View Single Post
Old 06-12-2019, 05:53 PM
excavating (for a mind) is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: In a canyon, in a cavern
Posts: 1,529
A few things I find curious about the initial conditions.

Your "host" supplies you with four sandwiches and 4 pints of water, which is "enough for a few days." Now, most references I find on-line say a person will die in a few days without water, and that a person should expect to need at least two quarts per day, more in hot conditions. Now, you are on a desert island with no shade. The night sky is clear, which would suggest that you will have a cloudless day. I would expect a person exposed to the sun all day to need every bit of those 4 pints the first day. He might be able to survive on two pints per day, but he wouldn't be in very good condition after two days. To me, "a few days" suggests at least three, perhaps four, days. Lack of any vegetation on the island strongly suggests that there is no fresh water available.

As has been mentioned, the restriction on not calling "before daylight" is strange. My guess is this restriction is a hint, but perhaps it is merely obfuscation.

The sandwiches are interesting. Liverwurst and peanut butter on Rye. Another hint, or just obfuscation? Sure, liverwurst and peanut butter will have high protein and calorie, but if it's just a few days, it really wouldn't make that much difference if it was watercress and tomato. As mentioned, water is the big problem. A few days without food will make you very hungry, but it won't kill you (like a day without water in the sun can).

Waving at the surf and saying "that's salt" is also odd. One would expect salt water if the island was on an ocean, and it is easy to determine (which the marooned man does, in fact, do), so why does the kidnapper mention it?

I would imagine that "Your knowledge of astronomy is too weak to try to estimate your location by the stars" means that even locating Polaris is not in your skill set. That is, the intended solution does not involve looking at the stars.

The exactly one minute restriction on the battery is a bit strange. I understand it is a common device to limit phone use, but in real life, I don't think you could get that kind of accuracy in the amount of time on the phone.

Finally, without knowing east from west, north from south, before daybreak you have figured out what to do. The only suggestion made in this thread that seems to work for me is to call right at sunrise and tell them that you are on a desert island, the size of the island, that the sun is rising right now, and you will call again when the sun sets. Yes, this wouldn't work well close to an equinox, but the starting conditions seem to rule that out to begin with..