A Lincoln In Winter

Oct 24, 1998

RAY: Hi. 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, and the New Puzzler.

TOM: I can hardly wait.

RAY: Well, this was supplied by Shelly Payne. But I had to fix it, because it wasn't really up to --

TOM: That's your job, man. You can't -- you can't just accept the stuff and read it. It's your job, not to fix, but to create.

RAY: Create. To hone, to fine tune. All right, here it is. Several years ago my father-in-law who lives in Minnesota had trouble with his late model Cadillac DeVille. His battery kept dying every couple of days. He would get it jump started and it would run fine for a few days, but then would die again. So he took it to the dealership. They checked it out. They couldn't find anything wrong.

TOM: Really.

RAY: One morning after there had been several inches of snow he went out and sure enough, what? The battery was dead.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: So he jump started it, and he was bummed out. He went into town to get a cup of coffee at the local drug store. Now being that he lives in such a small town, he went and parked right in front of the drug store. And while he was drinking his coffee, he complained to the pharmacist about how his car was driving him nuts. The pharmacist asked, "Is that your car right out there?"

TOM: Want some Prozac?

RAY: Want me to slip you some pills in your coffee.

TOM: Yeah, you won't care.

RAY: And he said, "Why, yes, that is my car." And the pharmacist said, "I know why your battery is dying."

TOM: Wow, the pharmacist said that.

RAY: The pharmacist. Now it has nothing to do with his being a pharmacist.

TOM: Don't say that.

RAY: It has everything to do --

TOM: You'll have people struggling for weeks trying to figure out what the hell was the pharmacy have to do with it.

RAY: And you know almost everything the pharmacist knew. That's the hint.

TOM: We know almost everything. But do we know --

RAY: The answer.

TOM: The specific thing that he knew.

RAY: Not really, no. No, if you did, then --

TOM: We know almost everything, most of which is irrelevant.

RAY: No, no, no. I mean everything is good. I mean Minnesota, snow, small town, drug store, pharmacy, Prozac. We've got everything.

TOM: It was morning.

RAY: Morning, afternoon, evening.

TOM: I love it.


RAY: Now you've got to remember all the facts.

TOM: What are the facts?

RAY: Just go back and revisit --

TOM: Late model Cadillac; run for a few days; it was winter; the --

RAY: The dealership didn't find anything wrong with it because--

TOM: Because snow is the key.

RAY: There you go.

TOM: The snow is the key --

RAY: The snow is the key, Minnesota; snow. Druggist. Pharmacist.

TOM: The pharmacist.

RAY: Grouchy.

TOM: Looks out-- Ah hah. I've got it. His rear window defogger.

RAY: So close, but yet so far.

TOM: No?

RAY: What the pharmacist noticed was that there was snow on the roof of the car -- he had just started it and driven over there. There was probably even snow on the hood. But, there was no snow on the trunk because the trunk light was staying on; and that bulb, believe it or not, was generating enough heat to keep the snow from accumulating -- -- Can we play the tape from last week's show --

TOM: When I said, "What a great puzzler."

RAY: When he said, "Wow, what a puzzler!" What did you think it was going to be, Martians? You knew all the facts, what did you think the answer was going to be?

TOM: Well....

RAY: Give me a better answer than this.

TOM: Well, actually it's not bad. It's really not that bad, because it would mean that the light had been on for days, and that's why the trunk would have been really hot in there. Sure, I think it's fine. I'll go with it. Ha Ha.

RAY: It is rather disconcerting to get such a vote of confidence one week, and then the Bronx cheer --

TOM: I take it back. I take back the Bronx cheer; I think it's a great puzzler.

RAY: No you don't, not really.

TOM: No.

RAY: Anyway --

TOM: But we do have a winner?

RAY: Yes. The winner is Nathaniel Klumb. That's K-L-U-M-B, Nat, from Red Stick, Louisiana. You know where that is?

TOM: Yep. Baton Rouge --

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