A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms: the first is full of raging fires; the second, assassins with loaded guns; and the third, lions who haven't eaten in years. Which room is the safest?

My answer is actually room 2! (what?) Think about it. In room 1, you will die from the flames or by dehydration, both which are excruciatingly long and painful Deaths. In room 3, as many have stated, the Lions are most likely dead, but then what? Since it is a death penalty, you're not going to get out alive, even if you survive. Thus you will most likely die from malnutrition (that is, if you try surviving on lion meat alone), dehydration,starvation, food poisoning, etc. You get point. As much as the “right” answer is Room 3, it's a death penalty, so you are supposed to die, one way or another. Thus, Room 2 is the safest option as it involves minimal suffering and a relatively fast death.

[okay, maybe I've watched too much Danganronpa, but I'm sure most people would prefer the fast execution over the gruesome ones from the game]

Edit: This is my answer provided that he has to choose a room. Of course, if he chooses not to choose, there's the possibility that someone else will choose instead of him, most likely the judge or possibly the victims relatives (?maybe?), or if chooses to “take an extremely long time deciding" the decision will most likely be made for him instead (again). It has already been decided that it is a death penalty, so there's no escaping it now. All that there is left to hope for is that the assassins make a clean and quick execution.

Alternatively, the assassins may all have been previous murderers who got sent into that room as well and ‘fake’ an execution in order to save him, but that's not likely…

19 Replies to “A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms: the first is full of raging fires; the second, assassins with loaded guns; and the third, lions who haven't eaten in years. Which room is the safest?”

  1. The assassins because he is one of them and will not kill them unless they have been paid to? Maybe this was his initiation?

    Either way, the room full of people because the condemned murder can at least TRY to reason with people; for they speak a common language: reason.

    Fire cannot listen because its only influence is the laws of nature. Conscience does not affect fire, so nothing that the convicted killer does can stop it.

    Like fire, lions operate on instinct and no moral values can sway their decision making processes. Lion hungry? Lion eat. Lion no go to hell, lion no get bad karma. Lion eat, that is what lion do! (Sorry I couldn't help it)

    Humans do things for reasons

    Assassins aren't just crazy murdering lunatics who kill whomever from whatever fancy happens to tickle them at a given moment. Their function of ending the lives of others depends on economic motivation. The prompt mentions no such economic motivation such as payment or a contract, so the motivation would be a non-issue here. That would make the Assassins just other people who happen to have guns who would not use them unless there were a relevant reason in play.

    Being humans, assassins can reason. If the assassins shoot the murderer, assassins could be charged with an assassination. why could they be charged with an assassination, instead of the fire and the lion? It is because assassins, being human beings, are subject to moral codes or ethical codes, the capacity to reason subject to Marcos or ethical goes the capacity to reason in there for the capacity to be lied to and do believe they live perhaps the murder is related to the assessment or friends of the assassin or would sympathize with the dilemma of the assessment for whatever reason to fire and Lions operate on laws of nature and the only option giving the murder any wiggle room whatsoever is to deal with the assassins because he could lie to them appeal to their emotions could appeal to their reason and lie to them and even make friends to them this is the only option that allows even a chance of survival. Moreover, since the Assassins are assassins and therefore not employed by the government to execute the murderer, they too could be charged with the same crime as the Condemned, so their interests would be in favor of opting not to commit a crime for which they would have to suffer the same consequences.

    So my final answer is that the best thing for the murder to do is to choose the room with assassins with loaded guns.

    By the way, I dictated this with my microphone function so I apologize for any typos or weird capitalizations that I'm just now noticing. But if I do not hit submit now, I never will, so here it goes.

    PS colon when do we get PS: when do we get to find out the answer?

  2. I would definitely choose the lions. I’m pretty sure that lions who haven’t eaten in years would be dead at that point.

    However, if the lions were somehow still alive, I would choose the assassins. Generally, assassins don’t kill anybody unless they are being paid to do it. It is highly unlikely that criminal justice system would pay the required amount to hire assassins, alongside the costs of managing a room filled with fires and keeping lions alive with magical means.

  3. Well, the lions would all be dead and the room with the fires would be very hot. You could probably sense something was horribly wrong in there by touching the door handle. This leaves a very serious problem. Which room contains the dead lions and which one contains the assassins? Of course, in the first room you would die of thirst (not starvation!). In the second room, you’d be killed in seconds if you were lucky. I guess in the dead lion room there is some small chance your sentence would be commuted to life or you would be pardoned. Therefore, I’d hope to get the dead lions.

