For Whom the Dart Tows

Sep 03, 2007

*Just in time for the last weekend of the summer... a steamy, classic Car Talk puzzler. Perfect for the grill. (Even better with relish on top.)

RAY: Many years ago, I received a late night phone call from my brother: I knew it was one of two things -- either one of his wives had thrown him out and he needed a place to sleep, or his car had broken down.

TOM: Or both!

RAY: Right. This time, though, it's his car. He says, "I need help. Do you have a rope to tow with?" I say, "Yeah. Sure. I'll be right there."

So, I watch Ted Koppel and the "Tonight Show," I take a shower and I make a sandwich and then I decide to head out and give him a hand.

I arrive with my car; tow rope in hand. He's asleep in the car, snuggled up with one of his favorite raccoons. He wakes up, and tells me what's wrong. I say, "I can't tow you, you knucklehead." And Tommy says, "We only have a few blocks to go. I'll tow you." I say, "Huh?" But he's right.

The question is, what's wrong with his car? Now, don't forget: Tommy's the one that broke down and he's going to tow me back.
RAY: The reason Tommy can tow me and I can't tow him is that his brakes have failed. Because I have a rope, if I tow him when I stop, he's going to slam into me. But if he tows me and when he needs to stop, he can signal me and by my stepping on the brakes --

TOM: You stop me.

RAY: Exactly. I will stop him as well. Pretty cute! Huh?

TOM: That's very good.

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