Tommy and Alex's Flat Tire

The Puzzler

RAY: Many moons ago, when Tommy's son Alex was learning how to drive, Tommy thought he'd take him out in his '63 Dart and show him the rules of the road.

Alex was driving along, doing rather well, when they heard an unfamiliar noise. Tommy realized after a minute or so that the right rear tire had gone flat.

Realizing this was yet another fine opportunity to teach, Tommy asked Alex to pull off onto the shoulder. With the semis whizzing by at 70 miles per hour, Tommy hid in the bushes and told Alex from 100 yards away, "Take the jack out of the truck."

Alex jacked up the car, loosened the wheel nuts, and very carefully put them in the hubcap. But when he went to retrieve the spare tire, he inadvertently stepped on the hubcap and sent all but one of the wheel nuts cascading down the nearby hillside, never to be seen again. Out of the five wheel nuts, he managed to save one.

After administering an appropriate number of dope slaps, Tommy said, "We're done for!"

Suddenly, Alex said, "Wait a minute! Can you have four wheel nuts on every wheel instead of five?" Tommy said, "Yes, of course we can -- at least until we get back to town." To which Alex replied, "Well then, let's take one nut off of each of the other wheels, leaving four on each wheel, and we'll have four for the tire we're changing."

Three hours later, they're still waiting for help. Why couldn't they do what Alex suggested?

Think you know? Drop Ray a note!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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