Friday, July 16, 2004

Mental shortcuts

An article on the Motley Fool presented a little puzzle.

How are the following two rows of the alphabet organized?

The article gives one answer and points out another interesting fact about the list. The author, Bill Mann, ended the article by pointing out there is something else interesting about the list. I was the first person to write back with an answer.

The trouble is, I had to read the article in order to see the first two facts. I was completely blinded by the first thing that jumped out at me. Here's what I wrote:

> Bill Mann points out that there is yet one other noteworthy
> thing about the third list. Can you spot it?

It's in QWERTY order. Whoever typed the list must have worked though the keyboard left-to-right and top-to-bottom. That makes it exceptionally easy to spot the missing 'M'. (Not that I noticed. I was too locked into the order to either solve the puzzle or spot the missing letter.)

I think I would have eventially spotted the way the rows were sorted, but it would have required more deep thinking than I had time for -- especially since I knew the answer was just a few paragraphs further on in the article. Yay laziness!

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