  4. Whoever has condemned this murderer to death probably wants him dead, right? So he's going to make sure he dies no matter which room he picks.

    Of course, this is a classic and obvious riddle, and the man who condemned him knows that the murderer will probably choose the lions.

    I can see this going one of two ways.

    Maybe they are mechanical lions, experimental technology. Though they had been put together years ago, they only recently have been finished to the point of testing. Now we get to see how well they can mechanically digest organic matter to turn into pure energy.

    He never said flesh and blood lions.

    On the flip side, he'd have arranged the dead, starved lions to be rotting and festering, giving off all kinds of disease. The murder is locked inside, and eventually contracts disease. Given no food or water, the disease accelerates and the man dies slowly and painfully.

    None of the room choices are “safe” per say, except perhaps the one where this information is relayed to the murderer. The best thing to do would be to say “I'm thinking” until he gets the opportunity he needs to escape, if he's able.

  5. I have noticed that many have answered that the assassins room (#2) would be the best option, quick and easy, right?


    I’m trying to imagine if I was a trained assassin & I'm stuck in a room with lots of other assassins…

    That would have to get extremely boring after awhile.. Murderer walks in & is immediately shot dead. 1st shot. (Because that's what assassins do..) So, every single day these assassins are just sitting there waiting for someone who gets the death penalty to pick their room so they can do what they do best, right? And since so many have answered that this is the room they would choose, I’m thinking it would be a popular room… Pretty busy I suppose but there again it's only 1 room & how much skill would that require? So. If you are an assassin with all this special training, you (& probably all your assassin buddies) have gotten so bored & frustrated not being able to fully utilize all your “special assassin skills”, that you as a group have come up with several ways to make this chore fun & exciting once again. So what used to be a quick shot (Boom.. target dead!) has now turned into a game for you & your assassin buddies. The object being maybe… How many shots can this murderer take without dying? Or, maybe they take turns? Each assassin takes 1 shot and the object is NOT to kill the murderer. The assassin whose shot actually kills the murderer, loses!! I'm sure there are plenty of other games these assassins could come up with in order to make killing fun again..

    Hmm.. That's what I would do if I was an assassin stuck in a room with a bunch of other assassins having to kill murderers day in day out… I'd find a way to make it interesting for me & my assassin buddies. And if you look at it like that.. Room #2 would NOT be so quick after all.

  6. This question needs no further answering, so instead I will tell you a joke that is related to the question:

    Three men are traveling in a rainforest and suddenly they are captured by natives. They are dragged before the chief. The chief looks into the eyes of the first man and says, “You have desecrated our sacred lands with your presence. You must be punished. You have choice – death or tubonga.”

    The man starts to ask what tubonga is, but the chief says, “Silence! You have choice, death or tubonga.”

    The man says, “I don’t want to die, so I choose tubonga.”

    Instantly, the chief claps his hands, and from out of the forest come a dozen seven-foot-tall natives who begin to beat the man mercilessly, kicking, punching, hitting him with bats made from the trees. After what seems like an eternity, they stop, leaving the man in a broken heap.

    The other two men wet themselves.

    The chief turns to the second man and says, “You have desecrated our sacred lands. You must be punished. You have choice – death or tubonga.”

    The second man looks at the first man and says, “Tubonga is horrifying, but at least he’s alive. I have a wife and kids, I don’t want to die. I choose tubonga.”

    Again the chief claps his hands, and the dozen seven-foot-tall natives run out , beating the second man into a bloody pulp.

    The chief addresses the third man, “You have choice – death or tubonga.”

    The third man says, looking at the other two bleeding and broken men, “No way am I going through that. If these are the choices, I choose death.”

    The chief looks at the third man. “You have chosen death. It is a noble choice. You shall have death – by tubonga,”

  7. It seems like three bad choices at first. Fire? Smoke inhalation, burns, pain, death. Any way you look at it it's not good. I'd say this is the worst choice of the three. His only hope is to try to delay as long as possible by any means necessary. Depending on how small the room is he might have a chance to last long enough until the fire runs out of oxygen and burns itself out.

