Friday, January 29, 2010

Bowling Puzzler II: The Regulation Lane

A regulation bowling lane is something very familiar to everyone who bowls. Its dimensions are right there in front of you. For most of us, however, it is only viewed from one perspective, very obliquely from the side of the foul line. This gives the lane a foreshortened appearance. The dimensions of a lane are easy to look up, and I mentioned them just yesterday. I'll give you one. It is 60 feet in length from the foul line to the center of the mark for the 1 pin. As far as I know, we never have the benefit of seeing a lane from directly above. Bowling alleys are almost invariably indoor affairs, and they have very low ceilings. So... if you saw a bowling lane from above, could you recognize it? Could you pick it out of a lineup? Here's the question. It's a multiple choice, so don't fret.

The image below shows three bowling lanes. One of these is drawn to scale, so the length and width of the lane, gutters, pin deck, and pit have the correct dimensions relative to one another. Two are not drawn to scale. Which one is the regulation lane?

[Note: if you click on the image, it loses its proportionality, so make your guess based on the image in the post.]


Relatedly, I was hoping to be able find a high quality Google Earth image of an outdoor bowling facility since they must exist. Anybody up for the challenge?

11 comments:

  1. Can I get a 'C', Vanna?

    In truth, they all look a little longer than I would imagine a bowing lane. This may have something to do with the low ceilings/strange angle, or the fact that I'm usually drinking when I bowl.

    Looking forward to finding out :)

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  2. I gotta admit, visually, C looked like the right answer. Except that now that you've given us some key stats in the last couple of posts, B seems to calculate to the right answer.

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  3. Both are very good guesses. You each have a 1/3 chance of being correct.

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  4. My eyes tell me 'B' but my head tells me 'A'. I'm gonna lock in 'A', final answer.

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  5. Nice, I'm not quite ready to give up the answer, but I will note that one of you is correct.

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  6. The correct answer: A

    I was a bit incredulous myself, but it's the truth. It makes me feel like I am a better bowler than I thought.

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  7. Interesting to look at the lane that way. I'm still trying to find an outdoor bowling alley for you....

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  8. There is supposed to be an outdoor bowling lane on the patio at Splitsville in Arlington, Texas. Interestingly, that is the home of EB, HCLC Doc, and the USBC. I was unable to find it on Google Earth.

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  9. I don't feel so bad missing those 10 pins now.

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  10. There is an outdoor lane... I'll get a pic next time we're in that shopping center (just down the street) and post it on my blog. They're covered lanes...

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  11. That would be great. An aerial photo would be even better.

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