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The Puzzler # 49: If-Then

The Puzzler # 49: If-Then

Think you’re smart? Try these brainteasers that recruiters use in actual job interviews.

Please email your solution to John Kador at [email protected] using the subject line “If-Then.”

Deadline is Sept. 1, 2015.

One entrant with the most compelling solution (or a creative alternative) will receive a signed copy of John Kador’s How to Ace the Brainteaser Job Interview.

Good luck to all.

Brainteaser #2: NAME THE ACRONYM 

The Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, and other agencies quickly generated dozens of programs and commissions in response to the financial meltdown of 2008, spawning a bewildering alphabet soup of acronyms. See if you can match the following acronyms to the full names of the programs. (The answers are below.)  


a. Temporary Allocation Repossession Protocol
b. Treasury Adjustable Regulatory Process 
c. Troubled Asset Relief Program
d. Term Affordable Refinancing Program 


a. Commodity Fiscal Protocol Banking 
b. Commercial Fiduciary Policy Broker 
c. Crowd-Funded Public Bank 
d. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

3. TIPS  

a. Technical Interest Processing System 
b. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities
c. Transatlantic Investment Principal Sharing
d. Tax Information Profile Status 


a. Commercial Paper Funding Facility
b. Consumer Purchaser Financing Fund 
c. Capital Purchase Foreclosure Fund
d. Collateralized Principal Funding Factor 


a. Foreclosure Securitization Operations Commission 
b. Financial Stability Oversight Council
c. Fail-Safe Operating Characteristics
d. Federal Securitization Oversight Corporation 



a. Harmed Area Financing Act 
b. Housing Augmentation Funding Association
c. Hope and Financing Activity 
d. Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives 



a. Hedge Option Liquidity Capital
b. Home Owners’ Loan Corporation
c. Hazard Operating Languished Capital   
d. Household Ownership Leverage Commission 



a. Federal Capital Investment Corporation 
b. Financial Consumer Investment Committee 
c. Foreclosure Crisis Insolvency Council 
d. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission



a. International Swaps and Derivatives Association
b. Interest Securitization Derivative Agreement 
c. Investor Stimulus Development Agency 
d. Invested Subprime Derivative Activity 


10. PDCF 

a. Public Donor Collateral Fund 
b. Primary Dealer Credit Facility
c. Private Derivative Collateral Flow 
d. Proprietary Donor Credit Financing 

Solution to previous puzzler: HIDDEN COUNTRIES 

To recap: The names of two countries are spelled out but hidden in each of the 10 sentences. Can you discover the 20 countries?  

1. Vladimir and Olga are Soviet Names.

2. Have you ever heard an animal talk in dialect?

3. In letters to the press we denounced the wholesale ban on luxury imports.

4. Evening classes may help an amateur to improve his painting.

5. Children put on galoshes to go out in the rain.

6. Rash decisions may cause trouble, so thorough analysis is a necessity.

7. I first met Ben in his magnificent mansion; later he downplayed his digs, calling it “a fine palace.”  

8. If your exhaust pipe rusts, you just have to shrug and accept it.

9. Such a display could be either grand or rather vulgar.  

10. Give the dog a bone and give him a little water.

Solution: 1. Iran, Vietnam; 2. Malta, India; 3. Sweden, Lebanon; 4. Panama, Spain; 5. Tonga, Togo; 6. Lesotho, Ghana; 7. Benin, Nepal; 8. Peru, Uganda; 9. Chad, Andorra; 10. Gabon, Mali 

We received over 100 responses to this puzzle. The winner, selected by chance from fully correct submissions, is Steve Mazzei, a financial advisor with Raymond James Financial Services in Kingston, N.Y. This is Steve’s clever submission:  

In my travels between IRAN and VIETNAM, I recalled an important meeting in MALTA that included representatives from INDIA, LEBANON and PANAMA.  They were discussing an airline service from SWEDEN to TONGA and TOGO.  They could not start their meeting because the representative from GHANA was held up at customs in LESOTHO after flying in from SPAIN. This was unfortunate as the BENIN ambassador was lost in the mountains of NEPAL and could not be reached. This left it up to his lawyer friend from PERU who was living in UGANDA. After negotiation, the representative was allowed to leave for CHAD, by way of ANDORRA, and by some miracle made it to MALI without incident. He could not help but think he was a GABON.


1. c 
2. d
3. b 
4. a
5. b
6. d
7. b
8. d
9. a
10. b

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