    The assassin room doesn't sound much better. Again, assuming an average size room, there isn't any where to hide. Little hope of taking a weapon of a trained assassin and less hope of actually defeating a horde of them singlehandedly. He might think about taking one hostage at that point but what do you think would happen then? The other assassins would get to shoot two people instead of one. They wouldn't care two licks about it. There might be a chance for our criminal if the assassins are just hanging out together and have no incentive to shoot whoever walks in. Or hope that the assassins are of the lone wolf variety and start picking each other off before he comes in. Either way this is the second best option, or second worst as it were.

    But wait a minute. What about the lions? There are few more feared predators in the wild. Just one of these beasts would make short work of any man. Razor sharp claws, fearsome teeth, and vice-like jaws? No thank you. His only saving grace is that they haven't eaten in years. It doesn't matter how many lions are in the room, because they've all died from starvation 🙂

    A room with dead lions is definitely the safest choice.

  8. There is no food in the room with lions. Ok, the lions are dead, but the murderer has no chance to escape, otherwise the lions would have left the place. So no, I would not take the room with lions for fear of starvation. Same holds for the room with assassins. They are fed, otherwise they would be dead by now, but there is no chance to escape. Leaves us the room with raging fires. The fires will destroy everything, including doors and windows. Through open windows and doors and cracks in walls sufficient oxygen will enter the room untill all organic matter is destroyed. Wait a while, my friend, and then, only then quietly open the door and rush to your freedom.

  9. For my answer, I would personally like to essentially restate the comment/question I gave to the first person to answer this question:

    Saurabh Kumar, B. E Information Technology (2016)

    “””I absolutely love how you caught the “lions that haven’t eaten in years” part and were able to view it the way you did!!!I would love to say I would have seen the same, but, I am pretty basic and don’t know if I would’ve seen that… Your logic was flawless and had overwhelming merit… But, here is a question for you: After your answer… I would personally rule out the 3rd room and make it a decision about the first 2 rooms… And, I have a VERY curious personally (between me and you) and would love to know what you would say out of that??? Raging fires? Or… Assassins with loaded guns? What is your logic behind your answer???Fires: it would have to depend on the types of fires, how they were burning, where they were located, how they spread, what and how they burned, and many other variables that are not outlined in this question. Assassins: it would have to depend on the types of assassins with loaded guns… What type of assassins? What kind of guns? Who are they and how are they trained (this includes individual upbringing prior to official training)? Do they just have guns only or are guns just the frontline of offense for them? (a USMC scout sniper can use a gun/rifle at long range, but can be completely ineffective at close range with that or other weapons). So, can they fight hand to hand? Are they good with knives or medium ranged weapons? Or (completely different strategy) are they great at stealth and/or disguise, so as to infiltrate your area to get into close proximity and assassinate you up close and personal (without yourself or your security having a clue)? ADDITIONALLY: Something nobody (that I have seen) asks is “HOW MANY ASSASSINS”? This is a BIG deal! A dozen assassins against you under ANY circumstance is almost a guaranteed death sentence for you… Their are many many many variables on this question…”””

  10. The idiot would say the room with guns because its the quickest way to go, Neo from the matrix would also choose that room because he doesn’t care about bullets. i however, would choose the room with the ( starved) lions because they haven’t eaten in years, rendering them very,very dead- psyche!

    what about the diseases you could catch off of those stinking dead lions ? think about it, you could die a very, very, very long and painful death of illness, and the smell and sight of the lions could probably drive you insane.

    Furthermore, the prison guards are going to throw you in that room, and since you have been condemned to DEATH y=they will either just wait until you starve too, or they will most likely just throw you in either of the other two rooms.

  11. I suspect this question was written for us to find faults, so here I go…

    First room is probably a no go, since there's fire in it. Unless the murderer brings in a large fire extinguisher, there's no way he would survive.

    Second room is definitely out of the question since it's probable the murderer would be killed within seconds by the assassins. Unless the murderer carries a rifle and somehow manages to kill all the assassins before they kill him, he's a goner.

