Tommy’s Drive to Work

The Puzzler

RAY: Here's the answer. Let's look at the initial example I gave, 175,571 miles. The next closest palindromic odometer reading would be 176,671, which is 1100 miles away.

TOM: Right.

RAY: Now I know Tommy might drive 1100 miles to get away from work, but he would never drive 1100 miles to get to work. And besides he had less than an hour to do this. And let's not forget his cafe stop.

So let's say his odometer reading was like 199,991. Now 11 miles later it reads 200,002. So he's driven 11 miles.

Of course, there's one absurd answer, which is that his odometer read 999,999 miles. He drove a mile and it went to all zeros. And both of those are palindromes.

Now my brother's driven some heaps in his day, but even he wouldn't drive anything with that many miles on it. So the answer we're going with and the non-absurd answer is 11 miles.

TOM: Pretty cute.

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: The winner is David Crump from Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. And for having his correct answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, David will get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at

With which he can get a copy of our father's CD, Why You Should Never Listen to Your Father When It Comes to Cars, which is a perfect father's day gift, by the way, provided your father has already cut you out of the will. Or there's no will.

Congratulations, David, baby!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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