Every quarter, Registered Rep.'s “The Puzzler” offers a real-world puzzle and its solution, plus a contest for readers. The brainteasers are often real questions used by corporations to test the mental agility of job applicants. The most original response to the contest will receive a free copy of John Kador's career book, How to Ace the Brainteaser Job Interview, (McGraw-Hill, 2004).
Sequence puzzles set up a series of numbers or letters, which have some pattern or logic to them. The challenge is to identify that pattern or logic and determine the next element in the series. Many sequence puzzles call on higher-order math skills. But, unless you're applying for a job as an actuary or a statistician, you're probably not going to get mathematical sequences. Most of the puzzles encountered in job interviews are nonmath puzzles, so don't bother taking out your calculator. You won't need it for these puzzles. Most require nothing more than common sense.
Here are a few nonmath sequence puzzles that job candidates routinely encounter. What is the next element in each of the four series? Answers are below:
O, T, T, F, F, S, S, ___
4, 8, 12, 2, 1, 7, 6, ____
3, 3, 5, 4, 4, 3, 5, ____
There is a pattern to how the following letters are laid out. Complete the alphabet by adding the remaining letters according to this pattern.
The answer is E, for eight, which follows the sequence one, two, three, four, etc.
Each number represents a month of the year (January is 1, February is 2, etc.) presented in alphabetical order. Answer: 4, 8, 12, 2, 1, 7, 6, 3, 5, 11
Each number represents the number of letters in the integers one, two, three, four, etc. The answer is 5 because this is the number of letters in the word eight.
All the letters above the line are composed only of straight-line segments. The letters below the line are composed of curves.
Contest of the Month
These jumbled phrases have a common theme familiar to all Registered Rep. readers. Apply your pattern recognition skills to untangle and reconstruct the 10 jumbled entries.
RAWEST MORTALS BLOOM XENIX MERGER LOTS NO DOT FROM OR ALLERGENIC ERECT HOAXER CONVECT PINCH COIL SLOOP COURT PIG I NOT ALIENATING NICER PARAMOUR HIS BAN IS ON ANCIENT TERMINALS USE
Hint: Think public companies.
The solution and winner will be published in a future issue.
Please email your solution to [email protected], using the subject line, “June 2006 Puzzler Contest” by Aug. 1. Only one submission per reader, please. We will select a winner at random from all correct entries. Good luck.
Complete Puzzle Rules
The submission should include your name, address, affiliation and email address. No purchase required.
Entries must be received by Aug. 1. One entry per person. Employees of Registered Rep. magazine and its affiliated publications are ineligible. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Registered Rep. is not responsible for incomplete, lost, stolen, illegible, misdirected or late entries.
One winner will be selected on the basis of accuracy, originality and elegance, as judged by the magazine staff. In some cases, the winner will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries that contain a correct answer to the month's puzzle. The decision of the judges is final. We will notify the winner by email.
The winner will get his or her solution published in Registered Rep. The winner will also receive a copy of How to Ace the Brainteaser Job Interview inscribed by the author.
All entries become the property of Registered Rep. Each contest entrant consents to the publication of his or her name and puzzle answer, in any and all media and manner, now or hereafter known, in perpetuity without compensation. Registered Rep. is not responsible for any damages or losses relating to the puzzle or acceptance/use of any prize.