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Einstein's Riddle

By August 7, 2011

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Supposedly, this riddle was created by Albert Einstein and, on average, only 2% of solvers will be successful. Are there any logic puzzle experts out there who can verify the source of this riddle? If so, they can add a comment to this puzzle blog.
Einstein's Riddle

Give Your Brain a Workout! Brain Teasers and Mechanical Puzzles
Sliding block puzzles, tangrams and other mechanical puzzles to enjoy. These brainteaser puzzles encourage creative thinking and problem solving while providing hours of fun for kids of all ages.


April 22, 2006 at 4:35 pm
(1) Joseph says:

This is soooo stupid… Im in 8th grade and our math teacher gave that to us and EVERYONE solved it…

April 25, 2006 at 7:49 pm
(2) sherrie says:

ok.. so.. whats the answer then? lol

April 29, 2006 at 11:15 pm
(3) Michelle says:

I figured it out…it’s awesome!

May 4, 2006 at 9:55 am
(4) Skool says:

hey.Just completed einsteins puzzle at school.I was sitting in english and found it on the net. Was wondering of the answer to see if I was right. I worked out that the German (green house, coffee, prince) owns the fish. Please let me know if i’m right. Manty thanks, good puzzle. Cheers. Woot

May 6, 2006 at 6:10 pm
(5) carmen says:

you are correct

September 30, 2006 at 10:16 pm
(6) FreakinFred says:

German? Hmm…that’s not what I got. I would like to think that I got it right and you guys got it wrong, but what are the chances of that?

Anyway, can you explain how you worked it out to come to the conclusion?

October 2, 2006 at 3:28 pm
(7) kevin says:

Hi, you can play this riddle live at http://www.myhomy.com under teasers


October 4, 2006 at 8:08 pm
(8) daniel says:

our 9th grade class was given this and about 90% got it right.

November 17, 2006 at 6:21 pm
(9) Ivan says:

The riddle is naturally easy, but do not forget that Einstein said that only 2% can solve it in the 19th century. Surely it is different now…

November 23, 2006 at 10:30 pm
(10) Mary Kate says:

You also can’t forget that a portion of that 98% could be because most of the world won’t even learn of this riddle.
How can you solve it if you don’t know about it?

December 2, 2006 at 4:38 am
(11) omar says:

Dear All,

Colour: Green,
Nationality: German,
Drink: Coffee,
Smoke: Prince,
Pet: Fish.

Hope this will be right.

March 8, 2007 at 9:30 am
(12) Foggy says:

This puzzle’s now been posted on About Puzzles about a gazillion times.

Interesting, this puzzle was circulated with the note that Einstein wrote the puzzle as a boy in the 19th century. This has been disproven, since Einstein as a boy would not have heard of Pall Malls, which were not invented until 1899, and did not become popular until the 1900s.

June 8, 2007 at 8:28 am
(13) Mark says:

The 2% is meant for those who could solve the puzzle mentally. I’m sure more than 2% could solve this puzzle. I did it in just under any hour using a diagram.

June 10, 2008 at 4:11 pm
(14) I'mInThe2% says:

Like Mark said, this riddle is supposed to be done mentally without writing anything down. I’m curious how many people who worked it out on paper would have been able to do it all in their heads.

September 13, 2008 at 3:30 pm
(15) Kid says:

I did it and I am in 6th grade.

