President's Day

May 01, 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. Now this was sent in by, I can only assume, a young man whose name is Christopher, from Atlanta. I can't tell anything else, no last name or anything like that, but he's somewhere out in cyberspace. Sent by e-mail. Even though I don't accept e-mail puzzlers, I accepted this because it was grammatically correct and no spelling mistakes.

TOM: Good!

RAY: Here it is. It says, in honor of President's Day, and don't forget, this is for the kids in the group.

TOM: In honor of President's Day, which was what, five or six months ago?

RAY: Hey! No, this is a year old, this was!

TOM: Oh, OK.

RAY: It's for next year's President's Day.

TOM: In honor of President's Day, OK.

RAY: He writes: My friend, Max says to me, I just read that three of the first five presidents of the United States died, ready for this? On the Fourth of July. Did you know that? It was the fireworks that did it, I think. What do you think the odds of that happening are? I reply, No idea. But, I'll give you 10 to one odds that I can name at least one of the three. Now I don't know anything, he writes, about the first five presidents except that their names are: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. In that order.

TOM: That's four more than I knew.

RAY: Yeah, me too. Well, I knew Lincoln, and Reagan. How am I justified in offering my friend 10 to one odds when guessing randomly, I have only a three-in-five chance? That's the question.
RAY: What makes me so sure I can guess at least one of them on the first try? I think I'd preface this by saying this is for the kids in the audience.

TOM: Kids, huh?

RAY: Well, I think so.

TOM: Kids are supposed to know this?

RAY: Well, if it hadn't been Monroe, if Monroe hadn't been one of the three--he was the fifth guy--

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: That's the guy he's guessing.

TOM: Ohhhh.

RAY: If he hadn't been...

TOM: Why would you have to say that?

RAY: Why would you say three of the first five? The thing would have said three of the first four. Monroe must be one of them. Otherwise...

TOM: Well...well...

RAY: No, well, nothing!

TOM: Well, he could be!

RAY: Well, you could have said three of the first 20!

TOM: Exactly!

RAY: Well, that would have been pretty stupid, wouldn't it?

TOM: Well, sure. But three of the first five--you could have said that just to obfuscate!

RAY: I know...

TOM: Well, it would be true!

RAY: No, he says he read it someplace. And wherever he read it would have said three of the first four if Monroe weren't among them.

TOM: Yeah, you're right.

RAY: Of course. Don't try to cloud the issue!

TOM: Yeah. He read it somewhere. If he read it somewhere...but if I were trying to trick you…

RAY: As you always are.

TOM: I mean, that would be a great way to trick you! I could have said three of the first seven. And you would have picked number seven, and you would have been wrong!

RAY: No, maybe...

TOM: Because it was Monroe!

RAY: Maybe he died on the Fourth of July too.

TOM: Is it true?

RAY: I have no idea. Did you check this, Catherine? You didn't check it.

TOM: I don't believe...

RAY: Mayer, did you check it? No. Berman, did you check it? No. Rogers? No.

TOM: Dennis? No.

RAY: It's probably alright with this. It's all right--we'll get more mail. Do we have a winner?

TOM: It doesn't matter because we have a winner anyway. The winner this week is April Ralph. I got confused because I thought it said Ralph in April. The winner this week is April Ralph from League City--what is this?--Texas.

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