Revolt of the Lab Rats

The Puzzler

RAY: Here's the answer. You use base two.

TOM: Oh, that's right. One, then two, then one and two.

RAY: Exactly. So if you have four rats or four digits, using base two you can create 16 distinct combinations. Here's how you do it. Bottle number one goes only to rat one. Bottle number two goes to rat number two.

Here's the interesting part. Bottle number three goes to rats one and two. So if rats one and two are belly up the next day, it can only be because bottle number three had the poison in it.

TOM: Oh, very good.

RAY: And if you continue using base two, bottle four goes to rat three and rat three only. Bottle five goes to rats one and three, etc. etc. etc. And each combination corresponds to a different bottle, unique bottle of wine.

It's very cute and our web lackeys made a nice visual explanation of the answer on our website and it's a lot easier to understand if you can see the drunken rats. So who's our winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Helen Nye from Montclair, New Jersey. And for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Helen's going to get a 26 dollar gift certificate to the shameless commerce division at Car Talk dot com. With which she can get a copy of our latest CD, Tales of the Brothers Grime.

RAY: Congratulations Helen!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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