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Q: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) ( No Answer,   108 Comments )
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 Subject: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) Category: Miscellaneous Asked by: patricknichols-ga List Price: \$200.00 Posted: 05 Aug 2002 15:28 PDT Expires: 04 Sep 2002 15:28 PDT Question ID: 50956
 ```I have been given a puzzle that involves ordering either 48 or 50 US states, and a partial list of the states already ordered. I have also been told that the solution to this puzzle is on the web somewhere, possibly on the site of a major news paper like USA Today. The list of states (in order) is: 1. Delaware 2. Connecticut 3. Massachusetts 4. Rhode Island 5. New Jersey 6. Illinois 7. Wisconsin 8. Texas 9. Arkansas 10. Louisiana 11. Indiana 12. Ohio 13. Iowa 14. Arizona 15. Alabama 16. Mississippi 17. Florida 18. Minnesota 19. West Virginia I will only accept a list of the remaining ranked states, with a justification of the ranking. Please let me know if you have any questions.``` Request for Question Clarification by jasonm1-ga on 05 Aug 2002 23:42 PDT ```Hi, Just to clarify this in my mind: you are given a list of states in order according to some property. You need to discover what that property is (either from the given list or finding it on the web) and continue the list accordingly to all 50/48. Is that correct?``` Request for Question Clarification by joseleon-ga on 06 Aug 2002 04:38 PDT ```It's a puzzle or just a game?, I mean, mechanical puzzle, or just a list of states? Regards.``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 06 Aug 2002 10:31 PDT ```1. [jasonm]: Yep - you've got it. You have to find some listing of the states that corresponds to the partial list I've given you and fill in the remaining states (up to either 48 or 50) 2. [joseleon]: By your definition, its a "game" -- there is no mechanical aspect of the puzzle, only the information I have made available.``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 06 Aug 2002 10:33 PDT ```I work at Microsoft, and this puzzle has been floating around our office for several months. Every month, the head of our group adds \$100 to the prize pool and reveals another state. Guessing a solution costs \$1. By this point, the total prize pool has risen to over \$2000.``` Request for Question Clarification by mvguy-ga on 06 Aug 2002 11:33 PDT ```Well, then, if someone provides you with the answer, I hope you see it before one of your coworkers does!``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 06 Aug 2002 11:41 PDT `I sincerely hope so also.` Request for Question Clarification by clouseau-ga on 06 Aug 2002 14:45 PDT ```Hello patricknichols, I've got to tell you, you have me hooked on this question. But I strongly suspect that there may be details that you have not yet mentioned. For example: Was the puzzle read to you or was it in writing? If in writing, how EXACTLY was the puzzle phrased? How may states were in the original list before one per month began to be revealed? Why do you say 48 OR 50 States? Is the puzzle not specific on how many are contained in the answer? What other details, no matter how insignificant you might believe them to be, can you tell us? Looking forward to your clarification. -=clouseau=-``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 06 Aug 2002 14:53 PDT ```Given how challenging this puzzle is turning out to be, I will give the solver an additional \$100 if I am indeed the winner of the grand prize. Here are all of the details I have: 1. The puzzle started with one state revealed during the first month, and then one state every month after that. With 19 states revealed already, the puzzle has been going on for 19 months now. 2. I asked the creator / discoverer of the puzzle for some hints / clues, and he gave me the following specific hints: a. The answer is available on the internet b. The answer may be either 48 or 50 states c. The answer was published in a publication "with many colorful pictures" (this comment made me suspect USA Today, and the puzzle creator in fact gets a daily subscription to USA Today. This might be circumstantial evidence ...) One other detail -- the states are revealed each month in the form of a small, postage-sized state flag being stuck to a large poster board. If desired, I can take a digital picture of the poster board and put it on the web for more information.``` Request for Question Clarification by clouseau-ga on 06 Aug 2002 15:23 PDT ```Thanks for the clarification! I would appreciate it if you would take a picture of the poster board and post a link to it here. More intrigued than ever.... -=clouseau-ga=-``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 07 Aug 2002 14:52 PDT ```I'll post the picture online when I have a chance. We're having a group meeting this afternoon where the next state will be revealed, so look for an update in a bit.``` Request for Question Clarification by blader-ga on 07 Aug 2002 15:18 PDT `What sport game did your studio work on?` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 07 Aug 2002 17:31 PDT ```Two pieces of info: 1. The next state in the list is Maryland. This is state 20. 2. The MS Sports Games Studio makes a football game (NHL Fever) and a basketball game (NBA Inside Drive).``` Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 08 Aug 2002 21:34 PDT ```Considering this may be a state rank from the year 2000 (and maybe not) can you share some information on the person who originated this challenge? For instance, did the person ever have a teenage daughter get pregnant? An elderly family member mistreated by a nursing home? Lose an infant in a car accident? In other words, could this list be somehow connected to a "personal cause"?``` Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 08 Aug 2002 22:15 PDT ```Here is a longshot being that the only "sports" in which I participate are Scrabble and Pinochle tournaments, but it occurred to me that this maybe 1) a state listing of order of draft picks for who-knows-what-sport or 2) a compilation (or simple formula) of rankings from "Past Rankings AP, UPI, USA Today" (the latter located at http://www.collegefootballpoll.com/polls_1936_2000.html) The latter came to mind because the person starting this game is designing a sports game, right? I recall hearing sports announcers say things like "number 15 Alabama upset number 14 Arizona" - you sports lovers know what I mean, those rankings. I'm so unsports that I don't even know what colleges are in what states. But it may prove worthwhile to investigate these possibilities. Good luck!``` Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 09 Aug 2002 10:24 PDT ```A fellow researcher has alerted me to the fact that my clarification request concerning "personal cause" information may be inappropriate so I would ask that the personal information not be posted here in any form. I fear I may have become too wrapped up in the spirit of clue gathering to crack the puzzle, and my apologies if this is the case. The "Nancy Drew" took over too heavily in that instance. : ) I hope you will accept my apology in this matter, and I appreciate a fellow researcher pointing out my "query faux pas."``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 09 Aug 2002 11:04 PDT ```Journalist -- Don't worry about it. Yours is an interesting idea, but I sort of doubt an office puzzle would be linked to a personal tragedy in the puzzle creator's family life.``` Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 09 Aug 2002 12:24 PDT ```Your words are gracious and I appreciate them. Thank you for your understanding as this is a lesson for me in my own phraseology. : )``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 15 Aug 2002 16:26 PDT ```An update (straight from the puzzle creator)! He just wandered into my office and commended me for trying to use google to find the solution. He also said that "one or two" of the ideas posted in this thread were "on the right track". This should narrow down the search considerably! Good luck.``` Clarification of Question by patricknichols-ga on 23 Aug 2002 13:11 PDT ```I just got a *huge* hint from the puzzle creator: he said that the solution isn't a ranking per se, rather it is "the order in which something happened". So that means that all of these census theories and stuff just don't apply.``` Request for Question Clarification by poormattie-ga on 26 Aug 2002 18:50 PDT ```Any chance you can get the "creator" to provide the last state on the list instead of the 21st? Any luck with getting the digital picture of the poster?``` Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 02 Sep 2002 22:01 PDT ```I notice that the question is about to expire. It would be a shame if the search for your answer did not continue. Perhaps you could extend the expiration date for the question? Alternatively, you could repost the question, containing the information that you've learned, and including a link to the original question (in other words, to https://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=50956 ).``` Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 04 Sep 2002 10:28 PDT ```Incidentally, I would recommend reposting. If you repost the question, researchers who did not notice it the first time around (including new researchers) might start to work on it. Perhaps some new perspectives will lead to the answer. Also, some people may not have read the clarifications you posted here, or the comments posted by others that you think are helpful. By reposting, you can incoporate these clarifications and comments in the question.``` Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 04 Sep 2002 10:31 PDT `Of course, I meant "incorporate", not "incoporate", whatever that may mean. `
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 Comments
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: rubik-ga on 06 Aug 2002 06:17 PDT
 `Could you please elaborate on the origin of this puzzle and where you first saw it.`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: triniman-ga on 06 Aug 2002 17:26 PDT
 ```Hi Patrick, Please let me know some more about the leaning of the group head.. is he a history buff.. or is this likely to be some strange pattern? Thanks, Jason.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: patricknichols-ga on 06 Aug 2002 17:51 PDT
 ```Jason -- I work in the Microsoft Sports Games Studio, and this guy is actually the head of our studio. This leads me to suspect that the puzzle has something to do with sports. I have an incredibly strong suspicion that the solution may be found in one of those stupid USA Today charts or something, but couldn't find anything when I dug around the site.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: sublime1-ga on 06 Aug 2002 18:12 PDT
 ```Everyone: Just for the record, it is not a list of the order in which a particular amendment to the Constitution was ratified by the states. I researched this to no avail.... sublime1-ga```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: blader-ga on 06 Aug 2002 18:19 PDT
 ```Neither is it the date the flag was adopted, nor the flower, nor any of the information available from the latest census state rankings.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: journalist-ga on 06 Aug 2002 22:28 PDT
 ```My semi-researched guess would be that the list might be the order in which the states reported their electoral votes for the 2000 presidental election. I deduce this because you stated the game began 19 months ago which would put the date of the beginning at the appropriate time for such a result. However, after searching numerous keyword strings, I am unable to locate a list of which state reported first so I have no idea if this might be the area in which the list originated - it's just a calculated guess. Good luck.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 07 Aug 2002 11:15 PDT
 ```Journalist, I thought that might be a good guess -- but I found the chronology of states' votes. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/sns-2000elections-chronology.story Close, but no cigar -- back to the drawing board. -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bebop-ga on 07 Aug 2002 12:43 PDT
 ```Could "many colorful pictures" refer to National Geographic? Or another monthly publication?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: rubik-ga on 07 Aug 2002 13:08 PDT
 ```You can count out olympic torch path. http://2002.ksl.com/news-3818i.php```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: rubik-ga on 07 Aug 2002 13:37 PDT
 ```You can also count out the postcard trip that got a lot of press a couple of years ago. http://www.postcardsfrom.com/t1/arcin.html```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: journalist-ga on 07 Aug 2002 13:54 PDT
 ```Thanx Rebekah - one may also dismiss the state quarters releases unless there is a strange mathematical formula attached to the answer. LOL The same for state trees, birds and flowers by alphabetical order although I'm still trying to hunt down natinal rank teachers' salaries (Minnesota was number 18 in one site blurb) and state property taxes (or the most to least expensive state for taxes). This is a grand diversion and I'm happy the question was posted!```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: davidsar-ga on 07 Aug 2002 17:45 PDT
 `When is the next state due to be posted in your office?`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 07 Aug 2002 23:19 PDT
 ```Patrick & Others, We can now rule out the following things that I've tried: 1) Zipcode, numerical order 2) Area code, numerical order 3) Hwy #, numerical order or pattern 4) Order in which state universities were founded (although still working on it) 5) Order of states in which NASA satellites pass over 6) Any kind of connection on a map (although most are Eastern, except Arizona) 7) Population 8) I even tried the A= 1 B=2 thing with the letters :) Desperate times call.. Anyways... this may be a shot in the dark, but.. has anyone else noticed the pattern in the letter endings? No matter what I do, I keep coming back to this one. For example.. the states ending in "as" (Texas & Arkansas) are listed together. The states ending in "iana" (Louisiana & Indiana) are listed together. Same goes for the i_, (in, is).. etc. I'll keep trying this theory to see if I can find a pattern. -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 08 Aug 2002 01:09 PDT
