Join the Car Talk Community!

Case of the Whacked Out Clock

The Puzzler

RAY: Well, I mean, I purposely made the narrative rather lengthy so as to obfuscate...

TOM: Yeah, of course. We knew that.

RAY: And confuse.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: And did I do that?

TOM: You succeeded. I don't know the answer.

RAY: Well, you do know the answer.

TOM: I do?

RAY: You know, let's say he looked at the clock and he saw that the hands were 180 degrees apart, but the clock read 11:25.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: But that's impossible.

TOM: It's impossible for it to be 11:25?

RAY: It's impossible for it to be 11:25 and the hands be 180 degrees apart.

TOM: Oh, of course!

RAY: Because when it's 11:25, in fact, the hour hand's...

TOM: It'd be beyond 11.

RAY: It should be 5/12 of the way to 12. When it's 11:30, shouldn't it be halfway between 11 and 12?

TOM: Yeah, but...

RAY: Right? But, if it's exactly on 11, and the minute hand is exactly on the five -

TOM: But you didn't say that.

RAY: I didn't. I just said that the hands were 180 degrees apart, and that's what he noticed.

TOM: And they could be 180 degrees...

RAY: Not at 11:25, they couldn't.

TOM: Who said anything about 11:25?

RAY: Well, that's what he noticed.

TOM: How about 11:27?

RAY: It wasn't 11:27.

TOM: But the hands would have been 180 degrees apart.

RAY: But that's how he knew the clock was broken.

TOM: Oh, jeez.

RAY: He knew the clock was broken because it read a time that was impossible.

TOM: Oh, man. This is really sucky.

RAY: No, it isn't. It's wonderful!

TOM: Oh, man! You are going to get so much hate mail! I'll be on your side; I'm your brother.

RAY: Oh, I doubt it!

TOM: And I'll defend you to the death.

RAY: I doubt it!

TOM: But I have to say that this stinks to high heaven!

RAY: I doubt you.

TOM: To high heaven, I tell you! This stinks a lot!

RAY: They're like rats leaving a sinking ship! Berman's run out!

TOM: You...I mean, sure! Sure!

RAY: I could have merely said, "The clock reads 9:15, and the two hands are opposite each other—180. Is that a possibility? And you would have said, "No, that's impossible."

TOM: No, it's not.

RAY: So, I had to make...I had to clever it up, so to speak.

TOM: Wow!

RAY: Come on!

TOM: Fine. All right. Fine. I'll give it to you.

RAY: It's wonderful to have such a ringing endorsement.

[ 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



Rocket Fuel