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Bedouins Breaking Bread

The Puzzler


RAY: So the question was, was the first guy right, was the second guy right, or were they both wrong? And what's the fair way to divide up the money? Well, it turns out they're both wrong. And the magistrate figures out how they should divide up the money, and here's how he figured it out.

TOM: Go ahead.

RAY: They had five loaves and three loaves. OK? That's eight loaves. Let's say the guy with the five loaves took and cut his five loaves, each of his five loaves up into three pieces. So, he'd have 15 pieces. The guy with the three loaves does the same. He cuts each of his three loaves into nine pieces.

TOM: Ooh, I like it.

RAY: Now interestingly, they have together 24 little pieces of bread. Conveniently, there are three of them. So, each person, each of the three is going to eat eight little pieces of bread. Now, the guy with the 15 loaves eats eight of them himself. That means he has given seven of them to the stranger. The guy with the nine pieces, the guy with the three loaves has cut his up into nine pieces, but he's going to eat eight of them and give one away. So, the magistrate says the guy with the five loaves gets seven coins, and the other guy gets one. So, who's our winner, man?

TOM: The winner is John Boyer from Manhattan, Kansas.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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