 ```Here's another REALLY good lead (please notice that I can't sleep I am so stumped! Can't wait to find the answer) :) There was an article in USA Today, in March of 2001 (which, unless I'm really wrong, would have been about 19 months ago, correct?) USA Today will so far only let me see the abstract, but the article is about gun fatalities in states. Oddly enough, the states with the LOWEST number, are.. Deleware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. (Our Top 5 on the List) Hawaii is also included on the top of the list.. but being as how it could be "48 OR 50 states", it could have been omitted? Here is the abstract: Lowest firearm-fatality rates USA Today; Arlington; Mar 24 DC_ABS According to the CDC, the states with the lowest rates of gun-related deaths in 1998, per 100,000 people, are: Massachusetts (5); Hawaii (5); Connecticut (6); New Jersey (6); Rhode Island (6); and Delaware (7). Let me know what ya'll think, Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: secret901-ga on 08 Aug 2002 01:45 PDT
 ```Rebekah: The article you're referring to is an illustration (bar graph). There is no other data besides what you mentioned.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: blader-ga on 08 Aug 2002 03:15 PDT
 ```rebekah: Great hunting, but since Delaware actually has the highest gun fatality rate out of the lowest five states listed, I don't think it's it.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: j_philipp-ga on 08 Aug 2002 06:41 PDT
 ```Starrebekah, to not cause you any additional trouble: I also tried things like a=1, b=2, wrote a program that calculates multiplication by average zip code, letter-value-sum divided by word length, and many more things; all to no avail so far.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: davidsar-ga on 08 Aug 2002 08:07 PDT
 ```I think we're going to need a real team effort to crack this mystery (how the MS Sports Games Studio has gotten any actual work done these past 19 months is another mystery!). Rebekah did some nice work finding a USA Today list of firearm fatalities. DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO USE THE USA TODAY SEARCH TOOL TO ACTUALLY FIND THIS LIST? What I mean by this is -- even knowing the exact listing of the states in the article abstract, I still could not get the USA Today search tool to come up with the article. No combination of state names and search options that I tried (within/#, pre/#, AND, etc.) would do the trick. If we can collectively figure out how to find a list we KNOW exists, then we can more confidently search USA Today for a list of states that MAY exist. Any takers?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 08 Aug 2002 10:09 PDT
 ```Blader: the article, even though published more recently, has totals from 1998, not current time. Maybe you are thinking of them now? Shrug ;) J_phillip: that's awesome. Good work. Can I direct things that might have a numerical pattern to you? :) Davidsar: Team effort. Definitely. I've been on this thing now for 2 days, and it sure is a stumper! And I don't know how they've worked @ Microsoft either.. I'm having a hard time avoiding this one. Seems easy, yet, not. Btw, the USA Today articles can usually be found by typing the title as an exact search phrase on Google.. but that one particular one I have not yet found. Secret seems to have found it by the description.. so can you let us know where it is? Thanks! -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: patricknichols-ga on 08 Aug 2002 10:48 PDT
 ```All -- Thanks for putting so much time into this and trying so many innovative ideas. If you guys manage to crack the puzzle, I'll do my best to spread the wealth to you as much as possible. I do have one suggestion: how about getting back copies of USA today from the period surrounding the contest start date and looking for the info? I think I might try to go to a local library and do this. Thanks, Patrick```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: mara-ga on 08 Aug 2002 11:45 PDT
 ```Rebekah, I'm convinced that you're right about the letter endings -- this puzzle is about the words as words, somehow. Note how the first nine end with consonants, and ALL THE REST end with vowels. (BTW, has anyone explored an 11 or 111 or 11:11 connection? )```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: ozguru-ga on 08 Aug 2002 12:22 PDT
 ```Hi, I can't get over the geographical clustering... Of course this doesn't eliminate a combination with any other criteria, or a criteria that also has a geographical basis. I was thinking of an algorithm where you start at Delaware and check closest neighbours for the criteria, if you find a match then good, otherwise your circle goes wider. I think this was probably worth less than 2c :-) Regards,```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 08 Aug 2002 13:18 PDT
 ```Ozguru, I thought there was something with the geography myself. I tried to find a pattern, and started to, but it stopped. The original pattern was State #1, skip over State #2 to State #3, then down to #4, and skip back over #3 to #5, if that makes sense (It helps if you take a map, and write the #s of the states over the actual state, you'll see what I'm talking about). But then it jumps west. But, it may also be coincedence... the eastern states are older, have a lot of earlier dates, etc... but why is Arizona in there? :) -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: secret901-ga on 08 Aug 2002 15:51 PDT
 ```Rebekah: I found the article that you're referring to by performing a search on Lexis-Nexis. It is just a typical graph that you see on USA Today, and your "abstract" is actually all there is in that graph.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: molszewski-ga on 08 Aug 2002 20:45 PDT
 ```Considering the clue "The answer was published in a publication "with many colorful pictures", i thought that maybe he was hinting at Sports Illustrated magazine. I did a search and found 50 states listed for the greatest sports states,( http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/1999/states/main/ ) but no luck, the numbers are way off. scratch that one off the list. molszewski-ga```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 08 Aug 2002 21:13 PDT
 ```Also, rule out the following lists: 1) Most murders (even though I KNEW Louisiana would have been first!) 2) Best teacher salary 3) Most populated 4) Largest city 5) Safest City 6) best education 7) best hospitals 8) Best states for kids http://www.govspot.com/lists/#state Publication with colorful pictures -- to me that sounds like something for kids? -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: blader-ga on 08 Aug 2002 22:40 PDT
 ```Mara: The "e" in Delaware ain't a vowel. =P```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: mara-ga on 10 Aug 2002 07:28 PDT
 ```Blader -- yes, I had a major "DOH!" moment about a half-hour after posting. :-) Just for the record, I have gone through the 2000 edition of State Rankings and the 2000 edition of CQ's State Fact Finder backward and forward (that is, looking for Delaware both at the top and the bottom of each list) and didn't find that states in that order (or that order reversed) on any list. Since we're looking at regions, I thought it might be useful to see what's in what region, using the Census Bureau's divisions: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/us_regdiv.pdf```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: eiffel-ga on 12 Aug 2002 03:58 PDT
 ```I'm not from the US, and know little about the US sports scene, but I keep coming back to the Yankee Conference Champions page http://www.cae.wisc.edu/~dwilson/rsfc/champs/Atlantic.txt which seems to be full of states from the top of our list, e.g. the 1986 champions were "Delaware Connecticut Massachusetts". I suspect there's some sport which attracts the strongest participation from the states at the top of our list.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: micknlu-ga on 12 Aug 2002 15:08 PDT
