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Tommy's Tomatoes

The Puzzler


RAY: Here's the answer. At the outset we had a hundred pounds of tomatoes. And we said they're 99% water and 1% whatever other solids there are. So, the solids were one pound.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: And that one pound is not going to change when they dry out, it's still going to be one pound of solids. So, when the moisture content has been reduced to 98%, that mass of mushy, disgusting tomatoes is now two percent solids and 98% water. Right?

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: OK. Som we can write a very simple algebraic expression that says, two percent of X, where X is the total weight of the partially dried mess of tomatoes, has got to equal one pound. So .02 of X is one pound. And X is 50 pounds. When we put Tommy and these mushy tomatoes back on the scale, the scale's going to read 198 pounds. That's kind of hard to believe, that the moisture content goes from 99% to 98%, and the weight goes from 100 pounds down to 50.

TOM: Wow!

RAY: Let's not forget that when that mess of tomatoes is down to two pounds it's still 50% water.

TOM: Wow.

RAY: Pretty cute, eh? Do we have a winner?

TOM: We do have a winner, and the winner this week is Bruce Swanson from Hudson, Iowa. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Bruce is going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division of cartalk.com.

RAY: And what can you get with that, Johnny?

TOM: Absolutely nothing of value of course. But he can get a copy of our new CD, Tales of the Brothers Grime.

RAY: Ah yes, this is a new collection of stories that we've told on the air, including tales of my brother's misadventures in the United States Army.

TOM: Congratulations, Bruce!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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