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written by Sam Greenspan

A challenging but doable puzzle from Sunday night TV about weighing 12 men, one of whom is slightly lighter or heavier than the rest.

You can’t solve this puzzle? Death by roo roo.

Sunday night’s episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine featured a subplot with several cast members trying to solve a brain teaser. Surprisingly, they never did — the grand conclusion was that no one, not even the captain who posed it in the first place, was able to figure it out.

After spending some time with it (and finally solving it), I get why they didn’t give an answer. The answer isn’t TV friendly. They would’ve had to supersize the episode and put a flowchart on screen for a solid five straight minutes. That’s really not conducive to Andy Samberg zingers.

Here’s the brain teaser, verbatim from the show:

There are 12 men on an island. Eleven weigh exactly the same amount, but one of them is slightly lighter or heavier. You must figure out which. The island has no scales but there is a see-saw. The exciting catch? You can only use it three times.

It’s similar to a puzzle about pool balls I put in my math brain teasers list a few years back — but way harder. The whole “lighter OR heavier” is the big monkey wrench here.

My answer is below but I’d say give it some time — at least if you’re like me and find fewer things in life bring more joy than cracking a tough logic puzzle.

Scroll down for answer…

Pardon the handwriting, it’s usually better. I gave each of the 12 men a letter, A-L.