Cable Contest

Mar 21, 1998

RAY: The events in this puzzler took place long, long ago, before the advent of cars and planes. Let's say sometime roughly between the stone age and my brother's Bar Mitzvah.

Some engineers were contemplating building a suspension bridge across the gorge at Niagara Falls. You know what a gorge is, right?

TOM: It's what I do at Thanksgiving.

RAY: Exactly.

So, you got a raging river below, and you've got to get cables for the suspension bridge from one side to the other. But, there's no way to get the cables across, because there was no boat that could fight that current.

TOM: The Maid of the Mist hadn't been invented yet?

RAY: Nope. The engineers and builders figured out how to do it, and they staged a contest on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The contest was open to the public, and the purpose was to help get these massive cables across the gorge.

The contest was won by a young boy. And shortly after the contest was completed, they were able to run the cables from one side of the gorge to the other.

What was the contest?


TOM: I didn't figure it out.

RAY: You didn't? Berman even got this one! The contest was a kite flying contest. The first kid to be able to get his kite to land on the other side of the gorge, won.

The engineers then took that kite string and attached to it a rope that was slightly heavier than the kite string. They pulled that rope across and they attached successively stronger ropes, until they finally had one strong enough to pull, what?

TOM: The cable!

RAY: Exactly. And who is going to win our fabulous prize?

TOM: Jane Oaks from Long Boat Key, Florida.

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