 ```Has anyone checked out population per square mile? I know that New Jersey had ranked first around the 1990 range, but due to insurance/tax reasons, there has been a large migration to Delaware, which may make it the newest #1 rank. I do not have any evidence to back this up, it is at this point a wild guess. I have been searching all day to find a ranking of state population per sq mi but have come up with nothing.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: greyno-ga on 12 Aug 2002 16:29 PDT
 ```Hello everyone! I came across a website that ranks Delaware 7th in population per square mile as of the year 2000. http://www.netstate.com/states/alma/de_alma.htm greyno```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: davidsar-ga on 13 Aug 2002 07:51 PDT
 ```Patrick, Are you sure your boss is on the up and up on this one? The more I search, the more I get the feeling that there is no such list, and this is all a very clever (and very nasty) trick. Is that possible?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: adupont-ga on 14 Aug 2002 13:28 PDT
 ```My thoughts: It won't be a "most" or "least" list. Despite the grouping of small states at/near the top, the fact that Texas is at #8 and other large/populous states are scattered throughout rules this out in my mind. I think it's most likely a ratio of some sort, something per capita or per square mile. I thought of population density first but that's not it.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bowler-ga on 15 Aug 2002 08:18 PDT
 ```Alas all I can offer to this team project is a searching strategy that may help lead (hopefully) to an answer. I've found some good leads by searching for the terms: delaware+ranked+first in Google http://WWW.GOOgle.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=DELAWARE+RANKED+FIRST&btnG=Google+Search It has lead me to a list of various categories that Delaware is ranked #`1, some I was able to verify were not the answer: 1) GSP (Gross State product, although Delaware is 1 and Connecticut is #2 that's it) 2) # of scientist and engineers in the workforce 3) number of patients per 1000 workers 4) number of office jobs 5) importing fresh fish (phew!) The GSP was the only one that I found not to be it, the other statistics I've been unable to find the complete table. Hope this helps.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: lot-ga on 15 Aug 2002 19:09 PDT
 ```I thought it could have been associated with the travels of the 1947-1949 Freedom Train across 48 states and the 1975-1976 Freedom Train which might have traversed 50 states... particulary when the puzzle creator said "on the right track" Freedom Train http://www.freedomtrain.org/aft_timeline.htm "The 25-car steam-powered American Freedom Train opens to a sellout crowd of 40,000 at Delaware Park" ..but no :-( lot-ga```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: derias_stormrage-ga on 16 Aug 2002 18:14 PDT
 ```Hi To narrow down the search, I used an advanced search with all the search criteria given and possible. The results showed pages only from the site www.usatoday.com, in English, containing the states in its text. There are 226 links which I don't have the time to look in, but if the list is indeed from USA Today, it should be found in one of these sites. The link to the search: ://www.google.com/search?as_q=Delaware+Connecticut+Massachusetts+Rhode-Island+New-Jersey+Illinois&num=100&hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&btnG=Google+Search&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&lr=lang_en&as_ft=i&as_filetype=&as_qdr=all&as_occt=body&as_dt=i&as_sitesearch=www.usatoday.com&safe=images Another thought I had was that if it is possible in some was to make sure that the words in these pages appear in a certain order using a certain operator, it could be used to get to the list immediatly. E.G. If the operator * means that the word from it's left must come before the word from it's right in the text of the page, the search "Delaware * Connecticut * Massachusetts" will probably get you to the exact list you're looking for. The problem is, I don't know if such an option exists. Hope this helps and Good Luck...```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: politicalguru-ga on 17 Aug 2002 16:19 PDT
 ```Another exclusion/deducation: Not the list of states who filed lawsuits against the Tobacco companies. Delaware was not the first, although the last ones fit the trend.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: overkill28-ga on 18 Aug 2002 23:22 PDT
 ```Has anyone looked into highway tolls? I know Deleware has them set up right on I-95, and Massachusetts has lots of them too...```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: journalist-ga on 19 Aug 2002 09:23 PDT
 ```Team effort - the best way to solve anything! : ) I keep coming back around to the answer being sports-related because of the puzzle originator's work interests. The college rankings (football and basketball) continue to pique my curiousity. This is a great diversion!```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: lot-ga on 20 Aug 2002 04:46 PDT
 ```Biggest clue is (possibly is the answer can be 48 or 50. So there 'could' be two scenerios 1. Can be TWO correct answers, depending on 'how' it is answered. - depending on how you use the two 'extra' states in the calculation Or 2. ONE correct answer if the two extra states can be included/excluded in the answer without affecting it. i.e the 2 'extra' states do not affect the equation. lot-ga```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: research_help-ga on 20 Aug 2002 06:29 PDT
 ```As a response to the last comment, I thought we were just not being told whether it was 48 or 50, not that there are 2 possible answers. Any thoughts?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: jah-ga on 21 Aug 2002 21:00 PDT
 ```I was under the impression that the phrase "that involves ordering either 48 or 50 US states" implied that the puzzle's last two answers were necessarily (in one of two possible orders) Alaska and Hawai'i. Rereading it, I guess there are certainly several possible interpretations of that phrase...```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: sublime1-ga on 21 Aug 2002 21:43 PDT
 ```FYI I did a subsearch on the link provided by derias_stormrage-ga, (good thought, derias), using terms like 'list' and 'states'. I looked through a lot of lists, but didn't find a match. My take on the 48/50 is that there is one solution, which has either 48 or 50 states, and we'll know it when we see it.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: hames-ga on 22 Aug 2002 08:56 PDT
 ```I have found a lot of similarities between the states listed and the spread of the West Nile Virus. Just a thought...```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: toddfsu-ga on 22 Aug 2002 12:33 PDT
 ```Has the West Nile Virus even been in the US for 19 months? Also, a new state could not be added each month with certinty if this were the case.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: toddfsu-ga on 22 Aug 2002 12:46 PDT
