Where's Elsie?

Aug 06, 2007

How to survive the dog days of summer? With a classic Car Talk puzzler of course! While the Puzzler is on vacation, keep your noggin' cruising with a favorite from the archives. It sure beats reruns of 'Gilligan's Island' anyway.

RAY: Well, not everyone is familiar with Doug Mayer, our erstwhile web lackey. Dougie lives up in the wilds of New Hampshire in the mountains someplace -- and because he's been working so hard on our web site he has no more social life. In fact, his social has been confined to tending his flock of sheep. And while out one day looking over his ewes he noticed that one was missing. His favorite, Elsie.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: So Dougie went and talked to some of the neighbors and asked if they had noticed any strange cars in the area. He wanted to find out if someone had kidnapped one of his sheep.

One of the neighbors said, "Yeah. I did see a car, but I couldn't tell you what the make or the model is but it did have an unusual license plate." Now, considering that there are only about 7 people that live up there he could stake out the feed store and find this car -- he thought it would be nice to know the license plate number.

TOM: This is good!

RAY: His neighbor said, "The license plate was 4 x 4 x 8." Like a 4 x 4 truck. Dougie said, 'I know what kind of car that is and I know who stole Elsie.'

TOM: Wow!

RAY: What was it about this license plate that told him what make and model the car was?

RAY: Now this was a woodsy kind of puzzler. Get it? Because people up in the sticks where Doug Mayer lives burn wood in their stoves.

TOM: Ah ha!

RAY: And 4 x 4 x 8 is a cord of wood. Therefore this is a Honda...

TOM: Accord. Exactly!

RAY: Pretty good, huh?

TOM: Eh, not bad. Not bad.

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