Arrr, A Nautical Puzzler, Matey

Jan 17, 1998

RAY: We're back. You're listening to Car Talk with us Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, and we're here to discuss cars, car repair, anda...

TOM: Anda.

RAY: The new puzzler.

TOM: Anda one anda two.

RAY: Oh, I have to tell a little joke first.

TOM: Yeah, go ahead.

RAY: This past summer our producer, Dougie Berman, was on vacation down in the islands someplace, and he's walking down the street and leaning up against a tree is a guy that's dressed up like a pirate. You know he's got the three quarter length pants, the puffy shirt.

TOM: Yeah, peg leg. Patch over one eye.

RAY: The bandana on his head, the toucan on his shoulder, Reeboks. And he's got...and so Dougie looks at him and he says geez -- he looks -- the guy's got a peg leg. He does. He's got a hook for a hand, and he's got a patch over his eye like all pirates do.

TOM: Wow, yeah.

RAY: And he asked the guy if he is a real pirate, and the pirate says I am, I'm a real pirate. And Doug asked -- he says geez you know, he says you're in pretty bad shape. Do you mind telling me how you lost your leg. He says it was a mutiny. He said, and they threw me overboard, and a shark bit me leg off. And Dougie says geez pretty bad. He says how about your hand. How did you lose your hand? He says, we were boarded by another bunch of pirates from another ship. He said, they wanted to steal our booty. He said, we came to fighting with swords and before I could run the last one through, he cut me hand off and that's how I wound up with me hook.

TOM: Wow.

RAY: He says, geez, you got a peg leg. Sharks ate your leg off. You gotta hook. He says, how about your eye? Bird poop. Dougie says, excuse me? Bird poop. You mean a bird pooped in your eye, and you lost your eye? That's what I said -- bird poop. How did that happen? It was the first day with me hook. Which leads me up to today's puzzler.

TOM: That's a lead in to a puzzler.

RAY: Now we all know that pirates -- in fact many sailors of old have patches over one of their eyes.

TOM: They do.

RAY: And we know that it ain't bird poop.

TOM: We do?

RAY: Well, we...

TOM: It seems unlikely at least.

RAY: It seems unlikely that it's bird poop. I mean how stupid could -- never mind. The question is why is it that old time sailors...

TOM: Frequently had a patch over their eye.

RAY: Frequently had no eyesight in one eye that they wore a patch over their eye.

RAY: If you think about it for a minute, before there was inertial navigation and all that geo-positional satellites and all that, sailors of old used to navigate by the stars.

TOM: Yeah, we knew that.

RAY: Except during the daytime, there ain't no stinking stars.

TOM: I noticed that too.

RAY: And they used to use the sun, which is what?

TOM: A star.

RAY: Which is a star, yes, it is. It's the only star that's visible in the daytime. Because they were using the sun to navigate and looking at the sun and getting angles of elevation so to speak with a sextant, they would burn out their retinas.

TOM: Really?

RAY: Yes, as we know, if you stare at the sun, what happens to your eyesight? It gets cooked!

TOM: So the way they navigated was to figure out how far above the horizon the sun is? That just tells you what time it is doesn't it?

RAY: Yeah, but they didn't have time pieces. So someone says what time is it Mickey?

RAY: You say let me burn my retina out, and I'll tell you in a minute.

TOM: I'll burn out my retina, and I will let you know. Or he says you mean now? Yeah.

RAY: Come on, who's our winner. Come on we got -- we're on a tight schedule.

TOM: Here it is, all right. We have three half hours to do. The winner is Cheryl Jovell -- Jovell. Jovell, Jovell.

RAY: I like Jovell better.

TOM: Jovell.

RAY: Even though that's not the right pronunciation.

TOM: It probably isn't, but it has a nice ring to it. She's from Largo, Florida.

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