September 23, 2008 at 4:40 pm
(16) Harshal says:

House1 House2 House3 House4 House5
Name Norwegian Dane Brit German Swede
color Yellow Blue Red Green White
drink water tea milk coffee beer
smoke Dunhill Blends Pall Mall Prince Blue Master
pet cats horses birds fish dogs

September 23, 2008 at 4:42 pm
(17) Harshal says:

House1 House2 House3 House4 House5
Name Norwegian Dane Brit German Swede
color Yellow Blue Red Green White
drink water tea milk coffee beer
smoke Dunhill Blends Pall Mall Prince Blue Master
pet cats horses birds fish dogs

January 31, 2009 at 5:37 pm
(18) ~__~ says:

lol, there’s a reason why only 2% can solve it. if u got the right answer, u should have gotten it instantly or under a minute or sth. After u find out the answer, u r gonna feel like an idot (like i felt.) THE ANSWER IS NOT GERMAN!!! although i hope it is-_-

January 31, 2009 at 5:40 pm
(19) tom says:

lol, there’s a reason why only 2% can solve it. if u got the right answer, u would have gotten it instantly or under a minute. After u find out the answer, u r gonna feel like an idot (like i felt.) THE ANSWER IS NOT GERMAN!!! although i hope it is-_-

February 2, 2009 at 8:46 pm
(20) Kristin says:

This was fun! My daughter printed it out of the computer for me. It took 2 hours, but I wanted to be the 2%! I love brain teasers logic puzzles and all that. But that was one of the hardest puzzles. It does not get me frustrated like some people…

March 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm
(21) ~1~ says:

what the heck is tha answer?
cuz my teacher says it’s not the german.

March 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm
(22) andy says:

I did it in 7 mins using a paper and pencil.

March 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm
(23) Debbie says:

Seems to me that No One has a fish

April 27, 2009 at 9:04 am
(24) drb says:
April 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm
(25) Deonta says:

everyone owns diferent fish.

May 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm
(26) Rebecca says:

i solved it and i am in 7th grade… i got house 1(yellow norweigan water dunhill cats)
house 2(blue dane tea blends horses)
house 3(red brit milk pallmall birds)
house 4(green german coffee prince fish)
house 5(white swede beer bluemaster dog)

June 2, 2009 at 9:19 am
(27) ARAGON says:

Hey the puzzle was awesome and finalyy I could figure out that the German owns the FISH. Great feeling because the challenging part of the Puzzle was that Einstein’s name was attached to it. So finally Happy that I solved it.

June 7, 2009 at 6:58 am
(28) Curious says:

commment no.18 (by ~__~) and 19(by tom)said that the answer isn’t german… den wat is it? coz i got german too…

June 7, 2009 at 7:00 am
(29) Curious says:

comment no. 18 (by~__~) and no. 19 (by tom) said that the answer isn’t german… they may i know wat isit?

June 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm
(30) waza! says:


dooooooooooooooooooooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiii care?

seriously, what if einstein meant… 98% COULD solve it?

and 2% couldn’t?

that would b possible…

June 11, 2009 at 6:29 pm
(31) waza! says:

i just started a minute ago…

it’s german…

im sure of it

June 26, 2009 at 9:25 am
(32) matt-462 says:

my 7th grade class all solved this easyily

June 30, 2009 at 8:10 am
(33) Megan says:

Yes, people can figure out the answer that you got, that the German owns the fish, but Einstein wanted people to give the real answer, that you cannot deduce who the fish belongs to from the given information, since it was never said that the missing pet was the fish.

June 30, 2009 at 12:06 pm
(34) amylalaz123 says:

I got the answer in less than half an hour (I know that’s a long time tho)

The answer should be the German, with the green House… um… right???? lol

P.S. I’m in 7th grade

June 30, 2009 at 12:09 pm
(35) amylalaz123 says:

This is something made by Albert Einstein? It’s rude to say it, but I’m sure he can do better than this.

June 30, 2009 at 12:15 pm
(36) amylalaz123 says:

(Yes, people can figure out the answer that you got, that the German owns the fish, but Einstein wanted people to give the real answer, that you cannot deduce who the fish belongs to from the given information, since it was never said that the missing pet was the fish.) ~Quote from Megan

Then why should Albert Einstein ask the question in the first place? After all, there are gazillions of people out there with goldfishes. The main question “who owns the fish” isn’t
right at the first place either. You can just answer any name and it’s a right answer. I know a Tom who has fishes ;)

August 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm
(37) clara says:

I solved it in 2 hours 20 minutes and I made it really easy to undrestand. gust follow the link below and you will be surprised that how come people can not solve this easy puzzle.


