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Buying House Number Letters

The Puzzler


TOM: Let's see. If he beats up the first two guys, he can have the T and the E and he'll only have to buy, oh, 12. The T and the W --

RAY: Don't you notice --

TOM: -- and the E, oh.

RAY: All the letters in 12 are in the first three --

TOM: I was just thinking he'd only have to buy three letters.

RAY: Well, in fact, let's look at the word 12. Let's look at it. OK, and then let's look at --

TOM: He's got to buy all of them.

RAY: And then let's look at the word 11.

TOM: Eleven.

RAY: They share four letters.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: E-L-E-V.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: OK? So if you take that away from the 12, you get T-W left over.

TOM: T-W and --

RAY: If you take those same four letters away from 11, you have N-E left over. Now, let's go back to the first two guys.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: One cost two dollars, and two cost three dollars. What have we learned? Now we don't know the cost of any of the letters individually.

TOM: No, we don't, but we do know --

RAY: But we do know that a T and a W costs a dollar more than an N and an E.

TOM: Yeah. We do know that. I do know that. I see it right here.

RAY: We do know that. And as luck would have it, the T and W in 12 are going to cost a dollar more than the N and the E in 11. We know the whole of 11 costs five bucks, so 12 must cost six bucks. Pretty good. Huh?

TOM: Wow.

RAY: And you could use higher mathematics to solve this.

TOM: Well, I was writing a series of simultaneous equations.

RAY: You could do that.

TOM: Could I?

RAY: No.

TOM: Will I be able to play the piano?

RAY: My wife broke her finger recently. It was a little industrial accident, and whilst we were at the hospital waiting endlessly, I decided I had to ask the doctor when it was all over if she would be able to play the violin. And he was a young guy. I figured he'd go for it. He didn't.

TOM: He didn't go for it?

RAY: No. He said could she play the violin before? I told him he ruined my whole day. Anyway, who is our winner?

TOM: The winner this week is Meg Schneider from Boise, Idaho.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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