# George was told to use the sticks to measure 2½ hours. What did he do?

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At a game show, George was given 3 wax sticks with a wick running along its length, each of which would take 2 hrs to burn, if lit at one end. The sticks were uneven in dimension (that is thicker at some places compared to the rest of the rope), hence if you cut the stick into two equal pieces you cannot assume that it would take one hour for them to burn.
George was told to use the sticks to measure 2½ hours. What did he do?

posted Sep 9, 2015

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Firstly, he set fire to both ends of the first stick, which took an hour to burn (as it was burning with twice the rate.) [Count 1 hour].

As soon as it finished burning, he set fire to both ends of the second stick and one end of the third stick simultaneously; the second stick took another one hour to burn [Count 2 hours].

As soon as the second stick has burned off, George lit the other end too, of the third stick. As this stick had already burned for one hour already, with one hour remaining, it took half an hour to burn the remaining half. [Count 2½ hours.]

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