August 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm
(38) clara says:

just check out my way of solving it and you will be surprise that how easy it is.


November 14, 2009 at 6:44 pm
(39) Neo Cambell says:

The perfect way is to use mathematical notations in logic and convert all statements to logical expressions. The answer will come in just a few minutes in this way.


November 24, 2009 at 1:10 am
(40) zaidi says:

I solved it in 3 minutes. Thanks to Calculus!

Solution here: http://longtambang.blogspot.com/2009/11/teka-teki-einstein-terjawab-sudaa.html

January 7, 2010 at 11:31 am
(41) Marissa says:

in half an hour. bam.

January 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm
(42) tiburon says:

Ok, folks, here is my take on it.

1) my initial response was that since the fish was not given in the facts anyplace, you cannot answer the question except to make an assumption that the fifth pet is fish. I think that is wrong, and why he says only 2% will get it. The fish is the ONLY piece of data not given in the facts. Everything else is specifically mentioned.

2) Then I decided to assume the 5th pet is a fish, and I came up with the same answer most of you did. The german in the green house.

3) One thing nobody has mentioned is that he says the green house is “to the left of the white house”. He does not say it is to the left AND next door to the white house.
SO…I came up with another solution with the green house all the way to the left and the white house all the way to the right. (Green is left of yellow still). Here the answer is different with the Norwegian the green house owning the fish:

Left to right:
red-horse-brit-beer-blue master
white-bird-dane-tea-pall mall

Who knows what Einstein (or whoever) really intend. I think it was #1 above.

January 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm
(43) Maria says:

I guess Einstein was right because out of the 42 people on this list, only one got it right. That makes about 2%. And since I agree with the one person now, I sure there will be another 40 to 50 people to argue with me.

April 25, 2010 at 2:48 am
(44) Andrew Harmon says:

i am 10 in 4th grade and it is German with coffee, smokes Prince, has fish, and lives in a green house.

June 6, 2010 at 9:54 pm
(45) Ray says:

It was super easy

August 27, 2010 at 9:18 pm
(46) i own the fish says:

i quote- “3) One thing nobody has mentioned is that he says the green house is “to the left of the white house”. He does not say it is to the left AND next door to the white house.”
the riddle i got did actually say next to and on the left, as do many ive since found.

September 10, 2010 at 4:34 am
(47) Anthony says:


You are incorrect. On your number 3. example..

The riddle says. The Green house is “next to”, and on the left of the White house. So your example does not work..

Also Maria don’t be so quick to agree with someone without checking their facts.. ;)

October 31, 2010 at 3:23 pm
(48) Bill J says:

I solved this puzzle in late 1967. It was in an issue of Reader’s Digest at the time. Maybe someone can research Reader’s Digest to see what they might have said about the origin. The puzzle was named as “Who Owns the Zebra” at that time. So, the pets were a little different and some of the the brands of cigarettes were different.

December 9, 2010 at 1:53 am
(49) Morgan says:

I remember solving this in grade 8 the proper way with out a paper and getting that the norwegian owned the fish. I decided to attempt it again (currently in grade 12) and like most people i got the german owning the fish. After reading what Tiburn has said i realised that the one i just solved actually did say that the green house is next to and to the left of the white house. So depending which version you received with this tiny detail actually decides the out come of your answer. Im not sure which one is the correct version though.

December 19, 2010 at 11:23 pm
(50) Like duh says:

My teacher gave it to our 4th grade class to do in our heads on the way to lunch.

We all got it in 3 minutes.

December 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm
(51) LadyAnthro says:


The green house is on the immediate left of the white house as you stare at the front of the 5 houses.


4. The green house is just to the left of the white one.

What is it then? Because if it`s on the immediate left then most people have got the right answer.

