On Friday I posted this puzzle…..which letter comes next in this series?  The answer is neither ‘I’ nor ‘X”.

I, X, X, X, I, X, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, _

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

They are the letters on a clock face featuring Roman numerals, moving clockwise and starting at 9 o’clock.  Therefore, the answer is V (although lots of clocks represent 4 as IIII).  Did you solve it?  Ant other solutions?

I have produced an ebook containing 101 of the previous Friday Puzzles! It is called PUZZLED and is available for the Kindle (UK here and USA here) and on the iBookstore (UK here in the USA here). You can try 101 of the puzzles for free here.


  1. I have a matching puzzle.
    What is the value of X in the series ‘0,1,0,1,1,0,1,0,1,1,X,1’ ?

    Hint: X is neither 0 nor 1.
    Clueless? Another hint: X will have two values.
    Still clueless? One more hint: X will have negative value.
    Still wondering? Read on.

    The series shows the number that need to be added in 30 to get the number of days in the months from April to March. So X corresponds to the number of days in February. That should be -2 or -1 depending upon whether the year is a leap year or not.

    What do you say?

    I made the puzzle in last 10 minutes and I think a puzzle have no meaning if only its maker has the answer.

    1. I like your puzzle, as it schows the thin line between a puzzle that may be solved and a totally crazy puzzle.. (I found the friday puzzle but i am sure i will not even solve your puzzle even if i see it again… )

  2. So my initial guess was correct, and the clock was a forgery

    and I still don’t understand any of the comments made on Friday

    1. The clock on St. Stephen’s Tower (Big Ben) represents 4 with IV. Notify Westminister of the fakery immediately!

  3. Nice idea. But would have preferred it without the commas. The commas are a bit deceptive as they typically indicate that each figure between the commas is one of the series (as in rmb’s series above).

  4. Oh that is very clever – I realised pretty much immediately that they were meant to be roman numerals, clearly as a result of reading this blog for too long, but couldn’t work out the trick.

  5. I have to admit I didn’t get it but I was very close on the right track. I’m not making excuses but reading the comments made it very confusing. Although they make sense now, at the time it seemed over complicated and I was actually looking for a much more complicated and philosophical answer and missed the simplicity off the puzzle completely. Oh well.

  6. I got the roman numerical part at once, but then I was stuck trying to fit in L (50) for a long time. Got it eventually, but I had read the comments first.

  7. I got V but confess it was more a lucky guess than a well thought out answer. I got that it was roman numerals hence thinking V should be in there but didn’t get the clock face thing.

  8. Now you know why I mentioned “Too many commas” in my replies on Friday 🙂

    Assuming the clock uses standard Roman digits, the full sequence should be: IXXXIXIIIIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIII, or 17 Is, 5 Vs and 4 Xs.

  9. blue tit, nightingale, robin, tawny owl, chaffinch, cuckoo, great tit…..then what?
    or should it be b,l,u,e,t,i,t,n,i,g,h…………?
    (Hint…..RSPB’s garden birds clock)

  10. Regarding the IIII versus IV debate, apparently a lot depends on when the clock was made. Older clocks tend to use IIII (although the subtractive principle was well known to the Romans, one theory is that as IV were the first two letters of Jupiter’s name, they avoided it), whereas more modern clocks tend to use IV.

    The clock at Westminster uses IV, whereas a few miles down the Thames, Greenwich uses IIII (on a 24 hour clock – oddly, 2pm is shown as XIV rather than XIIII)

    1. Other than the “IIII” on a clock face, the maximum Roman Numerals repeated in a sequence is 3. So 4 would be “IV”, while 14 would be “XIV”. I don’t know why it became usable, or almost the standard even, for clocks to us “IIII”.

    2. I think the old clocks used casted numerals, a mold in the form of VIIIIIX is sufficinet to cast all numerals if used four times… without any rest…
      In cas of the IV notation everything is a bit more complicated…

      Maybe i am totally wrong..

  11. Spotted the roman numerals, and got the right answer after about 10 minutes. For some reason though, my brain never made the connection with a clock face. Maybe because I never had one that had Roman Numerals on the face.

  12. I thought they were Roman numerals, and for a second I thought clock face, but somehow I still didn’t get it. Damn.

  13. Were the commas there just to throw us off? Well, they succeeded. There should be no flies in the ointment. Also, what’s with the single and double quotation marks in your presentation of the puzzle? A typo? Puzzles must be presented precisely. Proofread.

  14. I knew they were roman numerals but it took for me to be driving, thinking about not very much, to suddenly cotton onto it being a clock face. Then I couldn’t remember what they were and had to check it again to make sure it fitted. So took about a day to solve!

  15. Actually I was right! They’re obviously Roman numerals but I could not find any sense in the puzzle. So on that basis I guessed the answer was likely to be V.

    I am so good at these.


  16. This one ended up being far too easy for me. The hint that the answer was neither I nor X led me almost STRAIGHT to thinking about Roman numerals. Then when I noticed the pattern I saw it ended at 12 and started back at 1. Crazy… the puzzles that others say are easy I have NO clue about and easy ones like this for me seem to confuse people.

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