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Tankards For the Memory

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#28023
Fun:*** (2.88)
Difficulty:*** (2.33)
Submitted By:norcekrius****




Nora Shekrie led her brother and his wife through the front door of her favorite public house, the back room of the Sub Standard. She deposited Nelson and Sharon in the front booth and went up to the bar to order Horrid Hoagies and Lugar Lager for lunch. As she waited for the waiter to appear, the grizzled sexagenarian two stools away started into what sounded like a typical sailor's tall tale.

"Almost died that night, I did. Should have, by rights. We were about 50 miles off the Alaskan coast. I won't mention her name, but she's one of the Exxon supertankers -- enough bad news about them already. It was wintertime; water woulda been frozen except for the salt in it -- y'know sea water don't freeze like reg'lar, don'cha?
"Well, 'bout two in the A.M., I was doin' my work on the port stern, when somethin' jostled a little, don't know what. Lost my footing on the deck, went over the side, and the ship just kept glidin' past me. Thought I was dead, right there, no life jacket, nothin' but the usual work clothes. Started treadin' water, and prayed harder 'n ever in my life, which hadn't been much up 'til then. Just watched her go, knew that shoutin' wouldn't do no good, not in the wind and over them motors.
"Mebbe a minute later, mebbe two, I see some lights, red 'n' green, where they shouldn't oughta be, wrong places on the ship. I figgered right on that: someone had saw me, lettin' me know not to give up. I started a-swimmin', and they turned that ship around. Got to me, threw out a line, I tied it around me, an' my mates hauled me up to th'olrop -- that's the lowest deck on the ship. Medic said a minute or two more, and I'd'a been a goner."
He leaned back and finished his beer. He looked around at the handful of listeners. "Anyone want to hear about the marlin I hauled in fishing in Puget Sound? Talkin's thirsty work."

Nora raised her hand. "You old salt, you tell a good tale. A lie that good deserves reward. I can't stay to listen, but the next round's on me." She signaled the bartender to refill the sailor's glass and add it to her tab.

What gave him away?


Survival time in the water, before hypothermia sets in, is highly dependent on water temperature. At freezing (zero centigrade, implied by his tale), a relatively still person has perhaps 15 minutes before losing consciousness; a moving person will get exhausted sooner. Survival time is about 45 minutes, but that assumes that the searchers can find you: a fully dressed body with no flotation device would slip beneath the surface and be lost.
The problem with finding him in time is that it takes about 20 minutes and 3 miles to bring a cruising supertanker to a stop; going in a circle takes a little longer, but would return the ship to his original position sooner. Either way, he wouldn't be able to swim and wouldn't be able to tie a line around himself when the ship reached him. The signal lights are a nice idea, but wouldn't change the fatal outcome.


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Jan 10, 2006

Very good - you got me on this one. Keep them coming!
Jan 10, 2006

Another great one! You got me on this too!! Great job! I liked it!!
Jan 10, 2006

Enjoyed this one a lot. I also enjoyed the info given on hypothermia, and the time it would take for a rescue.

Well written and informative. Keep up the excellent work.
Jan 11, 2006

Ya got me!
Jan 12, 2006

Good one, though the story was obviously full of holes, making it a bit on the easy side.
Jan 13, 2006

i liked this teaser alot. thought the lie was about the water not being able to freeze the same. i did know he would not have been able to swim. very fun. keep up the good work.
Jan 16, 2006

great teaser.I loved the way they talked but mostly the teaser! Great job
Feb 03, 2006

Having had hypothermia from a really cold dive, I can vouch for this! I had on extra protective gear and still had the cold hit pretty quickly and had a bad case of the stupids within minutes (you lose you judgement as one of the first things with hypothermia). No more cold water dives for me!!

This dude would have been an ice cube in no time, in just his regular cloathes.
Jun 20, 2006

Nice job, as usual! Reminds me of the series The Deadliest Catch. Brrrrrrrr!

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