Popping Pills

The Puzzler

RAY: Hah! We're back. You're listening to Car Talk with us, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, and we're here to discuss cars, car repair, and, duh, the new Puzzler.

TOM: I can hardly wait!

RAY: Well, I think you'll like this. This is a recent submission from a guy named Scott Crass, and I like it because my brother didn't get it. Here it is.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: Pay careful attention. You're placed on a medication regime in which you are to take daily one tablet of A and one of B.

TOM: Got it.

RAY: You got it. So, you have two little pill, what do they call them, containers.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: One says "Pill A," and one says "Pill B." You must be careful. Taking two or more B's can have unpleasant side effects, or can even be fatal. In order for the B to be effective —

TOM: Does my wife know?

RAY: In order for the B to be effective, it must be accompanied by the A pill.

TOM: Yeah. So, you gotta take one A and one B. That's it.

RAY: So, you open up the A bottle and you, as people do, you tap the bottle, and one A pill kind of jumps out into your palm.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: You open the B bottle, and you accidentally get two Bs falling out of the bottle. But here's the problem. They look exactly the same.

TOM: Oh, they don't have little As and Bs on them?

RAY: Just on the container. But they're both —

TOM: Bummer!

RAY: They're both blue, they're the same size, they're the same weight. And as soon as they fell in there, they got mixed up, so now you have three pills, but you can't tell what the heck you got. How can you make... now, of course, you could just throw these pills away.

TOM: That was my first thought. My first thought was don't make this into a Puzzler; throw the pills away and start again.

RAY: But the pills cost a hundred bucks apiece, and you can't throw them away.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: But how can you make sure that you get your daily dose of A and B without wasting any of the pills?


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[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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