Office Riddle 05-16-11

May 16th, 2011

A great king's guards have caught an assassin leaving the wine cellar with an empty poison vial.

In the cellar there are 1000 bottles of wine and there was only enough poison for one of them. In 24 hours the king is throwing a banquet and will need to serve his wine. A single sip of the poison is deadly in 15 to 20 hours, with no symptoms showing until death.

What is the minimum number of people who have to risk their lives (voluntarily, of course) to determine exactly which bottle is poisoned?

What if there are an arbitrary number of bottles?


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