“Who owns the fish?”-Einstein’s riddle- [Solution]

In the previous post, I asked you one of the difficult Einstein’s riddle. It is claimed that 98% has failed to solve this.

However, it is not impossible if you use logic and deduction. A basic level of patience will also help to think it through.

Taking stock of the situation

Before we try to solve this problem, we need to know what we have.

From the question and hints we know:

There are 5 different nationalities of owner:

  1. Brit
  2. Dane
  3. Swede
  4. Norwegian
  5. German

There are 5 colors of the house:

  1. red
  2. white
  3. green
  4. yellow
  5. blue

There are 5 pets:

  1. birds
  2. horses
  3. cats
  4. dogs
  5. fish

There are 5 brands of cigars:

  1. Pall Mall
  2. Dunhill
  3. Blends
  4. Prince
  5. BlueMaster

There are 5 varieties of beverages they drink:

  1. tea
  2. coffee
  3. water
  4. beer
  5. milk



Now arrange them like in the following matrix. I assume here that the house is in a single row and they are in the direction from the left to the right. For each house, we have a row for color, owner (owner depicts the nationality of the owner), pet, beverage, and cigar.

Riddle matrix

Logically deducing from the hints:

Let us start with the most obvious hint.

No. 8 – “the man living in the center house drinks milk”

No. 9 – “the Norwegian lives in the first house”; and

No. 14 – “the Norwegian lives next to the blue house”

Our arrangements look like this:

Einstein riddle- solution step 1

From the hint no. 1 we know, “the Brit lives in the red house”. So, he can’t be in the house no. 1 or 2. He could be in the house no 3, 4 or 5.

From the hint no. 4 we also know, “the green house is on the left of the white house”.

Because house no. 2 is colored blue, the green house can’t be the house no. 1. It could be the house no. 3 or 4.

We know from the hint no. 5, “the green house’s owner drinks coffee”. But, the owner of the house no. 3 drinks milk. The green house can only be House no. 4 . Therefore, the House no. 5 is white.

Consequently, Brit lives in the house no. 3.

We have houses for Blue, Red, Green and White. The only color left is yellow, which is now the color of house no. 1 and the owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill (hint no. 7)

Einstein riddle- Step 2

Going further we have hint no. 11 – “the man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill”. So the horse owner lives in the blue house.

Hint no. 12 says “the owner who smokes BlueMaster drinks beer.” 

Because red house and the green house already have their beverage and the yellow house can’t have the beer because it already has a different cigar. The only possibilities left are 2 or 5.

Again House no. 1 can’t have tea (hint no. 3: “the Dane drinks tea”) or beer, so it must have water. 

By hint no. 15: “the man who smokes blend has a neighbor who drinks water”, i.e. House no. 2.

Recall hint no. 10: “the man who smokes blends lives next to the one who has cats”.

So, cats live in the house no. 1 or 3.

Here is what our solution look like:

Einstein riddle-step 3

From the hint no. 12: the owner who smokes BlueMaster drinks beer, we find that only possibility is House no. 5, because of the house no. 2 already has a cigar brand. 

Only left beverage is tea which makes Dane owner of the house no. 2.

Which also makes Swede the owner of house no. 5 who keeps dogs.

Let us see where we are till now.

Einstein riddle-step 4

Henceforth the House No. 4 belongs to German.

Going further, hint no. 13 says the German smokes Prince. 

So only left cigar brand Pall Mall is owned by Brit of House no. 3.

But the hint no. 6 says the person who smokes Pall Mall keeps birds, which means Brit keeps birds and Norwegian keeps cats. 

Thus, the German owns the fish.

Here is the final solution matrix:

Einstein riddle - final step

Source: Einstein’s riddle

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