Of Subways, Tokens, and Silent Transactions

The Puzzler

RAY: A blind man enters the subway by walking down the stairs...

TOM: I remember it well.

RAY: ... with the assistance of his seeing-eye dog. When he gets to the bottom of the stairs, there is a cage, behind which a woman is sitting. She is the token vendor.

TOM: Yes.

RAY: And there's a sign there that says tokens, 40 cents. The dog pees on the floor, he reaches into his pocket and through the slit in the cage, he hands her a dollar. No words are spoken. She has never seen him before and he's certainly never seen her. She hands him two tokens and 20 cents change. Now you know this puzzler is from years ago because there's not a subway token in the world that costs 40 cents anymore.

TOM: They're so expensive now that you have to sneak underneath the little turnstyle...my back is breaking...I'm doing the limbo..I've developed a nice slide technique...yeah!

RAY: The question is very simple...how did she know he wanted two tokens? You have all the information that you need to solve this puzzle before you and some that you don't need.

TOM: How about he gives her the dollar and he raises two fingers?

RAY: He does no such thing!

TOM: It would work!

RAY: You have all the information you need. Or I could give a hint, but I don't think it's necessary.

TOM: No, I wouldn't give any hints. I think it's beautiful as it stands!

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel