I’m a big fan of the radio talk show, Car Talk, but not so much Click & Clack’s weekly puzzler when it’s math-based (they are MIT alums after all). Math puzzlers just don’t hold my interest very much. So a few years back I submitted a suggested puzzler based on a true event. Hard to believe, but they never used my contribution on the air. So I recycle it here for any readers to mull over.
I was a graduate student at the University of Maine performing water quality studies with my faculty advisor one late fall day in a rural area. We completed our day's work and were just heading back to the university when we were involved in a minor traffic accident with another vehicle. (Fortunately for me, my advisor was driving the university station wagon at the time and the collegiate fathers could not later seek retribution on a lowly graduate student!).
We all drove to the town's police department to dutifully report the minor accident for insurance purposes. While waiting for the necessary paperwork to be filled out by the desk Sargent, I noticed a large wall map of the town with color-coded pins stuck into the paper map at various locations. The Sargent saw my interest and informed me that each color signified a type of accident or incident that had occurred within the town's borders. I noted that one pin was black and was located in what appeared to be the middle of a field, so I asked about it. Black, I was told, represented a fatality. Naturally curious, I asked the Sargent what had happened. He gave me a funny look and said:
"As near as we could tell from the scene, the deceased was alone, was the operator of two vehicles and was a pedestrian at the time of the accident."
How could that be??