A Pumping Puzzler!

Dec 22, 2008

RAY: This was sent in by Burt Fury. Here it is:

One day I pulled into a gas station, just off I-85, outside of the historic village of Hillsborough, North Carolina, where I live. As I began to pump gas, I glanced over at the gentleman at the next pump and observed something that led me to believe that he was not from the state of North Carolina. In addition, I knew immediately what state he was from. He was about to speak to me but I spoke up first and said, 'Let me guess, you're from blank.'

'Yes!' he replied. 'How did you know that?'

The puzzler is, what did I observe and what state was he from?

Now, I did not see his license plate or inspection sticker or other marking on his car that would give me any clue as to what state he was from. Nor was he wearing any clothing, such as a baseball cap or college sweatshirt, that would have led me to believe he was from a certain state.
RAY: Here's the answer. What I noticed was that he was having difficulty pumping his own gasoline. He didn't know how to work the handle, put the credit card in and all, but you know there's a little learning curve.

And I deduced that he was one gas tank away from North Carolina. He was from New Jersey where it's illegal to pump your own gas.

TOM: Ohh.

RAY: Cute, eh? Who's our winner?

TOM: The winner this week is Neil Lutsky from Northfield, Minnesota, and for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Neil's going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division of cartalk.com, with which he can get one of our indentation specials.

RAY: What, what's that?

TOM: Well, we always get returns with indentations in them after the holidays. Usually a guy gives his wife or girlfriend a Car Talk CD or something, she takes one look at it and hits him over the head with it.

RAY: Oh, I get it, then he sends it back with the indentation in it.

TOM: Exactly. It's all in curves like a forehead but it's still playable.

RAY: Well, congratulations for being this week's puzzler winner, Neil!

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