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Vinnie Goombatz and the 247 Arm Wrestlers

The Puzzler


RAY: The question is, how many bouts have to be fought in order to determine one winner? One winner. So, you start off with 247 people. Divide that group in half, right? Half of them are gonna wrestle the other half. Then you're gonna lose half of those people.

TOM: Right.

RAY: And that half is gonna wrestle, right? You could go and do all this, but there's a simpler way to figure it out.

TOM: There is?

RAY: According to John LaTorre, who sent this to us, he claims that Albert Einstein used this as an example of elegant reasoning. That is, reaching a conclusion in the fewest number of steps in his math lectures. And here's the answer. Since you can't have any ties, every bout must have a winner and a loser. And since the thing is a single-elimination, everyone will lose once, and only once, except for whom?

TOM: One guy! The winner.

RAY: Therefore, how many losers are we gonna have?

TOM: Two hundred and forty-six.

RAY: How many matches are we gonna have?

TOM: Two hundred and forty-six.

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yeah. The winner this week is Jack Samuel from Cave Creek, Arizona!

RAY: Congratulations Jack!

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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