 ```Wait a minute...maybe the guy posing this riddle is spreading the West Nile Virus! just kidiing of course.. But West Nile can be ruled out because it was discovered in New York last year.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: 007wineguy-ga on 22 Aug 2002 12:47 PDT
 ```You can rule out when football and basketball programs were started at the state universities. Also, when the school nicknames and mascots became official.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bolko-ga on 22 Aug 2002 13:47 PDT
 ```It's not US Battleships or Submarines, both of which use state names. I don't think it could be any sort of historical order since Arizona is #12 and it was the 47th or 48th State admitted.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: terra_libran-ga on 22 Aug 2002 15:54 PDT
 ```Wow, this is some tough stuff... *rubs forehead*. One idea... Delaware is the registered home of more corporations than any other state by far. Per their website: "More than 308,000 companies are incorporated in Delaware including 60 percent of the Fortune 500 and 50 percent of the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The Delaware Corporation Law, the Court of Chancery, and the customer service-oriented staff at the Division of Corporations are all sound reasons why Delaware leads the nation as a major corporate domicile." Doesn't seem likely, but could Connecticut be #2, then Mass. ...?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: acorn-ga on 22 Aug 2002 16:04 PDT
 ```Boy, there sure has been some creative thinking here!! I noticed in skimming through the comments that it seemed like everyone (except for Rebekkah and the gun fatalities) was ranking and searching from 1-48/50 as if #1 were first/most. What about the possibility that it's a reverse order of some sort. In other words, what state has the fewest or what state was the most recent? Of course, if you're talking sports, ranking Delaware 1 and Texas 8 really puts a crimp in a lot of the possibilities :-)```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: joaquim-ga on 22 Aug 2002 16:37 PDT
 ```Some suggestions on the geographical clusters: 1) Itinerary of some tour, like a band or other group (does anyone know what George Thorogood is doing right now?) 2) Timeline of adoption of some sport by state high schools. Clustering occurs because of presence of nearby competition. 3) Timeline of first appearances by old-timey barnstorming sports teams. (Globetrotters are out because they started in Illinois. House of David ditto because they started in Michigan.) 4) Spread of some franchise a la Krispy Kreme or White Castle. The 48/50 conundrum could be due to the fact that two states lack the property common to all the others. Should they be at the end of the list or left off the list altogether? (This doesn't necessarily have to mean Alaska and Hawaii, of course.)```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: tiwahu-ga on 22 Aug 2002 19:08 PDT
 ```I think it is also possible that the "list" is not searchable text. Maybe it is an ordering of streets that can be found on a map? Atlantic City, Washington D.C., and many other towns and cities have a collection of streets named after states. Though I haven't found any with the same order yet...```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bovious-ga on 23 Aug 2002 06:34 PDT
 ```What about the Census Bureau statistical abstracts? Would it be worth the effort to set up a SETI@home-type shared number crunching system to figure out if the states line up according to the list on some abstract chart or other? Census bureau statistics are listed alphabetically by the state name, but you might get interesting results if you sort according to one of the columns.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bovious-ga on 23 Aug 2002 06:40 PDT
 ```(Statistical Abstract Of the US): http://www.census.gov/statab/www/ If it *is* in here, then your manager is one diabolical SOB.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: 007wineguy-ga on 23 Aug 2002 07:13 PDT
 ```Adding to the theory posted on tours...the campaign path for either bush or gore from 2000, since this was apparently started in Jan 2001, which is when inauguration is. I am also trying to track down the trail of conventions from 2000 (Star Trek, Xena, etc etc). Hey, it might be a long shot, but remember, this was started by a guy in the computer industry. Aren't they all trekkies or something??? :)```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starbreeze-ga on 23 Aug 2002 07:45 PDT
 ```You can rule out average CEO salaries for 2000. It worked for the first few states but not all.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: 007wineguy-ga on 23 Aug 2002 09:37 PDT
 ```Also discount the following: 1. NFL #1 draft picks, by either school or birth state, either starting in 1936 and going forward, or 2000 and working backward 2. NBA #1 draft picks, by either school or birth state, either starting in 1947 and going forward, or 2000 and working backward 3. Heisman winners, by either school or birth state, either starting in 1935 and going forward, or 2000 and working backward```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: terra_libran-ga on 23 Aug 2002 11:26 PDT
 ```Also discount: state birds, flowers, animals, nicknames (sorry if anyone else has already rebuked those...) Also discount: Gross State Product (both total and for each individual industry), Compensation of Employees, Indirect Husiness Tax (pretty much ANY info culled from www.bea.gov). Also discount: House representatives per state, representatives per x number of citizens (Delaware has a whole lot, but RI has more), electoral votes... and just about everything else in the whole wide world! I just KNOW the answer will be in "My First Almanac" or somethin'...```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bolko-ga on 23 Aug 2002 11:46 PDT
 ```I checked a Washington DC map. Connecticut Ave and Massachusetts Ave are important streets and run close together and parallel, but Delaware Ave is small and across the city. And New York Ave and Pennsylvania Ave are very big important roads and aren't on the list. But an atlas does fit the description of a book with lots of color pictures.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: quirked-ga on 23 Aug 2002 13:30 PDT
 ```Patrick - Can you post the specific wording the creator / discoverer of the puzzle used when starting the game?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: 007wineguy-ga on 23 Aug 2002 13:33 PDT
 ```Heading into the weekend, I thought I would post a list of discounted theories as follows: amendments ratified, flag/flower/tree/animal/motto/nickname dates and alphabetical, electoral vote reporting, Olympic torch path, postcard trip, new quarter release, tax info, zip codes, area codes, hwy #, population info, nasa satellite orbit, university dates/football & basketball inception/nicknames/mascots, NFL & NBA #1 pick (2000 back and 1930s forward), heisman trophy winners (2000 back and 1930s forward), gun deaths, murder rates, teachers’ salary, largest city, safest city, largest capital city, education/hospital rankings, kid friendly, tobacco lawsuits, battleship/sub names, most, population change, homeownership rate, people per sq mile, avg age, houses without phones, capital city founded, highest/lowest point, 1999energy rankings, gross state product, avg income, business tax, most info from www.bea.gov, total congress reps, reps per person, total electoral votes This should help people from spending valuable time researching something that has already been done. I will try and keep track of new ones as they are posted, and post a new list next week. Happy researching!!! :)```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: goenie-ga on 23 Aug 2002 16:15 PDT
