March 17, 2010

A Puzzle

My friend Pat sent me this puzzle.

Which number completes the following series: SCOTLAND 27186453, LOTS 7293, LOAN 8367, AND _____.

Put your guess answer in the comments. Cryptologists and computer programmers should be able to answer this. Yes, I solved it. I'll put up the answer and how I found it tomorrow.

Well, I see that most of you got the correct answer. Some of you even showed your work. For those of you who didn't get the correct answer, or didn't have a clue, the solution follows.

It's a simple progressive substitution. We start with SCOTLAND.


For the next word, we increment the numbers by 1.


For the next word, we do it again.


Continuing on, we see that the answer has to be 786


Congrats to all of my smart readers (that would be most of them) who solved this puzzle.

Posted by denny at March 17, 2010 10:45 PM  

I'm going with 786. I've been a long time lurker, but almost a first time commenter. I'd be an embarrassed EE if I was wrong :-). Anyway, great site and I love the rants from Ron and general bashing of our Congress critters.

Posted by: Bill on March 17, 2010 11:13 PM

AND = 786

Posted by: Alxandro on March 17, 2010 11:40 PM

786, Easy

Posted by: Brad on March 17, 2010 11:44 PM

I'm going with 786 as well...but I was told there'd be no math!

Posted by: John Galt on March 17, 2010 11:48 PM

786 is my call too.


Posted by: Pete on March 18, 2010 12:22 AM

Yeah, it wasn't that hard, but it's fun. 786

Posted by: Woody on March 18, 2010 12:35 AM

Why not 453?

Posted by: Brian on March 18, 2010 12:52 AM

As an old IBM/360/370 Dos Assembler Programmer....a quick cursory exam says none of the answers are right but I just got off work and won't be able to do anything till tomorrow night till about 12...can ya' hold off till then for the answer...? HeHe

Posted by: Dale on March 18, 2010 01:25 AM

The Logic of the (Poorly Illogical) sequence says there are actually 2 possible answers. The first and theoretically correct answer is 893....the next POSSIBLE answer is 890. The sequences do not have enough continuance to arrive at a perfectly logical conclusion to the theorem...Sorry....couldn't wait till tomorrow night. Let the fun begin....

Posted by: Dale on March 18, 2010 02:13 AM

I don't know anything about cryptography, but is this how you got 786?

A = 4 in word #1; add 1 for the place of each subsequent word and A = 4 + 3 = 7 in the last word given.

N = 5 in word #1, so N + 3 = 8

D = 3 in word #1, so D + 3 = 6

That's probably completely wrong, but it was the only way I could see to manufacture 786 out of that!

OTOH, if you wanted to assign a number to a string of letters, why couldn't "AND" = 453 ?

Incidentally, I deem that I have solved this.

Posted by: PeggyU on March 18, 2010 02:28 AM

786, Peggy has the right formula.

Posted by: bob on March 18, 2010 04:47 AM

You fellers musta had that New Math in skule or sumpin'...I looked at it, & I thunk it was harder'n' Chinese Algeber...But I never was any good at cipherin', anyhow...

Posted by: Sandy G. on March 18, 2010 06:45 AM

Easy. The answer is potato. If this is wrong, I will ask Congress to "deem and pass" this answer.

Posted by: Dennis on March 18, 2010 07:20 AM

Once I took my maths head of and thought before I moved, the answer was there in front of my eyes!


Aye It taks a Scot tae do this wee puzzle :-)

All best wishes to ye all in the Democratic Republic of America ;-(

Posted by: Jock MacHinery on March 18, 2010 07:34 AM

786-rolling letter wheel, increasing by one for each word.
word: 1 2 3 4
letter a: 4 5 6 7
letter n: 5 6 7 8
letter d: 3 4 5 6
and so on. The difficulty in this is when wthe entire alphabet is used, the multiple digits in valuses greater than 9 can confuse the message.

Posted by: Steve_in_CA on March 18, 2010 08:44 AM

I figured it the way Steve did as well. Stumbled by accident thinking that the word SCOTLAND would give me the number/letter substitution, then realized that the letters and numbers didn't match in the following words. I thought 453 immediately but soon saw the error of my ways! Then it was just seeing the 'one more' each time a letter apppeared in a subsequent word. So I got 786 as well. Watch, I'm wrong!

