Last week I had given a list of 26 words – namely, ‘ORSES, DAWN, YOURSELF, PAYMENT, PERON, VESCENCE, POLICE, RETIREMENT, AN EYE, E. CHAUCER , SUTHERLAND, LEATHER, SIS, SIR, POPULATION, RELIEF, TICKETS, CONAN DOYLE, WILLIAMS, MATION, IA, LA FRANCE, A MATCH?, BREAKFAST, MISTRESS, MARX BROTHERS – and asked what was the logical connection between them.
It’s a really tough one but once you make a breakthrough it’s also one of the most enjoyable, intelligent, wacky, lateral and wayout exercises. Therefore I’m going to get you started down that road. Remember A for apple, B for ball, C for cat, etc? Well it’s the same principle working here in these words. The first is ‘ay for ‘orses (as in “hay for horses”); B for Dawn (before dawn); C for Yourself (see for yourself); D for Payment (defer payment); E for Peron (Eva Peron, wife of Argentine President Juan Perón); F for Vescence (effervescence); G for Police (chief of police); etc. But try the rest now yourself and you’ll still find it difficult as I did when I first laid my eyeballs on them and in fact some of them take a slight while to sink in before the “Aha!” moment kicks in. (For me W was a toughest to figure out.)
Meanwhile M G Prabhakar at email@example.com has a query he needs solved. It goes like this: A small steel ball of say 10 mm diameter (like those used in ball bearings) dropped from a height on to a plastic sheet dampens and remains static whereas the same ball when dropped on a wooden or any other surface is more dynamic and rolls. Please tell me the logic.
The three problems were: “(1) In a 12-hour period from noon to midnight how many times does the minute hand overtake the hour hand? (2) If a bottle and cap together cost 10 rupees fifty paise and the bottle costs 10 rupees more than the cap, then how much does the cap cost? (3) A frog is at the bottom of a 30 foot well. Each hour he climbs three feet and slips back two feet. How many hours does it take him to get out?”
(1) The minute hand overtakes the hour hand eleven times from noon to midnight. At noon and midnight, both hands come together simultaneously. (2) The cap costs fifty paisa only. (3) The frog takes twenty seven hours to come out of the well because the last jump he will not slip back.
-- Shashi Shekher Thakur, firstname.lastname@example.org
Although SST has got the first and third problems correct the second is wrong. If a bottle and a cap together cost 10 rupees fifty paise and the bottle costs 10 rupees more than the cap, then the cap can’t possibly cost 50 paise because in that case the bottle by itself would have to cost 10 rupees 50 paise to be 10 rupees more than the cap and the total would be 11 rupees. The correct answer is: the cap costs 25 paise. (And the bottle cost 10 rupees 25 paise!)
The other question asked was how come headache balms work.
Balms contain mild irritant compounds which stimulate the sensory nerve endings in the skin where they are applied. In most cases a headache is due to impulses coming from deeper muscles and it so happens that nerves carrying impulses from the skin and those from deeper lying muscles in the same area are branches of the same nerve. The barrage of sensory impulses coming from the skin after the application of the balm interferes with the passage of impulses from the deeper muscles to the head and thus the transmission of these is partially or even completely blocked.
-- B Venkat, email@example.com
But Google This Show
There are two gates; one goes to heaven and the other to hell, but there is no board indicating so. Two men guard them -- one at each gate. One of the two men always speaks truth and the other always lies. Both of them know their own and the other’s trait. They also know which gate leads where. You however don’t know this and you also don’t know which gatekeeper is the liar or the truthful one. How do you find out correctly which gate goes to heaven (or hell) by asking ONLY ONE question and only to one of the two gate keepers? -- Submitted by A V R Murthy, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Okay here’s a hint given by AVR: This riddle can be solved with a double negative question which most people don’t try.)
— Sharma is a scriptwriter and former editor of Science Today magazine.