On Friday I set this puzzle….

What five letter chemical element is represented by this list…

SILICON
HELIUM
NEON
HYDOGEN
LEAD
OXYGEN

If you have not tried to solve it, have a go now.  For everyone else, the answer is after the break….

The answer is Argon (R gone because it is missing in HYDOGEN)

Did you solve it? Any other solutions?

43 comments

  1. I don’t buy it. The missing R was obvious. But the question asked “represented by this list”?. The “list” has nothing to do with the answer. On the other hand, Xenon is the only element with five letters which is made with the letters of the elements in the list, (all the others contain an “r” which seems to be forbidden) although again some of the elements of the list would be superfluous.

    Poor Loyd.

    1. Ah just saw the Friday puzzle….wouldn’t have gotten it….and @ susqueda I think the “list” is made up of the 6 elements given as clues and not the Periodic Table Chart in the photo or maybe I misunderstood your post…lol….

    2. @susqueda – I understand your point, but I think the other items in the list do serve a purpose for the puzzle. I think the reasoning is that putting a mis-spelled element in the middle of a list of correctly spelled elements makes the misspelling harder to see. It didn’t work for you, but it did for me, and I wouldn’t have got it if someone hadn’t mentioned it in the comments.

    3. @JimC. Any trick to better disguise the intended typo is welcome, and I think that you are right in that this is probably what the puzzle is all about. Still, however, I’d like to see the original wording by the great Loyd.

  2. Had no chance in getting this right (although I noticed the missing R). Could you please post a non-English related post next time? 😀

  3. I could have looked at this for a fortnight and I wouldn’t have got it. I gave it half a minute on Friday and decided that this one wasn’t for me. And then to find out today that it’s a play on words along the lines of ‘What do you call a blind deer? No idea!’ – aaggh! Perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to put myself down. 🙂

  4. I think when you have attempted a number of Richard’s puzzles they become easier. I knew straight away this wouldn’t be a chemistry puzzle so I just stared at it until the answer just ‘hit’ me. I like it.
    “What do you call a dead blind deer?”
    “Still no idea”

  5. Reminds me of this one by Lewis Carroll:

    “Dreaming of apples on a wall
    And dreaming often dear
    I dreamt that if I counted all
    How many would appear?”

  6. Very nice…I’m new to this Friday puzzle and I’m finding that the more I do, the better I’m getting. Not surprising really, but there is real pleasure in applying the logical twists and turns learnt in last week’s puzzle on the new one.

    Does feel like a cryptic crossword clue, I agree.

  7. I did see the typo, thought “R fora”, that didn’t ringed a bell although with the right number of letters, thought another puzzle for English speakers or lateral thinkers, quit at the spot. Lately, I’m too lazy.

    (Kidding, saw the type but quit without trying anything… the lazy part above is true)

  8. Whoo-hoo! Another one that I got immediately. But then… it’s only the second such that I’ve ever seen straight away AND it’s a language-related puzzle so… yeah. Anyway, still good to know how the maths nerds feel when they post their “got in 2.5 milliseconds!” responses to the maths-heavy puzzles and I’m left scratching my head in puzzlement for many hours.

  9. I KNEW IT! But I thought it was wrong because it was too stupid…thanks a lot for wasting my whole weekend thinking about another answer!

  10. D’oh! I didn’t think of that. I did notice the missing R in HYDOGEN, but I just though the typo was accidental. It never occurred to me that the “typo” was part of the puzzle.

    Besides, I had a major disadvantage of not being a native English speaker.

  11. it might be a better puzzle of they were all words that had the R missing. As it is only one word has an R missing so the list is not helping but hindering as it provides four words that have no connection to the answer and/or are opposing clues as they are correctly spelled. Needless to say, me no like that.

    1. No, every single word on the list lacks the letter ‘R’. Most of them lack an ‘R’ because they are words that don’t have an ‘R’ in them anyway. One of them lacks an ‘R’ because it’s misspelled. Those are two different reasons to lack an ‘R’, but they are united in the fact that they lack an ‘R’.

      All that the misspelled one does is make the absence of an ‘R’ in the list more conspicuous, and draw attention to the fact that none of the words have an ‘R’. The absence of the letter ‘R’ is a conspicuous fact about the entire list, so I would say the entire list is indeed connected to the answer.

    2. If it were a list of all words with the R omitted, seePyou, then someone would complain that arsgon is not an element they can find on the standard table of elements.

      Although, if it did exist, it would be a great ingredient to include on foods for calorie-conscious people.
      “Now with 100% more ARSGON!”

  12. Clever answer. I have always liked puns and other wordplay. Using different reasoning though, I thought the answer was “Xenon” because it is the only five letter element without an “R” in it.

  13. I didn’t notice the typo so obviously thought to hard about this problem. Grr…….. never mind ther’s always next Friday!

  14. Another solution would be Nitrogen, since only letters E and N occur in the list exactly 5 times, and E does not represent any element.

    Pretty lame, I know, but then I think the real solution is pretty lame too.

  15. I tried mathematical solutions with the numbers/weights of the elements at first, but was alerted to the linguistic nature of the puzzle by a few of the comments. Then, my first thought was ‘Xenon’ (‘see none’) because I didn’t see a solution, until I noticed the ‘typo’. Then it was obvious.

    1. I’d retyped the list of elements into Notepad, and also had a Paintbrush window open with the Periodic Table pasted into it. Only problem was, in Notepad I spelt “hydrogen” correctly.

      After I’d spent forever looking for a pattern, the thought occurred to me: “If none of the elements in the list have an R in them, it could be R-Gone, i.e. argon! Let’s see. Silicon – check. Helium – check. Neon – check. Hydrogen – whoops. So that’s not right.

      Sometime around then I gave up, and started reading the comments for clues. In particular, I read the comment by Neil Beck, who wrote, “Is the spelling mistake part of the test?”, and thought to myself, “Spelling mistake? What spelling mistake? If it’s a missing ‘r’ in Hydrogen then I’ve already solved it!

      So I looked and indeed it was.

  16. I noticed the missing R right away but didn’t click to it being the solution even after reading some of the comments which seemed to be massive hints. Finally got it – forehead still smarting from the slap 😀

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