The Potions Riddle Solution

Hope you enjoyed yourself. From recent experience I’ve learned there might be some doubt as to whether the riddle works or not, so I thought, instead of simply telling you the answer I’d step it out. Let’s break the riddle down and work it through.

‘Seven tiny bottles, each a liquid holds

One is sweet as candy, while two taste foul & old

Three will make you wonder why you agreed to play this game

As you die a gruesome death those around will know your shame

The drink you seek is hidden amongst the sweet friend and the foes’

Jotting down the descriptions of the seven bottles, we end up with one each of ‘sweet’ and ‘the drink you seek’, two ‘foul & old’ and three poisons. Let’s label them A, B, C & D. So five bad liquids and two good liquids. Of the two good liquids, one is potentially a sugar hit to get you back in the game, and one means you win.

‘But don’t be fooled by colour or the shapes in which they’re stowed’

There are three basic shapes. Four tall, two small and one fat. But we already know from the line above we can that and the colour of the liquids giving us any indication as to what’s stoppered inside. Now let’s draw out the total options we have for each of our seven bottles.  Each bottle could contain, at this point, any of the four options – A, B, C or D.

‘Nothing sweet stands on either ends of the row’

Easy peasy. The sweet liquid is A. Cross A off for the first and last bottom.

‘Nothing foul & old in the bottle uniquely blown’

Only unique bottle is the fat one, and the foul & old liquid is represented as B.

‘No two tall and no two small hold the same inside

You better do some thinking if you want to win the prize’

Now we’re getting to it. As the rhyme says, let’s put our thinking caps on. The first thing the above tells us is one of every type of liquid is in each of the four tall bottles. More telling, by extension that means liquids A and D – of which there’s only one of each – must be in the tall bottles and therefore can’t be in the two small bottles or the fat bottle. Crossing the A’s and D’s off the small and fat bottles reveals our first identified liquid: The fat bottle contains C, poison.

‘The second and the fifth are filled with much the same’

Another straight forward enough clue. The fifth bottle is poison so the second bottle is likewise filled with C, poison. But our new discoveries don’t stop there. Cross out A, B and D and circle C for the second bottle but let’s keep thinking. If that tall bottle is C we know the other three tall bottles can’t be the same, so cross out that option for them.

‘The first and the third are different but both lame’

This final clue is all we need to solve the puzzle. Focusing on the third bottle we see the only option it can be which fits this description is B, because C is taken by tall bottle number two, and A & B aren’t ‘lame’ options but rather something sweet and the liquid we’re after to win the game. The only lame option left is B. Cross out all the B’s for the remaining two tall bottles. Now if the first bottle is also lame but not B it must be the other ‘lame’ liquid, C, poison. The fourth bottle has also revealed itself at this point because it can’t be the same as the other small bottle (‘No two tall and no two small hold the same inside;) so it must be B, foul & old. This leaves us the following options for the remaining two tall bottles, A or D for the sixth bottle and only D for the seventh. Therefore, the end bottle is D, the drink you seek’ and the sixth bottle is A, sweet.

‘A drop is all you’ll need to know you’ve not much luck with smarts

But then logic isn’t strong among those with magic in their hearts’

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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