So, I went to the movies recently and saw the new Dan Brown flick Angels and Demons. Probably not much of a spoiler to mention that the plot suspense is derived from the need to defuse an antimatter bomb placed somewhere in Vatican city, and everybody's favorite symbologist is called in to decipher the clues that may help lead to its location.
And they only have until midnight to find it. And the baddies are going to kill a Cardinal every hour before the big bang just to prove how serious they are.
As a taunt, the baddies provide a webcam view of the bomb, which is in a place lit by artificial light. So, someone in the story has the brilliant idea of shutting off the power around town until they see the lights go off where the bomb is located, and the law enforcement folks dutifully begin working through each section of the power grid in sequence.
This is the point where I had some difficulty maintaining a sense of edge-of-your-seat suspense. It seemed to me that they could find out where the bomb was located before the baddies killed their first Cardinal by turning off half the power grid, then a quarter, then an eighth, and so on just like a binary search. I managed to force myself out of this funk and enjoy the movie by convincing myself that nobody in the story would have reasonably known about a binary search, but the point remains that relying on the right algorithm can save you a lot of brute force work.