The King of Freedonia has caught 10 spies from the Kingdom of Sylvania who attempted to poison his wine. The King of Freedonia keeps 1000 bottles of wine in his cellar. The spies managed to poison one of the 1000 bottles but were caught before they could poison any more. The poison is a very special one that is deadly even at one-millionth the dilution of the poisoned wine bottle and takes EXACTLY 24 hours to kill the victim, producing no symptoms before death.

The trouble is that the King doesn’t know which bottle has been poisoned and the wine is needed for the Royal Ball in exactly 24 hour’s time! Since the punishment for attempted regicide is death, the King decides to feed some of the wine to the spies. The King informs his wine steward that he will be able to identify the poisoned bottle by the time the ball starts and kill at most 10 of the spies. Further, each spy drinks only once.

How does he do it?

Problem passed on by Elida Flores, titled by yours truly, phrased by Eric Adelizzi, inspired by Rufus T. Firefly.


Rufus T. Firefly: Awfully decent of you to drop in today. Do you realize our army is facing disastrous defeat? What do you intend to do about it?
Chicolini: I’ve done it already.
Rufus T. Firefly: You’ve done what?
Chicolini: I’ve changed to the other side.
Rufus T. Firefly: So you’re on the other side, eh? Well, what are you doing over here?
Well, the food is better over here.