, and we don't have 4 apples.

We then modified each of our combinations to reflect the uniqueness of its members, making our list:

Beginning with H1H2C, H1 could eat 2 making it a chicken, H2 could eat 1 leaving it a horse and C not eating. We then would exchange H1 & H2 and repeat the process.

H1H2G also works in two ways. First, let H1 eat 2 apples, H2 doesn't eat, and G eats one apple and changes into a chicken. Then swap H1 and H2 and repeat.

HG1G2 follows suit. We first let H eat 1 apple, with G1 & G2 also eating an apple a piece, changing them into chickens. No need to exchange places here since both G1 & G2 did the same thing.

HC1C2 is a little trickier. Method 1 has H eating 1, C1 eating 1 to change him into a goat and then the goat eating 1 to change himself back into a chicken. Meanwhile, C2 goes hungry. Mix & match C1 and C2 and repeat.

Last, but certainly not least, HCG can be done in two totally unique ways. First G eats a red delicious and then another and then another. Thus, transforming him from G to C to G to C. H & C skip supper. Finally, G eats 1, C eats 2 and H, well...his stomach is growling so loud you can hear it plum out yonder in the mesquite bushes!

So to conclude, there are 5 basic initial configurations that can evolve into our desired foray, with a total of 9 ways to get there.

JFreak [JFreak30@aol.com] came up with this straight-forward solution. He, or she, (we can never assume!) left out one scenario, but Minus felt that JFreak deserved credit for being so direct.

Otay here's the deal Sparky, ya gotta be a straight shooter, and you can shoot either:

2 Goats and a horse(duh!)
2 Chickens(One gets some corn nuts and a Pepsi and the other eats one turning him into a goat, and he munches another returning him to a main course) and a horse (Keeping him for a stead)
2 horses(One eats 2, one eats 1) and a Chicken
2 horses(One eats 2, the other decides to diet) and a goat

Thanks for that full-filling meal!
We've got to get Minus to start
using his Health-Rider.