# Pipe Up and Down

### By Mukul Sharma

Published: Fri 27 Feb 2015, 2:39 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:19 PM

E4

Hey people, while submitting problems or puzzles for publication, please note that &answers have to be submitted too — in order to judge their level of suitability here — otherwise they will not be considered. I don’t want to get into protracted court cases with readers who disagree violently.

Okay now, want to know an amazing thing about your body which they didn’t teach you at Harvard Med? No? Too bad. The strongest muscle in your mainframe is the long lonely length along the leg’s calf. Here’s how you &can test it. Ask a well-built friend to sit on &your lap — all of perhaps 90kg of prime over-cholesteroled hulk on your thighs — and then lift that whole weight up by simply hoisting your feet up to the toes. Easy as peasy, right? Now stand up, hold him from the back, and try to do the same with your much-vaunted biceps and fathom the difference.

However, here’s something much more easy to do (at least according to me). Let’s say water is flowing through a metal pipe which is unbreakable, unbendable, opaque and infinitely long. How do you find out in which direction the water’s flowing inside?

## DEAR MS

(For leftovers from last time we have: “Three volumes of a book each an inch think are kept on a bookshelf. A worm bores through the first page of the first volume to the last page of the last volume. What is the distance travelled by it?” — MS)

The-Boring-Worm-Dept:

The distance travelled by the worm would depend upon the stacking order of the volumes. If the spines show they were stacked as I, II &and III from left to right, the worm has travelled one inch. If however the stacking order was &III, II and I, it bored three inches. If the order was III, I and II it bored two inches and if it was I, III and II, it travelled a negligible distance.

• Ramesh S Mahalingam, ramesh@idealmc.com

(Then there was the problem of the girl without a compass and a broken ruler who had to find the centre of a circle. — MS)

All that is required is to draw an angle of 90 degrees (and for this, the edges of the sheet of paper on which the circle is drawn will do). With a corner of this angle at any point on the circumference and the edges passing through the circle, trace out the edges. Join the points of intersection of the traces at edges with the circle to make a diameter. Repeat to get another diameter. The point where they intersect is the required centre.

(The other problem was to find out what is one-half of two-thirds of three-fourths of four-fifths of five-sixths of six-sevenths of seven-eighths of eight-ninths of nine-tenths of one hundred in less than 10 seconds in your head. — MS)

Vulgar-Fractions-Dept:

Working backwards, nine-tenth of 100 is 90, eight-ninth of 90 is 80, and so on, with the multiplier of each term exactly ten times the denominator. In this way, the last term is &one-half of 20. Hence the answer is 10.

In the fractions that are mentioned, all the numbers are repeated twice (once in the num-erator and then in the denominator), EXCEPT for 10, therefore, just divide 100 by the 10.

## ENDGAME(S)

1.   Why does ice remain frozen longer if it is wrapped in a wet piece of paper?

2.   What is an extremely common three-letter non-slang English word that has no vowels or semi-vowels like y or w in it? Incidentally, all standard dictionaries — either online or offline — list it. (And no, it’s not an exclamation, interjection or onomatopoeic concoction either.)

(To get in touch with Mukul, mail him at mukul.mindsport@gmail.com)

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