# M i n d s p O r T Weigh­ing Pros And Cones

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E4 Speak­ing of cones ( which we weren’t, but will in a mo’), I once de­cided to give my city’s law keep­ers a run for their money by steal­ing one in the dead of night while re­turn­ing from a party, when lo and be­hold, I got trapped by a cop who ma­te­ri­alised sud­denly like ec­to­plasm on the side­walk. Luck­ily, moolah quickly traded pock­ets and every­body walked away, none the sad­der for the day’s end. But I stray…

You have an or­di­nary pan bal­ance and four types of solid shapes — spheres, cubes, cylin­ders and cones. Now, ( a) 2 cylin­ders + 1 sphere bal­ance 2 cones + 3 cubes; ( b) 6 spheres bal­ance 1 cone + 1 cylin­der + 1 cube; ( c) 1 cylin­der + 1 cone bal­ance 2 spheres + 1 cube. Then you put 4 cones on one pan and the ques­tion turns out to be: which solids do you have to put on the other pan to re­store bal­ance? Also, what is the least num­ber of solids you can use?

DEAR MS ( The ques­tion was on solv­ing a door prob­lem in a ho­tel that had a com­mon toi­let be­tween two ad­ja­cent rooms, mean­ing, when one guest en­tered, he locked both doors, but when he ex­ited, he some­times for­got to open the other door as well! — MS)

Door- To- Door- HAN­DLES DEPT: If the doors open out­wards, then make a rope with two hooks to reach be­tween the two door han­dles. When in­side the toi­let, hook the two doors to­gether. You can’t get out if you for­get to un­hook the rope.

— Sai­fud­din Kho­mosi, saif_ sfk@ hot­mail. com