Posted by: Harry G. Pellegrin on March 18, 2010 09:08 AM

I deem 453 to be correct.

Posted by: Brian on March 18, 2010 09:09 AM

Put me down for 786. Same process as Harry ending with Steve's formula. I first thought 453 looked like it (nice and simple) until I noticed the different values for a and n in subsequent words and decided it had to be the rolling letter wheel, as Steve calls it.

Posted by: Chuck on March 18, 2010 09:33 AM

Haven't glanced at the comments above. Its 786.
Put the numerals under the corresponding letters in SCOTLAND, LOTS and LOAN, and the numerals increase in value by 1 with each new word. AND, using the numerals from Scotland, is 453, Add 3 to each and its 786. Now to post this and look at it again to see if there's another pattern that makes one or more of the other choices right.

Posted by: Cap'n Ron on March 18, 2010 09:34 AM

I believe you would need 1 more sequence to know for sure. It could be 786 or 897. I say this because you can't tell if the variable is being incremented or doubled.

Posted by: Lau on March 18, 2010 09:53 AM

Each word increases the number by 1

Posted by: Jim Mathe on March 18, 2010 11:57 AM

What the fuck are y'all talking about?

Posted by: kerrcarto on March 18, 2010 01:14 PM ain't that simple.....I stick by my original conclusion

Posted by: Dale on March 18, 2010 01:55 PM

Dale - It is that simple. Show your work as to how you got your answers.

Posted by: Denny on March 18, 2010 03:09 PM

This is when I'm allowed to say:
I'm a foreigner and I don't speak your language.
I'm an old, tired lady.
I know the answer but do the work yourself, kiddo!

I truly admire you all...

Posted by: Claudia on March 18, 2010 03:10 PM

I fed the numbers into a computer program I downloaded from the University of East Anglia and it says the answer to this puzzle will be +45 degrees Celsius in 2042. I would show my work, but the program ate it. Please address my Nobel prize to….

Posted by: Georg Felis on March 18, 2010 05:09 PM

Georg wins! Even if the answer is 786!

Posted by: PeggyU on March 18, 2010 05:24 PM has the answer...go ahead, google it.

Posted by: joe on March 18, 2010 08:57 PM

Georg, You da man!

Posted by: Ryan on March 18, 2010 10:30 PM

Georg is a genius...We're honoured...Could a bunch of us go with him for the Nobel?

Posted by: Claudia on March 18, 2010 11:15 PM

If it's not from Scotland, it's crap.

Posted by: Alxandro on March 18, 2010 11:57 PM

The only letters that are relevant are AND...their first values are 453....the next appearance of the letters AN show an increase in their value of 2...(4)becomes 6(5) becomes 7. The next appearance of AN then becomes 89. Since there is no other occurrence of the letter D until the last and only other appearance of the letter D, it either remains the same 3,(the logical conclusion), or it possibly could be 7 based on the increases with A & N....Forgot where I came up with my 0 value for was late and I was getting imbibed at the time. The puzzle is flawed in it's logic. I understand how most came up with their answers, but I stick by my original conclusion....the correct answer is not any of the numbers listed.

Posted by: Dale on March 19, 2010 12:55 AM

The answer is "less than a billion dollars" and that answer is good for the American people.

Posted by: Joe Moer on March 19, 2010 08:01 AM

You got it wrong, Dennis. Wasn't it potatoe? The only thing I could figger was it shoulda been: Scotland 1931520121144 lots 13162120 loan 1417316 and 3166 so the answer WAS 3, right?

Posted by: Al on March 19, 2010 09:22 AM

gonna go out on a limb and admit it: why would I solve this when google is right at the top of my webpage?

I cheated to "solve" it - but I'm willing to bet a lot of the people who "solved" it did what I did! ;)

Posted by: matt on March 19, 2010 11:35 AM

It doesn't matter what you say the answer is, Jug Head is going to push and persuade you until you say what he wants you to say no matter how dumb it is.

Posted by: Bill on March 19, 2010 11:35 AM

786 easy

Posted by: Dave on March 19, 2010 07:41 PM
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