The Mongolian Postal Service

The Mongolian Postal Service has a strict rule stating that items sent through the post must not be more than 1 meter long. Longer items must be sent by private carriers, and they are notorious for their expense, inefficiency, and high rate of loss of goods.

Boris was desperate to send his valuable and ancient flute safely through the post. Unfortunately, it was 1.4 meters long and could not be disassembled as it was one long hollow piece of ebony. Eventually he hit on a way to send it through the Mongolian Postal Service. What did Boris do?

Answer

Boris placed the flute diagonally in a suitcase that measured 1 meter by 1 meter. This suitcase was quite acceptable to the postal officials its sides measured 1 meter. From corner to corner, it measures 1.414 meters – the square root of two.