Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Job Interview

"Come in," welcomed the interviewer.

The nervous interviewee, Tom, entered the the office, glancing back at the remaining interviewees sitting stiffly on their chairs.

"My name is Patrick," said the interviewer as he shut the door. Patrick was an elderly man with a slight stoop and a squinty eye, perhaps caused by the wearing of the monocle that now hung from his jacket pocket. "Sit down," gestured Patrick as he himself took a seat. The manner in which he spoke was somewhat strange; he seemed to group his sentences into groups of six words or so.

As Tom seated himself, he noticed that Patrick gave off a slight smell of something he could not quite identify at this moment.

"Alright," stated Patrick in his funny voice. "You must answer this question. There are two ropes. Each is one metre long. You have some matches. Each rope burns in one hour. The ropes do not burn linearly. That is, half the rope does not necessarily burn in half an hour. How do you measure out forty-five minutes?"

Tom thought for a while, and then smiled, even as that squinty eye stared hard.

Using only the matches and the two ropes, how can you measure out 45 minutes?

Job Interview Puzzle Solution

"You set light to both ends of the rope 1 and just one end of rope 2. It will take half an hour for the two burning ends of rope 1 to meet. Then you set light to the remaining end of rope 2. The time it will take for rope 2 to finish burning will be a further 15 minutes. Hence all together, both ropes burned in this manner will take 45 minutes to burn." Tom leaned back in his chair and folded his arms.

That squinty eye stared at him some more. "Very well," stated Patrick after some time. "We will let you know about the success of your application shortly." He stood and shook Tom's hand.
As Tom left the room, he grinned again. "Elderberries," he muttered to himself.