Guess our WEIGHT

May 22, 1999

RAY: You're listening to Car Talk with us, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, and we're here to discuss cars, car repair and the new Puzzler. And I'm going to say that this puzzle was inspired by...

TOM: Stolen from...

RAY: No, no. No.

TOM: No?

RAY: No. No, it was probably stolen from somebody, but, I mean, they all were. But there's not an original Puzzler on the planet.

TOM: Of course.

RAY: Anymore.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: Between us and Marilyn vos Savant, we've stolen all of them. From Martin Gardner! The other day -

TOM: Is he still alive?

RAY: Still, yes. The other day, due to some unusual shuffling of cars, my brother-in-law's car wound up in Tommy's possession. And Alex showed up at the garage to pick up his car and left me a car to drive home, and I was in the middle of something, and I said to Alex, "Just throw the keys in my pocket; my hands are too greasy to even touch the keys." He leaves. Hours later I wash up, lock up the shop and I discover waiting for me at the curb is the Fiat. And at that, when I began to drive it home, I began to have an appreciation for the reverence that you had for the Dart.

TOM: Yes.

RAY: Because, compared to the Dart, the Fiat is such a hopeless piece of trash!

TOM: Quiet, I'm trying to sell it!

RAY: To Mayer, right?

TOM: To Mayer.

RAY: I mean, that thing coughed and wheezed and swerved--I mean it did everything imaginable. I mean, my heart was in my throat the entire time, to say nothing of the fact that my few remaining brain cells were eradicated by the smell of gasoline.

TOM: Yeah, the air quality is bad. That's why the top doesn't go up! You'd die if you had the top up.

RAY: I had the top up.

TOM: You did?

RAY: Yeah, and the fact that you can hear the ignition system through the radio…

TOM: Isn't that nice?

RAY: It is--you can tell if you're going to misfire!

TOM: Well, and you can tell if you're...

RAY: Number-our cylinder has a distinct misfire.

TOM: You can tell if your alternator's working! You turn on the radio!

RAY: Well, as luck would have it, last night I go to sleep.

TOM: He gets to my house, by the way, and he stumbles in the door and he says, "Finally, I'm almost there!"

RAY: I throw the keys on the kitchen table and...

TOM: Who cares?

RAY: And I said, "Let me out!"

TOM: Let me out!

RAY: Well, I get home, and I guess because I was overwhelmed by the gasoline fumes, I had a dream. And in this dream, I saw you driving a spiffy...

TOM: Diablo?

RAY: Little convertible.

TOM: Oh!

RAY: And the license plate of this convertible said WEIGHT. Not WAIT, but WEIGHT.

TOM: Really?

RAY: And I said, "Hmm! WEIGHT? What kind of a car would have this license plate?"


RAY: That's the question.

TOM: And did you get the answer in your dream too? Or did you have to figure it out when you woke up?


TOM: Yes! And how prophetic it is, because I now am the owner...

RAY: Well, not yet.

TOM: Not yet, but I will be within minutes, I hope, the owner of one of these very cars.

RAY: Yes.

TOM: Going to replace the Dart and the Fiat.

RAY: Yes, and the car that Tommy is getting is the formula for weight, because in our system of measurement in this...on this planet of ours, weight is mass times the acceleration of gravity, or MG.

TOM: Augh!

RAY: So if you had a mass of one slug...

TOM: And you know your units, don't you!

RAY: Times the acceleration of gravity, which is 32 feet per second squared, it would weigh 32 pounds.

TOM: Exactly.

RAY: How many slugs is your MG?

TOM: About that! Wow!

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: That's a great Puzzler.

RAY: Well, I don't know about great...

TOM: And a great car!

RAY: We'll see about that.

TOM: Well, we don't know if we have that. We do have a winner; the winner is Carol Strumpek--Strumpek! Hey, Carol, that's a great name, Strumpek, from Chantilly, Virginia.

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