 ```Hi Patrick, Is your boss into square dancing? If so, check out: http://home.earthlink.net/~dandy512/Conventions.html Cheers, Micha```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: davidsar-ga on 23 Aug 2002 19:39 PDT
 ```In case the musings about this are seeming to hit a dead end, check out the discussion group at: www.metafilter.com/comments.mefi/19383 who are banging their heads together on precisely the same puzzle. And Patrick, what are your boss' initials? They wouldn't happen to be P.O., or D.O., would they?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: robw-ga on 24 Aug 2002 15:12 PDT
 ```I've been through the list provided by derias_stormrage-ga, which was 226 (although it's now showing only 192) results from a focused search on USA Today. No luck I'm afraid!```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: websearcher-ga on 25 Aug 2002 19:50 PDT
 ```Given your clue of August 23rd, I get the STRONG feeling that this has something to do with the 2000 US elections. The timing is right (a puzzle about this event that was created a mere month or two after the fact), the scope is right (easy to find data for all states), and there are many opportunities for a "the order in which something happened" solution, such as: * order the presidential/congress/senate seats were acclaimed in each state. * order in which the polls closed/opened * order of primaries or something like that * etc. I've done some searching, but haven't had any luck. Another reason that this seems promising to me is that the majority of the initial states in the list are in the East, where things would have more likely happened first..... Happy hunting everyone. websearcher-ga```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 26 Aug 2002 06:51 PDT
 ```Hey guys! Good work.. ya'll are making me look bad! :) Just wanted to say that I haven't given up, but have just been out of town for 2 1/2 weeks. I read a few books on the way trying to solve the puzzle (Klutz State Facts book, etc), but to no avail... you all have definitely found some great leads though, so I'll check out everything & get back to work!! -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 26 Aug 2002 07:27 PDT
 ```Hi Patrick & Others, Okay, it's not the order of 2000 Presidential or Congressional Primary Dates, as found here: http://www.fec.gov/pages/2kchron.htm It's also not the order in which state got their newspaper.. http://www.libraries.psu.edu/iasweb/microforms/chronewb.html -Rebekah Lagniappe; It's also not the order system that Denny's were numbered in, or visited in the Project; Denny's. Here's another interesting thought that came to me over my 22 hour car ride this week: Patrick, Is it possible that the reason your boss is releasing these one at a time over a month's period is that whatever publication he's reading does a feature every so often, & releases one of these at a time? Just a thought,.. may be why we've not come up with a "list" online so far. -rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: quirked-ga on 26 Aug 2002 07:28 PDT
 ```My answer: Alaska California Colorado Georgia Hawaii Idaho Kansas Kentucky Maine Michigan Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Utah Vermont Virginia Washington Wyoming Explanation - The rest of the States of America. The order (ranking) is not relevant. The order given so far has been random (throwing darts at a map?) The answer is available on the Internet - Of course. The answer may be either 48 or 50 states - Your choice. The answer was published in a publication "with many colorful pictures" - Any atlas with the United States. This being correct would depend on how the question was asked. If it was "complete this sequence," then it would be wrong. If it was, "complete this list," then it fits the clues and it was a trick question.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 26 Aug 2002 07:36 PDT
 ```BTW, Even though the puzzle creator says that it has something to do with "the order in which something happened".. I still don't want to give up my theory on the actual letters in the states themselves... ESPECIALLY after noticing this: There are only 6 states in the US that start and end with a vowel.. that was a clue on jeopardy. They are (in no particular order): Arizona, Alaska, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, and Iowa. They are, with the exception of Alaska (b/c it could be 48 OR 50) all next to each other. Let me know what ya'll think... I guess it's just a very strange coincedence. -rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: lakefxdan-ga on 26 Aug 2002 07:44 PDT
 ```Well, taking a cue from the hint above, I found the 50/50 tour itinerary for George Thorogood and the Destroyers. I thought it was worth following up when I remember they're originally the DELAWARE Destroyers; where better to start a tour than Delaware? Alas, they chose Hawaii: http://home.cogeco.ca/~grtfled/5050tour.htm Other than ol' Bad to the Bone, and a new gal who's repeating the stunt, 50-state tours seem limited to politics or promotion.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: tanktaylor2000-ga on 26 Aug 2002 13:00 PDT
 ```how do i answer your question, i am new and believe i have the answer,please reply asap```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bowler-ga on 26 Aug 2002 15:22 PDT
 ```tanktaylor2000, You must be a google researcher to officially "answer" the question. Read the Google Answers FAQ to find out how to become a researcher. Until then you can only post comments that unfortunately don't allow you to collect the bid amount. This transaction can be carried out outside of Google Answers although. Please post the answer if you do such a thing. Otherwise we will all go crazy.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: lakefxdan-ga on 26 Aug 2002 17:18 PDT
 ```Following up on my earlier line of inquiry, the order also seems not to correspond to Ralph Nader's vaunted campaign tour of all 50 states, completed just before the Green Party convention in June 2000: http://216.239.37.100/search?q=cache:hlzUb0uwmEYC:gwu.edu/~action/nader50.html+nader+all.50.states&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 {best source I could find}```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: derias_stormrage-ga on 27 Aug 2002 07:40 PDT
 ```Just another thought I had... patricknichols-ga, you should consider purchasing Copernic Pro (http://www.copernic.com/products/copernic/pro/index.html). It refines results automatically, and allows you to obtain even greater precision. Read about it at the link. BTW, I do not work at Copernic. This is just a friendly suggestion.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: alisonb-ga on 27 Aug 2002 09:25 PDT
 ```Is it possible that it's something related to Title IX? It seems like an event which happened in each state is likely to be related to passing or copmlying with a federal regulation, and if the creator is interested in sports . . . ?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: asbestosman-ga on 28 Aug 2002 06:43 PDT
 ```Could it be the list of states that Clinton visited as president? I remember it making the news when he visited Nebraska, the last of the 50, late in his second term. That would fit with the whole Election-2000 theory, though it doesn't match up with the 48 vs. 50 states idea.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: mattgg-ga on 28 Aug 2002 10:14 PDT
 ```Does anyone else find it strange that the prize money increases as the puzzle becomes easier? According to the asker, one state is revealed each month and the prize is increased by \$100. In the first month, you would have won \$100 if you could have figured out the answer based on only the first state given. This would be nearly impossible. Now that there are 20 states listed and the puzzle is much more solvable, the prize is 20 times greater. A good puzzle does not require you to know some arcane chronology or statistic. So if this is really a puzzle, we should be able to deduce the answer from some reasonably well-known property of the states themselves (either from the letters that make up the state names, or from the state capitals, or geography, etc.) Since there are hundreds or thousands of people working on this and nobody has made any headway at all (lots of effort has been expended but nobody has found a pattern in more than five or six of the states), I don't think this is a puzzle in the classic sense. "Linus' Law" should have kicked in -- "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs [problems] are shallow.'' [Linus Torvalds] If this is a contest or game to see who can best use an internet search engine to find an obscure list of states, it's not fun and it's not intellectually stimulating. Since it will take four years to reveal all of the states, there can be no guarantee that the answer will still be available on the web as we near the end of the list. My guess is that this is an evil trick being played by the manager to try to retain employees. The promise of an eventual \$5000 payoff to the winner may keep some employees from leaving the company. The clues are all red herrings. If my "evil boss" theory is not correct, my other theory is that the person who created the puzzle just does not know how to create a good puzzle or Patrick is not passing along accurate information. All that said, my hope is that I'm wrong and this is a very clever puzzle and I will smack myself on the forehead when the answer is revealed.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: sublime1-ga on 28 Aug 2002 11:30 PDT
 ```And, just in case this was a test by Google staff to see if we're fully aware of all their beta tools, this is NOT the result of entering the first 5 states into the Google Sets beta: http://labs.google.com/sets?hl=en&q1=Delaware&q2=Connecticut&q3=Massachusetts&q4=Rhode+Island&q5=New+Jersey&btn=Large+Set```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: mara-ga on 28 Aug 2002 12:01 PDT
 ```tanktaylor, all you really have to do is post the next state. If it turns out that you're right, the questioner can contact you and the giving of the answer/sending of the payment arrangements can be made.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: justaskscott-ga on 28 Aug 2002 12:10 PDT
 ```I like asbestosman-ga's idea about Clinton's visits to all 50 states. It fits timewise, and also would help to explain the clustering of states geographically -- for example, after Clinton visited Connecticut, perhaps he stopped in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I haven't found a list yet, but it must be out there somewhere! I should mention that like Nader, Nixon visited (or at least promised to visit) every state during the 1960 campaign. While this has nothing to do with events in 2000, perhaps the puzzle creator wasn't thinking about very recent history. (I haven't found that list either.)```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: justaskscott-ga on 28 Aug 2002 12:19 PDT
 ```In response to mara-ga's recent comment, I would suggest that tanktaylor-ga post two or three more states, rather than one. There is a 1 in 30 (or 1 in 28) chance that tanktaylor-ga could post the next correct state without having the correct answer. However, the chances of getting two correct states at random are 1 in 870 (or 1 in 756), if my calculations are correct. And three correct states at random would be extraordinarily unlikely.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: katiemay-ga on 28 Aug 2002 14:06 PDT
 ```It wouldn't be Clinton's visits to the states, since he was in California on 2/22/93, which would have put it in the first five states at least.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 28 Aug 2002 15:29 PDT
 ```I'm not inclined to believe that this is any sort of a tour, or event where something moved, geographically, from state to state -- because of the irregular pattern. For instance, wouldn't it make sense (for Clinton, or the Rolling STones Tour, or whoever)... to go from Delaware to Massachusetts? Instead of skipping over Mass to Connecticut and back? If you look at my previous post about skipping from #1 to #3, down to #4, and back - it might make more sense what I'm talking about. I know that these tours sometimes skip based on availability, etc.. possibility it's VISITS spread over time, (one in March, then June, etc) but I don't think its a short based tour. And.. can I say... .. ARRRRRRRRRRHGGGGGGGGGGGGH!:) Patrick, are you playing a trick on us? :) hehe. -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: davidsar-ga on 28 Aug 2002 19:16 PDT
 ```Yikes...only a week to go before this question expires. Whether we find an answer or not, I think it probably wins the award for the question with most number of comments.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: secret901-ga on 28 Aug 2002 20:32 PDT
 ```I have an idea: Why don't we all check Google Sets at http://labs.google.com and then try any combination of states so that the first 20 listed in the results matches our list exactly? :-)```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: evilpickle7-ga on 31 Aug 2002 23:41 PDT
 ```Maybe it's the order that they appear in the dictionary, not just a entry, just anywhere. or maybe it's the order that a magazine does a spread on that state. remember, it's the order that something happened.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: letterrip-ga on 07 Sep 2002 04:01 PDT
 ```A request, could you have the 'evil puzzle creator' post the puzzle himself, so that we can be sure that nothing is being lost in translation? And some thoughts, The biggest discontinuties geographically, population size, and a number of other factors are numbers 17-20, and 14, and 8. (Florida, Minnesota, West Virginia, Maryland, Arizona, and Texas respectively). Thus orderings on population, geographical features, paleoclimate, etc. are out. We should also be able to rule out a number of things strongly correleted with population size and climate (ie a florida cross country ski team would be unlikely rated higher than say montanas...) we should be able to rule out sport rankings for teams where such rankings are strongly correlated with population density. We can't rule out individual performers, nor can we rule out small school/collegiate performance. However, if it is sport performance for a team, it should be one of the more obscure sports due to the population size effect, and the exclusion of california and new york, but inclusion of texas and florida. We should also note that none of the states are west coast or northwest, and the predominant clustering of series of numbers (ie 1,2,3,4; 8, 9, 10; 15, 16, 17; 6, 7; 11, 12; 19, 20;). With this significant clustering occuring this implies at least some sort of 'nearest neighbor' effect. Based on this information, I would hereby guess that 21 will be either VA or PA. Question, each guess costs 1\$, but must you guess all of the remaining states at once, or can you guess a few at a time and he'll say no at the first wrong answer? If the latter, it might be worth it to 'purchase' some additional information based upon the above observations. LetterRip```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: letterrip-ga on 08 Sep 2002 13:13 PDT
