Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Law-Abiding Citizen

"Where do you think you're going with that thing?" asked the bus driver.

"Where do you think I'm going? On this bus, of course. Why, can't I?" replied the electrician.

"No, of course you can't," said the bus driver in a very patronising way. "It is forbidden to bring any object of length, width, or height greater than one metre on any bus. That thing you're carrying is longer than one metre."

"It's got nothing to do with a ticket," screeched the driver. "You could buy a dozen tickets, and I still would not let you ride on this bus!"

Irritation grew rapidly within the electrician. "Listen! I need to take this neon light tube to a ceremony. I don't have a car. The cabbies are on strike. And it's raining. What do you expect me to do!"

"I don't know, and I don't care anyway. You ain't gonna come on this bus with that tube. End of story."

Quickly, the electrician dashed into a shop next to the bus stop and came out with a package containing the neon tube. Smugly, with all thirty-two teeth on display, he showed the package to the bus driver. "Now can I come on the bus?"

With a snort, the bus driver pulled out a folding rule and performed a precise measurement. Scowling, he waved in the smug commuter.

How did the electrician manage to pack a 1.2 metre neon tube into a package less than one metre?

A Law-Abiding Citizen Puzzle Solution

The electrician packed the tube diagonally into a flat-ish squared package, with sides of less than one metre. More precisely, the sides were about 0.85 metres long, because [squareroot(1.2² / 2) = 0.84852...]