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Reader Letters

We Won’t Tell Your Boss

Hey, fellas,

This email concerns the published IQ test, “The Non-Expert: IQ,” by Andrew Womack. One of the questions in the test said: Imagine turning a handheld calculator upside-down, and using numbers to spell words on the display (where 1=I, 2=z, 3=E, 4=h, 5=s, 6=g, 7=L, 9=b, and 0=o). If you then used the calculator to figure the sum of “boob,” “hell,” and “goose,” what would be the result?

The result is not 51,749. It is actually 45,149, using your code. Just so you know. Aside from that, I thought it was neat. You said I got a 127, some shnuztle about me having a superior intelligence. I wish you could tell my boss that—one non-expert to another.

Red, white and black regards,
Hafiz
Singapore



Dear Hafiz,

We aren’t math experts, but we’ve triplechecked our calculations just to make certain. Here’s how it worked out:

Word ——— Transcribed —— Reversed
Boob ————— 9009 ————— 9009
Hell ————— 4377 ————— 7734
Goose ———— 60053 ———— 35006
                                     ——————
                                       51,749

But you had the right idea. If our code had used 1 for L, as you did in your calculations, you’d be right! See:

Word ——— Transcribed —— Reversed
Boob ————— 9009 ————— 9009
Hell ————— 4311 ————— 1134
Goose ———— 60053 ———— 35006
                                     ——————
                                       45,149

You were one of those kids who skipped past the directions in that first test in seventh grade, the ones that said, “Mark A for every answer and bring the paper back up to the front,” weren’t you? Too bad that test, and this one, didn’t give points for effort.
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