Beets Me!

The Puzzler

RAY: OK, here it is. This puzzler was actually devised by Dougie Berman, our producer. It was inspired by a guy named Robert Arge, who sent us an e-mail about an interesting little tidbit that we were unaware of. Dougie took that tidbit and wove...

TOM: A puzzler out of it.

RAY: Wove a puzzler.

TOM: Really? Dougie did that? Doug Berman?

RAY: Albeit crummy. It's a puzzler nonetheless, and I think you'll enjoy it.

TOM: Really?

RAY: Well, I did.

TOM: Berman actually went to the trouble to do that?

RAY: He did. Well, here it is.

TOM: Yeah, go ahead.

RAY: You'll judge for yourself.

TOM: Fine.

RAY: I'll just read it.

TOM: Go ahead.

RAY: Because I can't possibly improve it. The president of the California Free Range Beet Grower Association is taken hostage.

TOM: Is taken hostage? Is that what you said?

RAY: Is taken hostage. Due to his position of great prestige, a full-blown manhunt is set in motion. Eventually police surround an underground parking garage in San Bernardino where they believe his eminence is being held. There are four cars inside the garage, one of which belongs to the kidnapper and contains the hostage. The other three, a Nissan, a Ford, and a Buick, all belong to innocent shoppers returning from a long afternoon at Bed and Sitz Bath.

TOM: Yeah, got it.

RAY: The kidnapper, knowing that he is surrounded, decides to let the hostage go, but he wants to do so without giving up his identity. So he decides to release his hostage in the stairway of the garage and then run back to his car and blend in with the other innocent motorists that are getting in and out of their cars, and he is going to drive away.

TOM: I think you left out the part where the hostage is blindfolded.

RAY: The president is blindfolded.

TOM: There you go.

RAY: I had, up until that point, left it out.

TOM: Yeah, you had, OK.

RAY: The president, that is his eminence.

TOM: His eminence.

RAY: Blindfolded.

TOM: Well, was that the free range beet growers?

RAY: Beet growers, yeah. Well, it's a little known fact.

TOM: Little, yeah.

RAY: There are constricted beets.

TOM: I understand.

RAY: Not as nutritious. Free range -- you can't beat free -- you can't beat free range beets. The president, blindfolded, has no idea where he is or what kind of a car he is in.

TOM: No.

RAY: He can tell nothing from the sound of the engine since he is used to being chauffeured around. He has no idea what engines sound like. The kidnapper turns the key off, opens the door, leaves the key in the ignition, OK. He forces the holy man out of his car and leads him to the stairwell, OK, where he leads him up to the top of the landing and he leaves him there. He runs back down, hops in his car and pretends that he is just another shopper leaving the garage.

TOM: Sure.

RAY: The Buick leaves the garage first. The Ford goes out second. The kidnapper in his Honda Accord leaves the garage next. As he emerges from the ramp, he is arrested on the spot, charged, and eventually...

TOM: Convicted.

RAY: No, he's free because Johnny Cochran was his lawyer. How did his eminence know that he was being held in a Honda?

TOM: Oh so his eminence had time to run to the checkout booth to see the cars exiting, is that it? I mean I'm trying to get the whole picture here.

RAY: No, no, he runs to the police.

TOM: To the police.

RAY: He hobbles. He jumps. He's in a gunnysack. He's blindfolded. His hands are tied. He hops to the police.

TOM: And he somehow says to the police look for the Honda.

RAY: He says there is a Honda that is going to pull out of the garage.

TOM: I gotcha now.

RAY: That's the car the kidnapper is driving.

TOM: OK, and Dano, using his walkie talkie...

RAY: Books him.

TOM: Calls McGarrett at the checkout booth and says stop the Honda Accord.

RAY: Look for a Honda Accord. There you go.

TOM: And McGarrett says, "Book him, Dano."

RAY: Now he was blindfolded. Doesn't know anything about what engines sound like. His hands were tied. He couldn't feel the fabric. Couldn't see anything. He could smell. He could taste.

TOM: He could.

RAY: And he could hear.

TOM: Not very helpful.

RAY: And he used to be a Boy Scout.

TOM: I thought he was supposed to be -- the eminence was supposed to be a Boy Scout leader.

RAY: I thought I would give that hint.

TOM: That's a hint.

RAY: That a good hint?

TOM: He used to be a Boy Scout.

RAY: Yeah.

TOM: That's an excellent hint.

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel