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You're a soldier in the dictator's army. The dictator is very impressed with your incredible abilities. He asks you this question:

There are 42 cars in this parking lot over there. How do you transport them to next town?

You're confused by this question, thinking it may be a trick question. He did not specify how to transport them. You cannot find a useful answer, so you finally decide to go with a joke, hoping it will not upset him:

Well, I cannot transport all of them at once, of course. So I just transport 2 times 11 and 2 times 10!

You're not sure how that made any sense, but surprisingly, instead of having you shot, he says:

No, no. You would transport 4 times 2.

Further confused, you ask how 4 times 2 is 42, but he brushes off that question and just confirms that, yes, that's how you would do it. He also confirms that it was not a pun.

How is 4 x 2 a solution? I must add that I do not know the answer, and I do not even know what kind of puzzle it is, so I'm grateful for any possible explanations.

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  • $\begingroup$ My ideas so far: * Something with different bases of numbers (I don't see how that could work here, though) * The dictator has a speech and hearing impediment and confused 'four times two' with 'fourty two', though it would be strange to say "There are 4 times 2 cars in that parking lot" $\endgroup$ – mafu Jul 10 '16 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ is this the same dictator that decreed that only red cars were to be allowed. $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jul 10 '16 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ If you do not know the answer or what kind of puzzle this is, I assume you did not invent it? So where did you pick it up / find it? If a puzzle on site is not your 'own', it's required to give reference (whenever possible.) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Jul 11 '16 at 13:23
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Supposing, we have exactly 42 cars and and no other means of transport and supposing,

6 people fit in one car/van, transporting 2 times 11 cars and 2 times 10 cars (= 4 transitions from old parking lot to new parking lot) is not possible because the soldiers must somehow get back to the old parking lot.

What you can do is going 4 times forth (and 3 times back) with 2 crews à 6 cars at most (that's what the dictator says).

The numbers at the beginning / end of the line denote the number of cars after each transaction.

In my original solution, I supposed that

the vans would have 12 seats and thus, only one car driving back is required. As Gordon K pointed out, a scenario with two cars à 6 persons is more likely.

In addition, the numbers at the end fit perfectly.

   Lot A        Lot B

    42                  initial number of cars
           6
    30 --------> 12     (1st time going forth)
       -------->
           6

           2
    32 <-------- 10

           6
    20 --------> 22     (2nd time going forth)
       -------->
           6

           2
    22 <-------- 20

           6
    10 --------> 32     (3rd time going forth)
       -------->
           6

           2
    12 <-------- 30

           6
     0 --------> 42     (4th and last time going forth)
       -------->
           6            (There is no space left for the dictator. But I guess 
                         the dictator has his private helicopter anyway, so 
                         no need to transport him in a van on some bad roads
                         which causes him back pain.)

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If this isn't the intended solution here, this deserves a puzzle for which it is. $\endgroup$ – humn Jul 10 '16 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ I think fitting 12 people in one car for the return is a bit unlikely. 6 could be possible, so your solution might work better if they came back in 2 cars, leaving then with 12 to take on their final journey. $\endgroup$ – Gordon K Jul 10 '16 at 22:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @GordonK Good point! I'll add your suggestion to the solution. I guess, the dictator has a private helicopter anyway :) Thank you! $\endgroup$ – Ching Chong Jul 10 '16 at 22:23
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4x2 is the two wheel drive transmission

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1
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He could be referring to:

Transporting the cars using a double decker car transporter capable of carrying 4 cars on each deck.. hence 'four times two' or 'four by two'.

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This may not be enough but transport 42 then maybe 4 x 2 is a solution if

Use times symbol X interchangeably with the Roman numeral X

Transport 4 times 2 → 4 x 2 → XXXX2 → XXXX11 which is 42

May transport them 42 times and travel back say by foot or another way.

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