The Case of the Curious Mirror

Feb 07, 2005

RAY: This puzzler is both automotive and Internet related. It was suggested by Matt Kurland in Loveland, Ohio.

Here it is:

"As my wife was backing her car out of our narrow garage, she accidentally grazed the doorframe-- for the 20th time.

"She got out, walked around the car and inspected the passenger side for damage. This time, the passenger side-mirror and frame were shattered into pieces. The dealer wanted more than 500 dollars to replace it. So, she decided to look for a replacement on Ebay.

"Miraculously, she found an entire passenger side mirror that was described in detail for her exact make, model and year, and even the same color-- and it was less than a third of what the dealer wanted!

"It looked easy enough to install. The frame of the garage had actually removed the old mirror, and we could see there were only a few screws holding it on.

"She anxiously awaited the delivery, but when the package arrived three weeks later, I realized she was in trouble. Sure enough, we opened it up and there was no way we could make the mirror fit onto her car.

"My wife thought she could return the item, but when we checked the listing on Ebay, the part description was precisely correct, right down to the color. Nothing was wrong with the part. It was the passenger-side mirror, right color, same make, same model and same year."

What went wrong?


TOM: You gave a big hint.

RAY: I did?

TOM: It took three weeks to get it.

RAY: Which meant it probably traveled across the pond. The car was a Jaguar and the passenger-side mirror is, of course, on the left side in England, and on the right side in the States. The mirrors are not interchangeable. Pretty good, huh?

TOM: I think that was an excellent puzzle.

RAY: So who's our winner?

TOM: The winner this week is Mamie Weiser from Las Vegas, Nevada. And for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Mamie's going to get a 26 dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at

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