January 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm
(52) ricardo says:

i solved that problem once a time and i have it in my page, until now only 4 friends do it

April 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm
(53) Mike - Los Angeles says:

I finished it about 10 minutes… well really 40 minutes.

I made a grid in Photoshop and locked pieces together from the clues. Yellow/Dunhill, Dane/Tea etc. That took about 30 minutes. Then 10 min or less to drag and drop until everything fit. Went online and confirmed the solution.

yeah, i know that’s sort of cheating. But we use whatever tools are available.

June 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(54) Zweistein says:

I am 7 years old and solved it under 5 minutes. Easy!

July 29, 2011 at 7:08 am
(55) Maggie says:

So the answer you get depends largely on the assumptions you are forced to make because all the facts are not clearly stated. You assume the fish is the 5th pet. When determining the first house you have to assume you are coming from one direction or the other. What did Einstein say was the point of his riddle? Was it simply to demonstrate we need all the facts to draw the right conclusion and rarely have them?

August 9, 2011 at 12:38 am
(56) isaac says:

I just finished 8th grade and solved this puzzle easily. it was fun!

August 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm
(57) Jackie says:

I got it, … it’s the German. I had to use process of elimination.

August 30, 2011 at 10:54 am
(58) Hornet says:

As reproduced on this site, the 4th clue is ambiguous:
“The Green house is on the left of the White house.”

If you make the assumption that the Green house is *immediately* on the left of the White house, then there is only 1 solution and the German owns the Fish.

The original version of the puzzle does include the word ‘immediately’: “The green house is immediately to the right[left] of the ivory[white] house.”

If you read the 4th clue, as above, then the Green house can be anywhere to the left of the White house. This leads to multiple solutions. All which are equally valid. It also makes puzzle much much harder.

I have produced full solutions with either the German or the Dane owning the Fish, that fulfill all of the clues.

November 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm
(59) jayajya says:

I solved it in like 10 minutes … Barely wrote down anything

January 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm
(60) yeahrightso says:

i solved this while i was still in the womb 8 months before i new it existed, so…

March 22, 2012 at 12:01 am
(61) /sigh says:

I like how half of the people who claim they figured it out fast have trouble with their grammar and can’t even spell. You all make such convincing arguments…/sigh…at least 60) yeahrightso has a sense of humor about it. +1 to him and fail for the rest of you.

June 15, 2012 at 8:54 am
(62) Kunal Patel says:

Andy you bloody beg! You really wish you solved the puzzle in 7 mins!!

Maybe you did after taking about 10 hours or more to understand the puzzle. But youre still a beg. Why you showing off bruv! My friend Dan solved the puzzle when he was 11 years old in 3 hours. Did he show off?? Bloody loser! And beg…..

June 29, 2012 at 3:48 am
(63) divyansh nd tapish says:

answer is german, the question was a cake walk :P :P

July 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm
(64) Evangeline says:

Sure it’s possible some kids can do this (actually, most can if they spend enough time on it to be honest) but are we supposed to believe that a bunch of 4th graders solved this IN THEIR HEADS and IN UNDER 3 MIN??? Seriously?!? I mean, come on! Make it believable at least! ;P

Took me a little under an hour because the version I had didn’t specify if we’re looking at the houses or looking out from them (important to figure out left and right for green and white house). Reaction when I got it: my life is complete… (until I read how the 2% probably didn’t still hold and then I was like…awwwww….)

August 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm
(65) Rakib says:

u ppl r missing one thing ===== the first house is the Norwegians house and later on riddle claims that the blue house remains next to the Norwegians house…. Which could be the left house of the Norwegians house and it is only possible if we think that houses are placed in a circle……………… :D Einstein u r a genius

August 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm
(66) unknown says:

I dnt think Einstein was really serious about what he said!lol Einstain said that cuz like 98% 0f people(well maybe less!) would give up as soon as they hear his statement about the riddle!so they will never be able to solve it!that s it i guess.he might have been playing along!haha

September 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm
(67) Mark 911 says:

how is it the german????

