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Enigmas & puzzles

By Ian Stewart   December 2006

In the pipeline

Prospectors had struck oil on the Lazy D ranch in the Texas panhandle, and Cyrus Q Harbuckle, the owner of the land, was installing pipelines to carry the oil from the wellhead to the boundaries of his property.

The Lazy D was rectangular in shape, and the plan was to run a pipe from the wellhead to each corner of the ranch.

“Whar’bouts is this h’yar well?” asked the pipeline engineer, who was seven feet tall without his Stetson and known as Shorty. “Ah gotta work out how much pipe to buy.”

“Don’ rightly recall,…

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