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An American architect was in Norway for a business trip, and he was working with a Norwegian Foreman who was building a skyscraper. The Norwegian did not know how to say any numbers in English, but he did know a few English words which he used to communicate his thoughts to the architect. In one case, the American pointed to a wall on his blueprint: "What's the length of the wall in feet?" he asked. The Foreman drew three pictures next to one another:

  • The first was of a pile of dirt
  • The second was a large Maple tree
  • The third was of a squating dog which was defecating.

What was the length of the wall (excluding units)?

Hint:

When the Norwegian was explaining the defecating dog, he didn't seem to be pointing at the dog

My apologies for the many edits, this is my first post here. I swear I'll be more straightforward next time!

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    $\begingroup$ I was thinking something like "thirty-three feet" = "dirty tree feces", but then I remembered you said he didn't know any English numbers. $\endgroup$ – user88 Nov 21 '14 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ So... is my answer right? You seem to have made a lot of clarifying edits in that direction... $\endgroup$ – user88 Nov 21 '14 at 0:34
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    $\begingroup$ Just a clarification: If the foreman doesn't know english numbers, he cannot know that the word "tree" sounds like "three", right? If he would, he could just say so. By the way, why doesn't the foreman say "pile of dirt, maple tree, dog shit" instead of drawing it? Why doesn't he write down the numbers? $\endgroup$ – Florian F Nov 21 '14 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ @FlorianF: The exact same question I have raised in my answerm :Note: I still doubt, if the foreman can made up words to sound like/similar to the number(number representing the height of wall), why can't he just say it loud?? Is he mute/the architect deaf and the foreman doesn't know how to write in English??: $\endgroup$ – AeJey Nov 21 '14 at 9:38
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    $\begingroup$ Not to mention that I'm pretty sure numerals are the same in Norwegian as in English... $\endgroup$ – StephenTG Nov 21 '14 at 16:10
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The wall was

33 1/3 units long.

This is because

Dirt -> Thirt(y)
Tree -> Three
dog poop = turd > third

So it was

Dirt, a tree, and a turd.

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The answer is;

30, 43.2 ft

Or in words;

Thirty-hundred, forty-three, dot two.

Or in OTHER words;

Three-thousand, forty-three, decimal two. (3043.2)

How I got it:

Thirty;

Dirty (pile of dirt) sounds like 30

Forty-three;

Maple (sounds like April, the 4th month of the year) tree (sounds like 3)

Dot two;

Dog poo, need I say anything else?

Credit to AeJay for;

The "dog" in dog poo meaning "dot"

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice interpretation, but that wall is simply too long :) $\endgroup$ – schil227 Nov 21 '14 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Well it is a skyscraper lol. +1 for creativity? $\endgroup$ – warspyking Nov 21 '14 at 2:38
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I think it is

Just 33 feet

Pile of dirt

Dirty => Thirty

Maple Tree

Tree =>Three

a dog defecating

shit => feet?

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  • $\begingroup$ 33 Feet feet? It's a measurement of length, not area! $\endgroup$ – schil227 Nov 21 '14 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ @schil227 well when someone asks "What's the length of the wall in feet?" I would reply "Some number feet" $\endgroup$ – stackErr Nov 21 '14 at 2:48
  • $\begingroup$ @downvoter care to elaborate? $\endgroup$ – stackErr Nov 21 '14 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ I'm guessing it was every user that swore in their answer, which I don't agree with (a riddle's a riddle, ya know?) $\endgroup$ – schil227 Nov 21 '14 at 16:00
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I think the height of the wall is

33.4

The foreman may have used "The first was of a pile of dirt"

instead of thirty

The second was a large Maple tree

to represent three

and The third was of a squatting dog which was defecating

is dog poo and it can be interpreted as dot four(.4)

Combining all these we get

dirty tree dog poo >> thirty three dot four (33.4)


New Edits

From OP's comment on another answer ("It's a measurement of length, not area") I think he is looking for the area, not length.

So The last point "a squatting dog which was defecating" may be referring to

square feets (squat feces) [Since he is not English, he may be thinking as feets instead of feet]

So the final answers become

33 Sq.ft. (Thirty Three Square Feet)

Note: I still doubt, if the foreman can made up words to sound like/similar to the number(number representing the height of wall), why can't he just say it loud?? Is he mute/the architect deaf and the foreman doesn't know how to write in English??

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  • $\begingroup$ Quote: "God poo" LOL. $\endgroup$ – warspyking Nov 21 '14 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry. It was a type. Yet a funny mistake. :P $\endgroup$ – AeJey Nov 21 '14 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ You mean typo? Yes, I know. string.reverse("dog") == "god" $\endgroup$ – warspyking Nov 21 '14 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ I'll give you a +1, and you'll see why when someone finds the right answer $\endgroup$ – schil227 Nov 21 '14 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ nope, it's a measurement in feet; just looking for a number here (will update question) $\endgroup$ – schil227 Nov 21 '14 at 15:01

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