TOM: And? And, now what? Now, I give the answer? Just as simple as that? Well, I mean, you could do it simply by trial and error. Just keep trying numbers. The original littlest equation, which was in the book that I read, and I can't remember where I got this puzzler because I lost the book, but I did remember the equation. It was very simple. It was: Y=2/3(X-1), so that Y is what you end up with, X is what you start with, and you keep plugging in numbers for X, what you start with, until you can solve that equation three times without running into non-integers. That doesn't happen until you get to 25.
RAY: Wow! So, they caught 25 fish?
TOM: They caught 25 fish. The first guy tosses one overboard because you can't divide 25 by three. That's 24. He takes his third, which is eight, that leaves 16 fish. The next guy comes; you can't divide 16 by three.
RAY: Throws one overboard?
TOM: Throws one overboard. That's 15.
RAY: I can see it's beginning to play out.
TOM: Right! He takes five. That leaves 10 fish. The third guy shows up in the morning, there's 10 fish. He thinks he's dividing it again into threes. He can't divide it by three, he throws one fish overboard, takes his three, leaving six fish on the deck to rot.
RAY: To rot and attract flies!
TOM: And attract flies and god knows what kind of evil vermin. But the answer is that they caught 25 fish. Who's our winner, Raymie!
RAY: Our winner this week...
TOM: Wait, is this some kind of a sneaky plot to get me to do more work?RAY: Well, we tried and it's hopeless. Our winner this week is Constantine Russos.
[ Car Talk Puzzler ]