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 The Gardener and the Cook (Posted on 2006-03-01)
The following special catch puzzle appeared in the issue of The Weekly Dispatch for All Fools' Day, 1900. It caused considerable amusement; for out of a very large body of competitors, many quite expert, not a single person solved it, though it ran for nearly a month.

" A race between a man and a woman that I happened to witness one All Fools' Day has fixed itself indelibly on my memory. It happened at a country-house, where the gardener and the cook decided to run a race to a point 100 feet straight away and return. I found that the gardener ran 3 feet at every bound and the cook only 2 feet, but then she made three bounds to his two. Now, what was the result of the race?"

A fortnight after publication the editor added the following note: "It has been suggested that perhaps there is a catch in the 'return,' but there is not. The race is to a point 100 feet away and home again—that is, a distance of 200 feet. One correspondent asks whether they take exactly the same time in turning, to which I reply that they do. Another seems to suspect that it is really a conundrum, and that the answer is that 'the result of the race was a (matrimonial) tie.' But I had no such intention. The puzzle is an arithmetical one, as it purports to be."

 See The Solution Submitted by goFish Rating: 3.6250 (8 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
 re(2): Solution? | Comment 5 of 29 |
(In reply to re: Solution? by Chelsea)

If we don't know whether the gardener or the cook is the woman, then by either line of reasoning--the extra distance a male gardener would have to travel or the doubly speedy female gardner--either way, the woman would have won the race.
 Posted by Charlie on 2006-03-01 15:18:48

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