Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

Can you solve the jail break riddle? – Dan Finkel

Can you solve the jail break riddle? – Dan Finkel


Your timing made you and your partner the most infamous bank robbers
in the west. Now, you’ll need to use that timing
to help you break out of jail. At the appointed time, you’ll be walking
in the yard near the electric fence. Your partner will flash you the signal, and exactly 45 seconds later, short out the fence circuit. It’ll automatically restart
after a second or two, but as long as you move fast, you’ll be home free. And then you notice, to your horror, that your watch is broken, and there’s no time to fix it. The signal is coming, and if you make even a small mistake
in counting off 45 seconds, you’ll get fried. Searching your pockets, you find something that might help: a lighter and two fuses you made earlier
in the prison work program. Each fuse is a length of flammable twine, built to be lit on either end
and burn for precisely one minute. The problem is that even though
the fuses look uniform, they don’t burn evenly, so if you cut one in half, for example, one side might burn longer than the other. Your partner is going to give
the signal any minute, and you’ll have to make your move. How can you use the fuses and lighter
to time exactly 45 seconds? Pause the video to figure it out yourself. Answer in 3 Answer in 2 Answer in 1 The length of the fuse may
not tell you anything, but you do know the fuses take exactly
60 seconds to burn from end to end. Here’s the key insight: If you start a fuse on one side
and it burns for 30 seconds, there’ll still be 30 seconds of fuse left. If you had started it from the other end, it would’ve reached the exact
same spot in thirty seconds. That means that if you lit it
from both ends simultaneously, it would burn out in precisely 30 seconds. But how will you time the last fifteen? That’ll have to come from the second fuse. If it were a 30 second fuse, you’d be able to use that same trick again to double the burning speed and
make it last exactly 15 seconds. And, you realize, you can
shorten the second fuse by lighting one end of it at the same time
as you light the first. At the moment the first burns out, you’ll be left with 30 seconds
on the second fuse. Just when you’ve got this all figured out, you see the signal from your partner, and spring into action. You gather the four ends of the two
fuses and light three of them. The moment the first burns out, you light the other end
of the second fuse. When it flickers and dies, you know that exactly 45
seconds have passed, and the electric fence is dead. By the time it hiccups back to life, you’re over the fence and home free.


Reader Comments

  1. Unlikely that you could produce a fuse so poorly that it did not burn evenly, and then duplicate that inconsistency perfectly for a second fuse to within a second of accuracy. More likely if they were poorly produced, the 2 fuses would have no similarity in the rate at which they burned.

  2. If you stated that a fuse doesnt burn at a constante pace, you cant just do the trick with 2 ends, I suposse this just jumps the rules of time a little, but you cant be sure a fire will brun at teh same pace to the other

  3. At 1:29 during the countdown it's awesome that the timer doesn't exactly the same since the fuses are random

  4. I'm more concerned that your partner looks like a minor and the one imprisoned looks like someone in their 50's

  5. It's kinda weird .You said that the fuse burn irregularly, this means that you cant make sure that the second fuse burns exactly 15 sec when the fire meet as it can be that the fire burns faster that the other one
    Example:After the 30 seconds the fire might had just burn 8 seconds and the fire that burns faster had just burns 22 seconds this is unpredictable

  6. Or just…..
    Don’t break your watch next time

    Jk jk
    Good riddle
    But I can never solve them so I just watch the whole vid (T ^ T)

  7. Since saying missisipi takes about one second, just count to 45 that way.
    PS: what type of prison allows prisoners to have lighters?!

  8. Better idea:
    Step 1: Get someone to throw you over
    Step 2: Burn the fence for others to escape
    Step 3: Use the string to make a bow to shoot the guard

  9. Why not light 1 fuse for 15 sec then cut it to stop the fire?? therefore you have an exactly 45 sec left when you light it the second time..

  10. I think the real reason I was the most infamous bank robber in the West was because of my ability to light three separate ends of rope at once

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