Question Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of Puzzles Answer
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PROPOSITION—Find the weight of the turkey in troy and avoirdupois weight.

HERE IS A PRETTY problem borrowed from a Thanksgiving day transaction, which shows how Dr. Shylock was beaten at his own game. It appears that the butcher in a neighboring town received an order from the druggist for a turkey for the Thanksgiving day dinner, and in delivering the same the butcher accompanied it with the bill, and a few remarks regarding the reasonable price, which he pointed out as amounting to exactly 1 cent an ounce.

Upon the doctor’s questioning the weight of the turkey the butcher challenged him to weigh it and pay according to his own scales. That was exactly what Dr Shylock was aiming at, for he promptly weighed the turkey and showed the discomfited butcher that it weighed a certain number of ounces less than he had claimed for it.

The butcher was an honest, ingenuous sort, of a fellow, so he stood by his offer to accept the other’s scales, but as he wished to make some purchases from the doctor, who kept what was much in the nature of a general store, he asked, “What do you ask for rock salt?”

“Three cents a pound,” replied the doctor, “weigh me as many pounds of salt as I sold you ounces, of turkey, but as I don’t like your scales altogether we will weigh it over again at my place and I will pay you the difference on our bills over there.”

The doctor thinking that if the scales worked in his favor the first time they should do so again, accepted the proposition and went over with his salt, but to his surprise found that the butcher’s scales recorded an even number of pounds less than he had weighed at his own store.

It would appear at the first blush that very little—not to say ambiguous—data has been furnished for this problem, but after witnessing the expertness at a recent turkey raffle, where the birds were awarded to such as would guess the nearest to the correct weight, I am satisfied that our puzzlists can guess the correct weight of that turkey, which will prove to be the key to the whole situation as giving the price, as well as liberal portion of salt required to prove the veracity of this truthful story.

THAT TURKEY weighed just 24 pounds, which would cost therefore 16 times 24, or $3.84, Dr. Shylock played a trick on the butcher by weighing the turkey on his own scales, whereby in troy or apothecary’s weight, it would weigh but 350 ounces instead of 384, as claimed on the butcher’s scales.

The unsophisticated butcher stood the loss of 34 cents, and to show that he had no ill feeling ordered as many pounds of rock salt at 3 cents a pound as he had sold ounces of turkey.

The doctor thought that if he beat the butcher on ounces he would also get ahead of him on pounds, weighed out 350 pounds of salt, which, according to his own scales should be worth $10.50, but when he reweighed it, as per agreement, on the butcher’s scales, 350 pounds troy only weighs 288 pounds (avoirdupois) on the butcher’s scales, therefore the butcher gained 62 pounds of salt at 3 cents a pound, which would be worth $1.86 to offset his loss of 34 cents on the turkey. So the answer to the problem is that the butcher comes out $1.52 ahead on the whole deal.


Why does a goose go into the water? For diver’s reasons.

Why does a goose come out of the water? For diver’s reasons.

Why is a stick of candy like a race horse? Because the more you lick it the faster it goes.

When may an army be said to be totally destroyed? When its soldiers are all in quarters.

Which is swifter, heat, or cold? Heat because you can catch cold.

Why is a young lady like a letter? Because if she isn’t well stamped the mails (males) won’t take her.

Why are dudes no longer imported into this country from England? Because a Yankee dude’II do (Yankee doodle doo).

What flowers can be found between the nose and chin? Tulips (two lips).

Why is a dude’s hat like swearing? Because it is something to avoid.

How many wives is a man lawfully entitled to by the English prayer-book? Sixteen Four richer, four poorer, four better, four worse.

Why is a bright young lady like a spoon in a cup of tea? Because she is interesting (in tea resting).

Why does a young man think his sweetheart is like a door knob? Because she is something to adore (a door).

What is the shape of a kiss? Elliptical.

Why is a kiss like gossip? Because it goes from mouth to mouth.

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