    Which brings us to the last room. Though it says lions, but apparently they haven't eaten in years (a.k.a. a room full of dead lions). Seems like a murderer is getting away scot free today…

  12. The room that the lions are in is the safest – for about a month and a half after the condemned murderer enters it and is locked inside. Not having not eaten in years, the lions all died of starvation. The condemned murderer will be executed soon enough no matter WHICH room he chooses, and he probably won’t be fed in the lions’ room the same as the lions, so HE’ll die of starvation as well … after about a month and a half – sooner if he’s not given water to drink either (8–9 days). If I HAD TO die, I would NOT go with the “safest” – I’d choose the room with the assassins, and get it over with QUICK, and with MUCH LESS PAIN than being locked up in a room that’s HOT AS HELL (the room full of raging fires) !

  13. I think the second option is quite OK than the other two options, why? Firstly, it is faster and easier way to die, the first bullet that would hit him ends every agony and sorrow, even if it's a bomb or a bassuker, it's still OK because he won't have to cry, scared to death and feel much pain before finally giving up.

    But looking at the other two options, lol, *fire and *a lion, to be frank, this is what no one will wish to die through. Before one would finally give up when engulfed with fire, there's a great pain and hell, and a lion fight and struggle to death can't be imagined by anyone, especially a lion that hasn't eaten for a long time, hmm, that's a big hell before dying.

    For example, in committing suicide, it's been easier for victims to take their lives with a gun, than setting themselves ablaze or walking into a very hungry (angry) lion's den. Lol, you think about it I'd I'm wrong.

  14. If it's a murderer then it would be better not to save him at all.

    But answering the demand of this question:

    1.I prefer roasting but on food.

    So ruling out raging fire because it would kill the murdered instantly.

    2. Assasin group for a murderer sounds too high class. Ruling that out too. Also he would die as soon as he steps in the room with bullet wounds to prove it.

    3. Coming to option three….

    Every organism of this earth needs energy for its survival which it gets from food. If a lion is on a hunger strike for years, the possibility of its being alive in that room is next to zero.

    So fore the safest bet, the murderer should go inside the third room which would have a carcass of a dead lion.

    Thanks for reading 🙂


  15. This one is easy:

    Room 1:

    This room is death because nothing the murderer can do will put out the fires and he will be burned to death, simple as that.

    Room 2:

    Assassins would be able to gun him down really quickly so this room is a no no. (Unless somehow the assassins are persuaded not to kill him or maybe they don’t even want to)

    Room 3:

    This room is the safest by far. Lions are incredibly strong and fierce but, as with any living thing on this planet, if they have not eaten for years they would be dead, if not then incredibly weak and easy to overpower. Therefore our murderer could kill the lions or may not even need to to stay alive.

    If you want to make the argument that the lions are at full strength then the lions would still be the safest bet because nothing can be done about the fire and assassins would be able to shoot him easily, whereas the lions he would still stand a chance against, albeit a very slim one.

    Sounds like a cool idea for a screenplay tho to be honest 😉

  16. I would choose the room with the assassins.

    In room one is painful death. Suffocated burning and scorched to death.

    In room 3 they said there are lions which have not eaten for years means metaphorically for a v long time. Nobody said they are dead. They will devour you instantly.

    Reason for choosing one. They are human with reason and hearts. An assassin kills someone for a reason either manslaughter, murder, accident, all for a specific reason. They are not mindless killers of anyone they see. I would find some time to reason, talk with them even if they had a desire to kill. I am a believer in humanity. It can be awakened even in the most ruthless of people.

  17. The safest room is a restaurant a world away.

    Out of the three rooms described however, I would go with lions, then assassins. The third room with “lions who haven't eaten in years” is totally safe. Lions are apex predators who need to eat at least weekly, so the room with “lions who havent eaten for years” would contain the dessicated remains of lions who died years ago. The assassins are also safe since they only kill when paid, and that wasn't given in the problem statement. The room “full of raging fires” should stop burning immediately since there is no fuel, but seems the least safe since the person asking the question seemingly hasn't thought things through.

  18. The third room is the safest for the simple fact that lions can't live years without eating and lions long ago passed and turned to dusty bones are no threat to anyone!

  19. This is undoubtedly the most tricky question for someone who has heard this for the first time.

    But surprisingly, this can be solved within seconds if the approach is right. And for a hint…. answer is hidden in the question itself.

    Well , death is inevitable in all the rooms. But the safest room would be one which can postpone the death for some days.

    As in the first and second rooms, death would be immediate.

    Third room would be the safest one because as the question suggests that lions have not eaten anything for years. So they are already dead.

    So in the third room , murderer will have no threat from the lions. Rather he would die due to starvation after few days.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *