The Shortest Day of 2007

Jan 15, 2007

RAY: 2007 is here, and with the New Year comes innovations, changes, another year of Car Talk - and, of course, the inevitable New Year's resolutions. So, in keeping with the spirit of the New Year, I decided to make a strong effort to improve the quality of the puzzler. I further resolved to make the puzzler more straightforward and succinct.

To this end, I submit the following puzzler, with the help of someone named Bill Horowitz.

Just like 2006, 2007 has 365 days. Of those 365 days, which day will be the shortest?
RAY: You're probably thinking about the shortest number of hours of daylight. But I asked for the shortest day. And the shortest day is 23 hours. Not 24 hours. It's the day that we turn the clocks ahead.

This year, that day is March 11th.

Conversely, the longest day is the day we spring back five hours. And you got a 25-hour day, so it balances out.

Of course, this is true for almost the entire country. It isn't true if you live in Arizona unless you're part of the Navaho Nation. They don't observe time at all, I don't think. And Hawaii I don't think observes Daylight Savings Time, either.

TOM: Why would they bother? Every day is perfect. Why screw it up?

RAY: Exactly. And if you're close to the equator, it hardly matters. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Well, you apparently have a winner. The winner this week is John Partridge, from Wellesley, Massachusetts. And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, John is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which he can get our Car Talk Latin T-shirt, which says Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis. Which of course in Latin means what?

RAY: It's my brother's motto. Unencumbered by the thought process.

TOM: That's it. Exactly right. Congratulations, John, for being our puzzler winner.

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