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Horology Howard

Situation puzzles (sometimes called lateral thinking puzzles) are ones where you need to ask lots of yes or no questions to figure out what happened in the situation. These are good puzzles for groups where one person knows the puzzle and answers the questions.


Puzzle ID:#12641
Fun:*** (2.5)
Difficulty:*** (2.82)
Submitted By:Codammanus***
Corrected By:boodler




Howard is almost obsessed with timing things. Unfortunately, he recently broke his most precious watch, so he buys a new timepiece. Walking from the jewelry store, he hears the gong of the clock in the Public Square which gongs at the hour and half hour. Just when he finishes walking up to his apartment someone asks him for the time. Howard immediately responds ''It's 2:35!'' Now, at the time he gives the time, Howard is not wearing a watch. The new watch is still in the box, which is sealed, and not transparent. Nor is it an audio-watch that tells time. He doesn't hear someone else say what time it is either. Howard also has a quirk about time. He never asks anyone for the time, never looks at a clock, a watch, or anything that tells time that isn't his and on his wrist. He also never counts past the number 12, but still remains efficient at whatever he does. Therefore, how did Howard know it was, precisely, 2:35. (Oh, and he was correct).


Howard went to the jewelry store right after his watch hit the floor. The time stopped on his watch at 2:00. Coming from the jewelry store, Howard hears the gong signaling 2:30 from the clock in the Public Square. (He knows an hour hasn't passed yet since his old watch bit the dust). As soon as he hears the gong, he begins to listen to the timepiece in the box, counting the ticks. He counts the ticks 12 at a time, each one being one second long. For every 12 ticks, he puts a mark on the watch box. For every 5 marks, he knows he has counted a minute. It just so happens that when he is asked the time, he just finished noting the 5th minute, and therefore can say correctly that it was 2:35.

Hint Explained:

"He never counted past 12, and he won't start now" should have reinforced the number 12 in your mind, reminding you that 12 is a multiple of 60 by 5. Therefore, Howard would be able to just count 5 sets of marks, each mark representing 12 seconds, without having to count past 12.


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