High Speed Chase

Jan 04, 2010

RAY: This puzzler was submitted by Chuck Leyderer. Chuck writes, "Sargent O'Malley and his rookie assistant Ned are just pulling out of the local donut shop. They get a call on the radio that the town north of them has had a bank robbery. The suspects are proceeding south, and it's a high-speed chase.

"The chase has been going on for 40 minutes, and O'Malley and Ned should be on the lookout for a yellow Mustang with two men in the front seat and a woman in the back. The State Police were in hot pursuit, but they lost them right as they were headed towards Centerville, where O'Malley and Ned work.

"What should happen, but as O'Malley and Ned are pulling out of the donut shop, they happen to see that very car with two guys in the front and a woman in the back. Sargent O'Malley says, 'That's the car, Ned! We're going to go after it. Flip on the siren, and let's get 'em!'"

"Ned, who's been studying the back of the car, says, 'I don't think so, Sarge. It's not them.'"

Just what did Ned see?
RAY: Here's the answer. What Ned did see coming out of the back of the car was water dripping out of the tailpipe. And if there had been a high-speed chase for 40 minutes --

TOM: That engine would be boiling hot . . .

RAY: And so would the exhaust system, and that heat would have vaporized all the water that was in that exhaust system. And as these guys pulled away, Ned saw a whole bunch of water spill out of the tailpipe. As you know water is one of the products of combustion, but when the exhaust system gets up to temperature, that water gets converted into steam and it's invisible. So they couldn't have been the ones in the high-speed chase for 40 minutes. Do we have a winner this week?

TOM: The winner this week is Sarah Atkinson from Louisville, Tennessee. And for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, our pal Sarah gets a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which she can get a Car Talk 2010 page-a-day calendar.

RAY: Or you can probably get a deal on them right now.

TOM: Yeah, once January hits I think it's buy 1 get 16 free.

RAY: Congratulations, Sarah!

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