Milkman's Puzzle : Solution


Call one ten-gallon (40 quarts) milk can A and the other B, then proceed as follows:

  Can A Can B 4 pail 5 pail
Initial position: 40 40 0 0
Fill 5 pail from can A. 35 40 0 5
Fill 4 pail from 5 pail, leaving 1 quart in 5 pail. 35 40 4 1
Empty 4 pail into can A. 39 40 0 1
Pour the quart from 5 pail into 4 pail. 39 40 1 0
Fill 5 pail from can A. 34 40 1 5
Fill 4 pail from 5 pail, leaving 2 quarts in 5 pail. 34 40 4 2
Empty 4 pail into can A. 38 40 0 2
Fill 4 pail from can B. 38 36 4 2
Pour from 4 pail into can A until A is filled, leaving 2 quarts in 4 pail. 40 36 2 2

Each pail now holds two quarts, can A is full, and can B is missing 4 quarts.






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