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Popping Pills

The Puzzler


RAY: And here's how you do it. You know that you have one A and two Bs. You just can't tell which are which. So let's add another A to the mix. So now, you have two As and two Bs, so you lay the four pills out in a row. But you don't know which are which.

TOM: No.

RAY: Now, you could again go, eenie, meenie, minie, moe. And your chances of getting the right thing are improved by having done this, but not good enough.

TOM: No, because you might die.

RAY: You could die. However, if you take each pill and cut it in half and without mixing up the halves, in other words, the first pill you cut in half, you leave those two halves near each other.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: And the same thing with the second, the third, and the fourth pill. And then you take one from each of the cut pills.

TOM: A half a pill from each of the pairs.

RAY: Right. So, by definition, because you know you have two As and two Bs in the mix, you'll take a half an A from one of the cut pills, and a half a B, and then another half an A, and then another half a B, and you'll have two half Bs and two half As, making one A and one B, and then the remaining pills, cut pieces, will be tomorrow's dose.

TOM: Man.

RAY: Who's our winner, Tommy?

TOM: I have to say that that is not intuitively obvious.

RAY: No?

TOM: No.

RAY: Well, the only thing that made me a little bit discouraged about the Puzzler was that Berman got it.

TOM: He did, huh?

RAY: He did, yeah. Anyway, do we have a winner?

TOM: Yeah, we have a winner. The winner is Tom Mallon from Santa Clara, California.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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