 ```My bad, I just reread the question and noted that the listing of states was required along with the rationale for the ordering... I guess time for more searching... LetterRip```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: letterrip-ga on 09 Sep 2002 13:11 PDT
 ```some additional thoughts.... The author of the puzzle had to find the list on the internet, however, it is unlikely that he found a site via a random search and then came up with the puzzle, nor is it likely that he came up with a puzzle and then found a site that contained the solution. Thus, it must have been a site that he visited, and then realized its value as a riddle. This seems likely to constrain the websites to either generally popular websites (such as news and sports), or to niche websites that attract strong followings (such as game fan websites). An idea I had for finding it brute force, would be to write a program that has submitted the list to google, and then parses the results to find results that have the proper word order. This could greatly narrow down the number of sites that need to be checked. (hundereds instead of two million...). So current strategy is to search most of the popular news sites. I thought the 'colorful pictures' might have been a clever reference to MSNBC, given the NBC peacock and MS butterfly, but searching for delaware didn't turn up useful results. LetterRip```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: whoshotjr-ga on 12 Sep 2002 09:27 PDT
 ```Could it have something to do with litigation against Microsoft (e.g. the order in which states have sued the company, or withdrawn antitrust suits, etc.)?```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: starrebekah-ga on 12 Sep 2002 23:17 PDT
 ```Whoshotjr, That's an excellent guess - but according to the link I found reporting the first 27 states to file, New Jersey is not included (which is #5 on our list). Unless it's some sort of pattern? Here's the link: http://news.com.com/2100-1001-208618.html?legacy=cnet -Rebekah```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: mad_stash-ga on 14 Sep 2002 10:54 PDT
 ```I am from Canada so I don't know so much about what I am going to suggest. Maybe is was the order of signatures somewhere? The last state to become a state first? The order of population of a certain race? Maybe the order of internet capability.. I'm not sure.. just throwing out ideas```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: uehlein-ga on 14 Sep 2002 17:48 PDT
 `I believe I have the answer, but I don't know how to submit it. Any suggestions ?`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: cogpsych-ga on 14 Sep 2002 23:35 PDT
 ```uehlein-ga: To post an official answer you need to be a Google Answers researcher. If you are not, then you can still post the answer as a comment, but you won't get any money for it -- just the personal satisfaction of finding the solution :-)```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: letterrip-ga on 15 Sep 2002 22:39 PDT
 ```Two people have claimed that they think they have the answer, and yet can't figure out how to contact Patrick?? LetterRip```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: debirlfan-ga on 17 Sep 2002 22:28 PDT
 ```I can't find the info on the net, so I have no idea if I'm right - but I'm wondering if that could be a list of states in the order they built auto racing tracks? I know that at least some of the states at the beginning of the list had tracks very early on - if the boss is a racing fan, he might have come across the info somewhere.```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: blader-ga on 18 Sep 2002 12:32 PDT
 ```The question is reposted here: https://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=66398```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: triniman-ga on 18 Sep 2002 12:33 PDT
 ```FYI: The reposted question is at: https://answers.google.com/answers/main?cmd=threadview&id=66398```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: triniman-ga on 18 Sep 2002 12:34 PDT
 `Great minds!`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: bowler-ga on 19 Sep 2002 07:06 PDT
 `Sorry I just wanted to be the 100th comment. Keep up the good work.`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: sluggy-ga on 29 Sep 2002 03:06 PDT
 ```any word on what the 21st state is? are the states released on the 7th of each month? If not, what dates are they released,and who has authority over those dates? I thinking that maybe August 7 (when Patrick released Maryland) could have something to do with a specific event that happened on August 7, of some year in Maryland, and then say on Sept 7, that event happened in the 21st state, etc```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: kemlo-ga on 19 Feb 2003 14:42 PST
 `probonopublico does not have a chance`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: kemlo-ga on 19 Feb 2003 14:43 PST
 `in beating this one`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: probonopublico-ga on 19 Feb 2003 21:34 PST
 `Oh yes he does!`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: kemlo-ga on 21 Feb 2003 12:18 PST
 `Not just yet`
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: kemlo-ga on 21 Feb 2003 12:23 PST
 ```Dear probonopublico I will of course let you know the moment this happens- Kemlo```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: lexnet-ga on 15 Mar 2003 16:24 PST
 ```Up-to-date info is online at www.Lex.Net/puzzle -- which includes an animated list of the order in which the states were added. MOST informative. The complete list of states is now: 1. Delaware 2. Connecticut 3. Massachusetts 4. Rhode Island 5. New Jersey 6. Illinois 7. Wisconsin 8. Texas 9. Arkansas 10. Louisiana 11. Indiana 12. Ohio 13. Iowa 14. Arizona 15. Alabama 16. Mississippi 17. Florida 18. Minnesota 19. West Virginia 20. Maryland 21. Pennsylvania 22. Georgia 23. Kentucky 24. North Carolina 25. Tennessee 26. Virginia 27. South Carolina```
 Subject: Re: Puzzle Ordering of US States (very tough) From: merc12-ga on 13 Jul 2003 18:59 PDT
 ```I've been reading this thread for a while and I took a look at the website, and now I can't help but wonder if this is some kind of elaborate hoax. Post a question on google answers for the maximum \$ amount, knowing that no one will get it right, then once they have everyone's interest sparked, create a website where you can send a 4\$ donation for 'charity' - voluntarily of course... sounds fishy to me. Anyone have any proof that this is the real deal? Just seams unlikely that the millions of people who have probably seen this haven't found an answer yet... Just something to ponder.```
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