A Calmer, Tanner, Fatter Tommy!

Apr 26, 2010

RAY: This was from my travel and leisure series. Some of you may know that Tommy recently returned from his annual winter vacation. He stored nuts all fall so he could save up for this. And I did notice on his return that he had changed. I noticed for example that he was calmer, more relaxed and more tan. And most importantly I noticed that he was fatter.

So I dashed him off a series of emails and when I looked at these emails, all of which consisted of one sentence, I noticed that each sentence contained a unique word. And all those unique words had something in common.

Now I'm going to give you the list of words and the sentences so you can appreciate the full flavor of this. Here are the words: pig, table, cab, real, yet, and ride. And here are the sentences:

Tommy, you're starting to look as fat as a pig.

Tommy, you must have spent way too much time at the dinner table.

Tommy, you obviously didn't walk much; you probably took a cab everywhere while you were away.

Thomas, you need to take a real good look in the mirror.

Dear Brother, it's not too late yet!

Tommy dearest, get on your bike and go for a long ride.

Now the order of these words doesn't matter. And I'm sure there are many, many other words that can be added to this list. In fact, I'll throw you a couple now. Sand, win. And I'm sure there are many dozens of others. What do all these words have in common? And there's a hint I'll give in addition to the extra words. None of them of them begins with the letter, 'a.'
RAY: Here's the answer. If you notice, the first letter in each of the words is from farther down in the alphabet than all the subsequent letters. And if we assigned a number to every letter in the alphabet, so that A is one, B is two, C is three and so on.

TOM: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

RAY: Then the numerical place in the alphabet of the first letter is equal to the sum of the numerical places of all the other letters. For example, Table: T is 20, A is 1, B is 2, L is 12, E is 5, so 1 plus 2 plus 12 plus 5 -

TOM: Is 20.

TOM: What are the chances of that?

RAY: So write the letters of the alphabet out, put numbers underneath them and see what you come up with. Anyway, do we have a winner?

TOM: Yes, our winner this week is Mindy Nissenberg from Atlanta, Georgia, and for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Mindy's going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which she can get a set of four Car Talk reusable shopping bags.

RAY: Congratulations, Mindy!

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