Stone Temple Farmers

The Puzzler

RAY: 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 the new puzzler. Now, I have several potential new puzzlers.

TOM: Oh, you haven't actually decided yet -- you're going to do it right here, live, on National Public Radio? You're going to a take out the two or three that are in contention, so to speak, and you're going to just decide right now? And what are we supposed to do in the meantime? We're supposed to just sit here and stick our fingers in our ears?

RAY: Yeah, like you usually do. Well, I tried a couple on the staff and they didn't get any of them, so I'm going to try this one, which I didn't try on them, because I like this one the best. This is a non-automotive puzzler. This was sent from someplace on Alpha Centauri by Dave Etnoyer. Here it is.

A farmer had a 40-pound stone which he could use to weigh 40 pounds of feed; he would sell feed in 40 pounds, or bales of hay, or whatever. He had a balance scale; he put the stone on one side and pile the other side with feed or hay, and when it balanced, that's it.

TOM: Hmm, another one of these.

RAY: Well this is interesting.

TOM: I like it already.

RAY: Don't start with the liking it! I don't want to hear you like it -- I'm sick of that.

TOM: I don't want to build up your hopes, but I do like it so far. The fact that it's a stone, and it weighs exactly 40 pounds; I find that interesting.

RAY: Well, they chip off pieces!

TOM: -- make the stone. You go into Brookstone and say, "I want a 40-pound stone."

RAY: Who else do you buy it from? Brook-STONE, right.

TOM: Do you deliver?

RAY: You go into the brook, you pick out a stone --

TOM: I just want to tick off the UPS guy when they have to deliver it --

RAY: Can I continue?

TOM: I'm sorry, did I interrupt?

RAY: Then you screw up the puzzler -- you interfere with the very nature of it, and you have the audacity the next week --

TOM: No, this is serious. The puzzler is the only serious part of the show. OK.

RAY: OK. A neighbor borrows the stone, but he had to apologize when he returned it, broken into four pieces. The farmer who owned the stone later told the neighbor that he actually had done him a favor. The pieces of the broken stone could now be used to weigh any item, assuming those items were in one-pound increments, from one pound to 40.

TOM: Or 41? How about that! Now that would be a puzzler.

RAY: Yeah, that would be good. What were the weights of the four individual stones? So if you want to weigh one pound, six pounds, 11 pounds, 22 pounds, 39 pounds -- how would you use the stones, the thing you are weighing, and the balance beam?

TOM: Oh...

RAY: Remember that. And here's the hint: how would you weigh two pounds? That's the question. I could give a further hint --

TOM: No, don't. That is great!

RAY: Yeah, till next week. Next week it'll be in the dog house.

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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