You have three hour glasses 9, 11 and 14 minutes. You need to measure 7 minutes. How do you get 7 minutes in the shortest elapsed time and the longest elapsed time?

Easy first answer, not sure if it's the shortest: Fire up the 9 and the 11. When the 9 finishes, restart it. When the 11 finishes, fire up the 14. When the second 9 finishes, you have 7 minutes before the 14 ends.

I've heard it takes forever to grow a woman from the ground

It's possible to measure 7 minutes in 16 minutes elapsed time, starting with all hourglasses drained. I think that's the shortest possible.

I don't think there is any "longest elapsed time" - you can extend the process indefinitely.

Nick, in your solution you don't need the 14 at all. There were 7 minutes between the end of the 11 and the end of the second 9. 18 minutes elapsed. (Rather than 25 using the 14.)

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Nick George
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Well, I'll be damned. It would seem that 11-9=2, not 3.

Eric Pascarello
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Ah, I messed up the question, I typed one while preparing another one.

The question should read:

You have three hour glasses 9, 11 and 14 minutes. You need to measure 7 minutes. How do you get 7 minutes in the shortest elapsed time using all three and the shortest elapsed time using only 2 of the three timers. Your choice with two of them.

You have three hour glasses 9, 11 and 14 minutes. You need to measure 7 minutes. How do you get 7 minutes in the shortest elapsed time using all three and the shortest elapsed time using only 2 of the three timers. Your choice with two of them.

Are we allowed to stop an hourglass halfway? If allowed, I think the shortest elapsed time using all three hourglasses is 16.

The shortest elapsed time for two hourglasses is 18. I chose 9 and 11. Start both hourglasses. Restart the 9 mins hour glass when it ends. When the 11 mins hourglass ends, the 9 mins hour glass left 7 minutes.

Eric Pascarello
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How would you know that it was exactly halfway?

Jim Yingst
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I think Joyce means, are we allowed to set an hourglass on its side while it's running, thereby stopping it (presumably to be restarted later). That's what I did to get 16 too. I also agree that 18 minutes using the 9 and 11 seems to be the best possible solution for two hourglasses. Note that this solution was also present in Nick's earlier answer.

Joyce Lee
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Originally posted by Eric Pascarello: How would you know that it was exactly halfway?

Okay, not halfway. Start three hourglasses. When the 9 mins hourglass ends, stops the 14 mins hourglass (left 5 mins). The 11 mins hourglass left two minutes and when this ends, the 14 mins hourglass can be continued for the next 5 mins.