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John has quite a curious clock at home. Every hour it rings a bell as many times as the number of hours (At 2 o´clock it rings twice, at 3 o´clock thrice and so on), and it rings only once at a quarter past, half past and quarter to whichever hour corresponds (For example, one ring at quarter past three, one at half past three, one at quarter to 4, and 4 rings at 4 o´clock).

One day he came back home, and as soon as he entered the house he heard one ring. After a while, he heard another one, and after a while another one, and so on until he heard one ring 8 times total. What time was it when he arrived home?

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2 Answers 2

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It was

shortly after 12 o'clock

when John arrived home.

When John walked in, he heard the last chime of the 12 o'clock bells, followed by three quarter-hour bells, then the single 1 o'clock bell, and finally three more quarter-hour bells, for a total of eight bells heard in isolation.

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  • $\begingroup$ If this isn't correct, then the real answer is instead that the bells heard were the three quarter-hour bells, then the 1 o'clock bell, then three more quarter-hour bells, then the first of two bells for the 2 o'clock bells. (presumably he was struck deaf right after). Pretty much the same answer but shifted in time slightly. $\endgroup$
    – Kingrames
    Mar 20, 2023 at 22:10
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It was

Between Midnight and 1 AM on November 5th (or the day that DST ends) in a country that uses Daylight Savings Time! At exactly what would be 2 AM, the clock runs back to 1 AM and the ringing repeats the pattern for 1 ring being 1 AM. Thus this is a spread of time where there will be ELEVEN straight instances of only one ring in the clock's bells. Thus, He could have shown up at any moment between 12:01 AM and 1:00 AM, and would have heard eight straight instances of only one rung bell.

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    $\begingroup$ Minor nitpick, not all countries make the switch at the same date or time. The EU is offset from the US by two weeks, and does a coordinated change which occurs at different local times across time zones. The general approach works anywhere with DST, but the specific date/time makes it applicable only in the US. $\endgroup$ Mar 21, 2023 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for adding that, didn't know that. $\endgroup$
    – Kingrames
    Mar 22, 2023 at 16:40

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