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Atomically Correct

The Puzzler


RAY:  Here’s the answer. I thought my nephew’s watch was stupid because I thought it could be put on upside down. How do you know which way to put your watch on?

TOM: There's a stem on the watch.

RAY: And there are numbers on watches. But this watch had neither of those. And I was wrong because you can't put a watch on upside down. You can always tell when a watch is upside down by the relative positions of the two hands. There is no time during the day when the hands of a watch represent a valid time when it is upside down.

Take 6 o'clock for example. When it's 6 o'clock, the hour hand points straight at the 6 and the minute hand points straight up. If you turn the watch 180 degrees, you might say it's 12:30. But it’s not because the little hand is pointed straight up. So you could discern with accuracy where the where the hour hand is. So it can't be put upside down. So my critique was ill-founded and what? Stupid. Anyway, do we have a winner?

TOM: We certainly do. Our winner this week is Paul Long from Edgewood, Kentucky. And for having his answer selected at random from all the correct answers that we got, Paul's going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division, with which he can get a set of Car Talk reusable shopping bags.

RAY: Congratulations, Paul!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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