The Cook

You are a cook in a remote area with no clocks or other way of keeping time other than a four-minute and a seven-minute hourglass. On the stove is a pot of boiling water. Jill asks you for a nine-minute egg, and you know she is a perfectionist and can tell if you undercook or overcook the egg by even a few seconds. How can you cook the egg for exactly 9 minutes?

Ah! Click here to read the solution.

1. Flip both hourglasses over and drop the egg into the water.
2. When the 4-minute timer runs out, flip it over (4 minutes elapsed, 3 remaining on the 7-minute timer).
3. When the 7-minute timer runs out, flip it over. (7 minutes elapsed, 1 remaining in the 4-minute timer)
4. When the 4-minute timer runs out, flip the 7-minute timer over. (8 minutes elapsed. 6 minutes remained in the 7-minute timer, but flipping it over leaves one minute’s worth of sand on top. When it runs out exactly nine minutes will have elapsed.

The Strange 2 Seconds

Noemie puts her coffee into the microwave, as she does every morning, for exactly 2 minutes. When the microwave goes off, she opens the door, but then closes the door again and sets the microwave for 2 more seconds. What good would 2 more seconds be?

Ah! Click here to read the solution.

To rotate the handle on the mug so she can comfortably remove it.