September 27, 2012 at 8:21 am
(68) kexas says:

(43) Maria

You’d like to think you’re smarter than others (that’s typical to human psychology), but answer “German” cannot be wrong. All the answers posted here are valid and people thinking “Oh i’m smarter than all of them” are just egocentric.

October 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm
(69) kostas says:

I did it by sorting the animals first a bit. For example, the cat can’t be next to the dog or the birds, then i moved on with that on mind.

October 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm
(70) Justin says:

Done and done

November 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm
(71) Brandon says:

The idea behind this problem is that 98% of people would assume the 5th pet is a fish. If you said the German has the 5th pet but you can’t assume it’s a fish, then you would be in the 2%. The question of who has the fish cannot be answered with the information given though the German is the closest wrong answer.

November 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm
(72) Brandon says:

Also the assumption about the layout of the houses can lead to different answers. Basically, you shouldn’t make assumptions. I think that’s the point of the riddle

November 30, 2012 at 11:17 am
(73) Alka says:

German have fish.(Green house,Smoke Prince, Drink Coffee)

January 17, 2013 at 12:28 am
(74) BeckyAS says:

After much thought, NO ONE owned the fish!

A pet is usually considered an animal that can be trained and taught to do things they don’t ordinarily do. Fish are generally a food source, in a lake, which is surrounded by five lake homes, inhabited by different peoples on a vacation. Therefore, no one owns the fish- but hunts them to eat. The one animal left out is to throw people off the simple nature of the riddle- as all riddles are intended. The reason only 2% can solve the riddle is because literalists look at what is written and not what is implied. I submit my humble answer for I’m a thinker as Einstein and probably one of that 2%. Think on it…. He sure did before he wrote it- if indeed he wrote it ;-)

February 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm
(75) hamzah says:

i got it and im in 5th grade

March 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm
(76) BendingWillough says:

I figured out the answer in about 1 minute, but not by the “grid” method that I see others have used.

There’s a song called “A Fish Called Prince” (not sure how old) so I assumed that the clue “The German smokes Prince” meant the German was smoking a fish (such as smoked salmon) and not tobacco.

April 6, 2013 at 10:18 am
(77) Jesus says:

I’m sorry to say you all are wrong. This is a trick question, if you are following a procedure just like I did you are doing it wrong the answer is not German which is the answer that most people get.
No wonder Einstein say only 2 % would get it right.
( hint : the right answer can be spotted in less than 30 sec. If you are carefull when you read)

May 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm
(78) CrazyGamer2000 says:

All of you who said you all did it in class in 5 minutes is probably because someone told you in class who actually solved it. Also the 2 percent was probably different back then. There were less educated people back then and all of you who say this is a trick question are wrong for Einstein was a man of logic. Also Einstein is German and probably had a fish so he based the riddle on himself so everyone who says it is the German is right. There is also a picture of him where he changed all the words into mathematical notation and got the German so it has to be right.

July 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm
(79) Lil' Davie says:

Hello, I am only six years old and I know the answer and I got it correct within minutes. Maybe Mr. Einstein was being silly when he said 2%. Maybe he meant the 1% can’t do it.

August 2, 2013 at 11:30 am
(80) Filthy McNasty says:

Far and away the best computer game for this type of puzzle is..


Sherlock by Everett Kaser

January 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm
(81) Genius says:

I solved it in just under 4 minutes.. and I only just exited the womb. would have been sooner but my placenta ruined the first grid I was working on. super easy! mere child’s play. could not have been ol eensteen that wrote this

March 28, 2014 at 1:36 am
(82) choi game danh bai hay says:

You should be a part of a contest for one of the
best sites on the net. I will highly recommend this web site!

April 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm
(83) Anna says:

I’m in 7th grade and I completed it in an hour and a half using paper pencil. I DID NOT look at the answer before starting. My answer: The German!

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