Recently I asked the question: Which of these five meeples is the odd one out?
I am happy to report that a few readers correctly spotted that the joker in this particular pack was the meeple in the middle. If this seems surprising consider that this selection contains within it four different ways in which the meeples are distinguished: red or green, small or large, upright or horizontal, standing on a block or standing on the board. In each pairing it is the first attribute that is more common: there are 4 red meeples vs 1 green, 4 small vs 1 large, 4 upright vs 1 horizontal, and 4 meeples standing on blocks vs 1 on the board.
And every meeple represents a single instance of each abberation, except for middling meeple no. 3, which is the only one to have all 4 of the common attributes. His exceptionality, then, comes from his normalcy! He is the least odd member of a group in which all other members have one uncommon attribute each. He is uncommonly common, and hence is the legitimate odd one out.
As I said originally, the idea behind this puzzle is not mine. It is based on an original puzzle by mathematician Tanya Khovanova, and her discussion of her own readers’ reactions to that puzzle is most enlightening.
I hope you enjoyed this small diversion. The ‘Puzzling Meeple’ shall return!