GeekDad Challenge of the Week Solution: Let’s Blow Stuff Up

Reading Time: 2 minutes

And it looked so easy! But last week’s July 4 problem induced the highest number of incorrect answers I’ve seen thus far, mostly engendered by people prioritizing short overall explosion times at the expense of our poor pyrotechnician’s safety. Thanks to you, emergency rooms were busy on the 4th. Here’s a recap of the puzzle:

How can our pyrotechnician light these seven fuses without finding himself next to any explosion? Specifically, starting at time zero, he must light one new fuse every five subsequent seconds (no waiting one second to offset the explosions!). Each fuse takes the indicated time to burn after which the bomb it infuses instantly goes boom. If our pyrotechnician is lighting a fuse at the same time that a bomb next to it explodes, he’s toast. It takes no time to travel between fuses. How can safely set off these explosions in the shortest amount of time?

There are a couple answers, with by far the most popular being 5, 1, 3, 2, 7, 4, 6, in which bomb #6 explodes 35 seconds after you light the fuse of bomb #5. Congrats to Lisa, who I assume is not, in fact, a Geek Dad, but is perhaps sympatico with Geek Dads despite chromosomal differences, and who in any case submitted a correct answer and was randomly selected as this week’s winner of this week’s $50.00 ThinkGeek Gift Certificate. For the rest of you partially or wholly dismembered puzzlers, the code GEEKDAD72JL will get you $10 off your next $50.00 ThinkGeek order. Please tune in Monday when Dave G gets all up in in the grill of another spectacularific, infarct-inducing bit of cerebral goodness.

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