Stevie Gets Out His Bike

May 12, 2003

RAY: Stevie had decided it was time to take his motorcycle to work. It had been in a garage all winter, and, finally, the weather had gotten nice.

So, he gets it out of mothballs, siphons gas out of the lawn mower, fires up the tank, and off he goes. He's enjoying the beautiful sunshine and the warm air. He comes to an intersection that he goes through every day...but he's usually driving his car, and when you're on a motorcycle you're keenly aware of everything around you.

He looks up at a building to his right, and he sees one of those big signs that display the time and temperature. He notices the time, and says, "Geez, I guess I'm really late for work! But, I'll stay late, not to worry!"

Then, the temperature comes up in Fahrenheit, and a few seconds later it comes up in centigrade. Stevie says, "Hah! That's interesting. The digits are exactly reversed." For example, it might have read 31 degrees Fahrenheit, and when it showed the centigrade reading it said "13." He thinks, "I've never seen that before."

The light turns green, and off he goes to work. Well, because he got to work so late, he decided to stay late. When he comes out of work, he realizes he should have checked the weather forecast, because it's drizzly, rainy, and cold, and he has to get back on his motorcycle.

He's riding home, when he comes to the same intersection. He thinks, "What are the chances I'd ever see that again?" He knows it's a different temperature because it's not warm and sunny like it was when he went to work, and now it's cold, drizzly, and rainy. He sees the temperature in Fahrenheit, and the temperature in centigrade.

TOM: Let me guess! They're the same digits reversed, again.

RAY: What are the chances? Only in a puzzler could this happen! The question is, what was the temperature in the morning when he went to work, and what was the temperature when he went home?


RAY: Now I don't know if there's an algebraic way to solve this, but I know how I'd solve it.

It turns out that in the morning when the sun was out and it was balmy, it was 28 degrees Celsius which is 82 degrees Fahrenheit-assuming that whatever algorithm the thing is using is rounding off to the closest whole number, you know.

At night when he came home and it was drizzly and rainy and ugly, it was 16 degrees and 61 degrees.

It has to be between 50 and 99 Fahrenheit. Below 50 is 10 degrees Centigrade, so you can't reverse the digits if it's nine degrees Centigrade, there's nothing to reverse. So between 50 and 99 which is the only possible range here, these are the only temperatures that in my humble opinion where they're reversed.

TOM: The winner is Colleen Novak, she's Kim's daughter. From Atlanta, Georgia.

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