Aptitude Test
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Solved Clues

A. Length of Hoover Dam in Feet (6, 1244)
B. Levels of Hell in Dante's Divine Comedy (5, 9)
C. Square Miles of the Louisiana Purchase (24, 828000)
D. Number of Deaths in the Sinking of The Titanic (7, 1517)
E. Arabian Nights (8, 1001)
F. Ice Cream Flavors of Baskin Robbins (22, 31)
G. Outs in an Inning (18, 6)
H. Height of the Sears Tower in Feet (14, 1451)
I. Circumference in Kilometers of the Earth at the Equator (3, 40075)
J. Start of the American Civil War (9, 1861)
K. (#) of presidents of the USA (13, 43)
L. Start of the Spanish Civil War (12, 1936)
M. Pints in a Gallon (10, 8)
N. Signing of the Magna Carta (11, 1215)
O. Days of Christmas (23, 12)
P. Year of the Summer Of Love (2, 1967)
Q. Perfect Score in Bowling (21, 300)
R. Maximum Break in a Game of Snooker (19, 147)
S. Year of the SF Earthquake (26, 1906)
T. Speed of Sound in km/h (17, 1235)
U. Year of the Chicago Fire (15, 1871)
V. Cards in a Deck of Playing Cards (4, 52)
W. Dalmatians (20, 101)
X. Number of Popes in the Catholic Church (25, 267)
Y. Piano Keys (1, 88)
Z. Avg. Cubic Feet of Water that Falls over Niagra Falls each Second (16, 202000)


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Omega's explanation:

There were two sheets of papyrus provided by Jaana for this initial aptitude test. The second page, titled "Discovery" at the top, is the solution grid for the puzzle, whereas the first page provides a set of keys. The discovery page has 'R' written along the top of the grid and '10' down the side. This is a hint towards the appropriate coordinate system; columns should be labeled A through Z, rows labeled 1 through 26.

On the first page, there are 26 abbreviated sentences (marked A through Z) along with 26 corresponding numbers (marked 1 through 26). Each sentence has a variety of capitalized letters that stand for a word, which when solved produce a question sentence that has a numeric answer (think of it like Jeopardy's answer-question format). As an example, the first sentence is "L of HD in F." With a bit of word play, one might surmise that this is an abbreviation for "Length of Hoover Dam in Feet," which happens to be 1244 feet. Notice that 1244 is the 6th entry on the answer key page.

The combinations of letters and numbers provide coordinates. The Hoover Dam, as an example, yields A6. The sixth letter in column A on the Discovery page is 'O'. Mark the letter, and repeat 25 more times for the remaining sentences (see answer key below; for full sentences, see here).

As an initial solution, one might try combining the letters indicated by each sentence's coordinates, which produces: OBZIVKLGNLGEWQJMXWJVOGGMVA. This is incorrect! The proper combination is formed by following the letters marked by each row, not each column, starting with row 1 and advancing to row 26. This gives the proper order: VMNGBOIVLWQEGGOAVLWGXKJZMJ.

To unscramble the letters, take the word "Discovery" (marked at the top of the second page) and use it as a Vigenere key for the ordered letters. The result is: SEVENTEENTIMESTWENTYFIVEIS (seventeen times twenty five is). Pull out your calculator, punch in 17 * 25, and you get the final solve: 425.

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