Monthly Archives: November 2016

Puzzle #182: Alphabet Sets

Each letter of the alphabet has been put into one of three sets.

Set 1: A, E, H, I, O, R
Set 2: B, C, D, G, J, K, P, Q, T, U, V, W, Y, Z
Set 3: F, L, M, N, S, X

What is the rule for which set a letter goes into?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #180 Solution: Snakes

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Self-Driving Car Ethical Conundrum

A lot of the debate regarding self-driving cars has been how they should handle situations where there is a choice of killing two groups of people: the driver or several other people.

One issue is would you want to be in a car that would sacrifice you?

I think that the debaters have missed an important point. What is the answer for manually-operated cars? I have not seen anyone raise the point, and until you have such an answer, why worry about the problem for self-driving cars?

It is not as if the situation could never happen. Here is a close call.

Puzzle #181: Paths

You see a giant chessboard at a park. If you start from the square of your choice and walk from the center of the square to the center of an adjacent (but not diagonally adjacent) square and keep doing this, how long is the shortest route where you have visited each of the 64 squares at least once?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #179 Solution: Puppies

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Ripoff by Budget Car and Truck Rental

I have dealt with Budget Car and Truck Rental for several years. That has now come to an end as, recently, I was ripped off by them.

I wanted to rent a van. I made the reservation on the phone with their central reservation office. I asked what the price would be after selecting my options and got a number. I thought it a bit dear, but I could see how it was reasonable.

I was very unpleasantly surprised when I got my credit card bill. The charge for the van rental was about $100 more than the amount I had been told.

I called to complain about this and was given excuses. I had not been given a figure including insurance, and, of course, I had signed the papers. I had been dealing with Budget for years and was not expecting to get ripped off. The more fool me.

The point was made repeatedly that I had signed. Beware of people who insist on the letter of the law.

I was offered a compromise of being ripped off for only one-half of $100. I declined. I asked to have the manager call me; no such call ever happened.

I ended up paying, because it was less trouble that way. I would have had to file a police report, and there still would be no guarantee that I would not have to pay.

Enjoy your $100, Budget. I hope you lose thousands from this blog entry.

Odd Language #177: Two-Headed Monster?

In a recent E-mail, my contact suggested that I contact someone who is the “Head Office Manager”.

The issue: Head office is likely to have many managers. Which one? From context, it was the Head Office Office Manager, that is, the office manager at the head office. Many people do not like having the same word twice in a row even when they each serve a useful purpose.

Another example is “had had”. When I was growing up, I several times saw books where someone had crossed out one of the “had”s in the sequence “had had”. “had” is in the imperfect tense; “had had” is in the pluperfect tense. They do mean different things.

Puzzle #180: Snakes

Snakes are not so darling to most of us, but may well be prone to disappearing. They went off to find some place warm. You have been busy trying to find them.

There are ten of them. Some have red bands, some yellow, and some blue. They each have at least one colour of bands and maybe more. There are no more than three snakes of any colour combination. There is at least one snake of each one-colour combination, and all one-colour combinations have a different number of snakes.

There are seven snakes which have either red or yellow banding (or both), but not all three colours.

There are six snakes which have either red or blue banding (or both), but not all three colours.

There are five snakes which have either yellow or blue banding (or both), but not all three colours.

The highly-poisonous red-yellow-and-blue-banded variety is commonly misunderstood and just wants to be left alone. In this case, alone with your aquarium where it is warm, and there are fish to chow down.

How many of the red-yellow-and-blue-banded snakes are there?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #178 Solution: Kittens

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow