In each issue of the Automation Notebook we feature a section of brainteasers. These are the brainteaser answers from Issue 14, 2009 of the Automation Notebook. The brainteaser questions are repeated in black. The answers to the brainteaser questions are highlighted in red with explanations. You can view the brainteasers from Issue 14, 2009 without the answers here:

1. Chain Bane

Two pieces of chain were left over after a new piece of AutomationDirect’s automation equipment was installed in the factory. The links were circular, uniform in size and shape and made from ½ inch thick metal. One piece was exactly 3 feet long, the other 22” in length. The longer piece had 6 more links than the shorter, how many links were in each piece of chain?


After the first link, each successive link of a chain adds it’s own diameter less 2 thicknesses of the metal to the overall length of a chain.  So the additional 6 links, which add 14 inches to the length of the shorter chain give us
6(x-2(.5))= 14 or a link diameter of 3.33 inches.  Thus the 22 inch section has 9 links and the 36” section contains 15 links.

2. Drop Me a Letter

Can you think of a nine English letter word that continues to be a valid word as you remove letters one by one, all the way down to a single letter? There are several 😉

Answer: The typical answer for this puzzle is “Startling”, but several others are also known.  Some people don’t like the answers that use plurals as much as the singular words – but we didn’t specify this in the question.  Some of these nine-letter words could be 10 letter solutions if their plurals are used.

If you have thought of others, please leave a comment…

Startling, Starting, Staring, String, Sting, Sing, Sin, In, I
Stringier, Stringer, Stinger, Singer, Singe, Sine, Sin, In, I
Splitting, Slitting, Sitting, Siting, Sting, Sing, Sin, In, I
Scrapping, Crapping, Rapping, Raping, Aping, Ping, Pin, In, I
Strapping, Trapping, Rapping, Raping, Aping, Ping, Pin, In, I
Trappings, Trapping, Rapping, Raping, Aping, Ping, Pin, In, I
Wrappings, Wrapping, Rapping, Rapping, Aping, Ping, Pin, In, I
Cleansers, Cleanser, Cleanse, Cleans, Clans, Cans, Can, An, A
Splatters, Splatter, Platter, Latter, Later, Late, Ate, At, A
Replanted, Replated, Related, Elated, Elate, Late, Ate, At, A
Restarted, Restated, Restate, Estate, State, Sate, Ate, At, A
Drownings, Drowning, Downing, Owning, Owing, Wing, Win, In, I
Starvings, Starving, Staring, String, Sting, Ting, Tin, In, I
Discusses, Discuses, Discuss, Discus  , Discs, Disc, Dis, Is, I
Streambed, Streamed, Steamed, Teamed, Tamed, Tame, Tam, Am, A

3. Hex Vex

Shown below are 6 cable ties forming a regular hexagon. Can you add three cable-ties, and arrange all nine to form another six-sided figure? No stacking or loose ends allowed.




If you need some cable ties – check here: