Puzzler Recycling

Has anyone else noticed that the puzzlers are just rehashed from old shows? What’s going on?

I predict that this week’s winner will be Matt Lewis from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Why? Because he won back in June of 2003. There doesn’t seem to be anything written about this in the FAQs or anywhere else. I’m not trying to be mean or spoil anyone’s fun, but I’m really confused.

Have you noticed that the show is made up entirely of reruns?

Actually, I didn’t. Does that mean that the syndicated “Dear Tom and Ray” newspaper column is a “rerun” too?

LittleMouse: What date(s) did each of the segments on the most recent show come from then? If you are certain they are all re-runs, you must know when they first appeared on Car Talk. When?

I don’t accept your premise.

I just don’t think you are right that the current shows are entirely made up of re-runs. There are certainly some shows that are entirely re-runs; after all, Tom and Ray and the CarTalk staff deserve to take holidays just like anybody else. And the beauty of Car Talk is that the topics discussed aren’t topical. Diagnosing and fixing a stuck brake caliper on a 1992 Mazda is the same now as when the car was new in 1992. As long as the show is interesting, I don’t care if some of them are re-runs. The only time I ever remember hearing a repeated call segment was when I had recently listened to one of the Car Talk CDs, and then the same call appeared on the show. But that’s just one call in thousands I’ve listened to over the years.

There are indeed segments on some shows that appear to be re-runs, like one call a few months ago Ray recommended to the caller when taking apart some complicated car gizmo, to take Poloroid photos first in order to remember how to put it back together. It’s a good idea to take photos, but who has a Poloroid camera these days? I don’t think you can even buy film for those cameras any more. But most of the calls – at least from what I hear – they seem to me to be of recent vintage. There’s no reason why not, as there is no limit to the number of problems that can go wrong with all the cars we Americans drive.

Without actual evidence, about all we can do is agree to disagree I guess.

GeorgeSanJose…nicely written. I agree with your thinking.

Just some added info:

Tom and Ray participated in the Suffolk University production of Car Talk: The Musical in March 2011. They provided the voices of the central character “The Wizard of Cahs” for the production.

I think they still produce some new shows but are taking it easy as they get older. They even mentioned President Obama on a show several weeks ago. Nobody knew Barack Obama in 2003.

It is just about impossible to think of a mathematical puzzle that has not been previously dissected on the Internet. When I was in high school, the students often challenged each other in the morning before classes with mathematical puzzles: Prove which is greater, π^e or e^π were typical problems. For every problem I can remember from high school, I have found a solution on the internet.

I have submitted several puzzlers to the black hole of Car Talk which I took from eastern European tech school entrance exams. (The problems were stated in English, which required the student to be proficient in English as well as mathematics.) Those problems, as far as I can tell, have never appeared on the internet. However, I don’t think Car Talk takes puzzlers from readers anymore. Most of the puzzlers over the past few months can be found in the Car Talk Puzzles Archives.

In closing, I’ve a puzzler to chew on:

Given the equation aⁿ + bⁿ = cⁿ, a, b, c, n integer, show that the equation has no solution for n > 2.

That should keep some posters busy for awhile.

For those interested in the make-up of the calls heard on the weekly Car Talk broadcasts, take a look at the Car Talk Wikipedia page. There’s some explanation of how it is done and data there on how many calls are current vs replays. On currently broadcast shows, even though most of the calls are recorded that week, there are some replay calls from as long as 9 years ago. The staff at Car Talk compiles the show call-by-call so that it is as interesting as possible to the typical array of listeners. Mostly new calls, a few older ones. Makes sense to me.

Nick, you are correct. I have noticed that a lot lately. The pickpocket puzzler was not new and the Ashley Judd call was from several years ago.

You are right about the puzzler recycling. Hovever, it seems there is a different winner. For example, the “old” pickpocket winner was Jay Marco of San Juan Capistrano, CA. The winner announced last week was Johnathan Dumoro from Mansfield Mass. Also interesting to note on the Car Talk web site that Jay was the winner in the written puzzler answer, and Johnathan was announced the winner over the air.

Does this mean a new winner was chosen on the recycled puzzler?

Oh, I forgot: Next weeks winner will be Bill Corbette from the fair city, Castine, Maine.

So what? If you don’t like it, don’t listen. Do you have the same complaint about the TV reruns? I’ve got to wonder about someone who remembers who won the puzzler in June 2003. Sounds like someone has even less of a life than I do!

I just heard that the winner of Bruno and the Bird Feeder for 4/21/2012 announced on 4/28/2012 was the same as 2003, http://cars.cartalk.com/content/puzzler/2003.html
In the show on 4/28/2012 they mentioned the new Fiat, so the entire show cannot be a rerun.