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Latest Friday’s Puzzle – THESE are the kind of Mind Twisters that I like!

May 9, 2010

Richard Wiseman’s Blog has another Friday puzzle up – this one is just lovely!

Imagine that you are trapped in a prison cell.

The only way out is through the door, but the door is locked.  There is a combination lock on the door, and the following sequence of numbers appears above the lock:

1
11
21
1211
111221
312211

…to open the door you have to enter the next number in the sequence into the combination lock.  What number should you enter?

As with any good puzzle, the answer is in looking at the problem differently.

In this case, the trick is in realizing that it’s NOT a math puzzle – it’s a word puzzle.

Solution after the break:

It builds perfectly naturally – start off with the first line:

1

What do you have here?  Remember it’s a word problem, not a math problem, so say it –

One.

Okay be more specific, how many ones do you have?

One one.

And the next line say what you have.

two ones.

and then you have “one two, one one”

are you seeing the pattern yet?  Great! now go to the last line:

312211

What do you have here?

one three, one one, two twos, two ones – or:

13112221

and that’s your answer! – simple, isn’t it?  Once you get your head turned around it far enough…

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