The Asymmetric Commute

The Puzzler

RAY: The essence of this puzzler was sent in fairly recently by someone named Miles Benson. Anyway, I had to monkey with it a bit.

I overheard a conversation between two young fellows one morning while at the local coffee shop and they were discussing their jobs and one of them said, "I set my trip odometer the first day I started my job and the round trip is exactly 20 miles."

"Wow, that's great," the other guy says. "I wish my job was only 10 miles from home."

"Oh, no," number one guy says, "it's only 5 miles to get to work, but 15 miles to get home."

"What are you driving, an ice cream truck or something like that?"

"No, no, no, no."

"Oh, I know, you're taking a detour to visit your girlfriend."

"Nope, not at all. I drive directly from home to work, taking the shortest route. And I return from work, also taking the shortest route. No detours, no side trips. I come directly home and it's 15 miles to get home, making it a 20-mile round-trip to work and home from work."

And he goes on to say: "Last week the boss called and asked me to report to another location for a few days to fill in for someone who was on vacation. Ready for this? On those days I drove 15 miles to get to work, but then the ride home was only 5 miles."

The question is - how can this be?

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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