Thursday, 15 October 2015

out of order #2

When I posted the original Out of Order in October 2013, I provided an unintentional clue. My son Tristan told me that he approached that problem by identifying how many different lists there were that contained precisely seven items. There aren’t many (days of the week; colours of the rainbow; deadly sins; cardinal virtues—and only the first two have a recognized order).

Consequently, in devising this new puzzle, I looked for a list of seven items, the identity of which would not spring immediately to mind, although this is a list that everyone will recognize once its origins have been pointed out to them. This is what I came up with:
Rearrange the following seven clues into the correct order, bearing in mind that each of the seven is currently in the wrong position:
• A UK #1 hit by pop group Abba.
• The title character of a Mozart opera.
• The beginning of all but one chapter of the Qur’an.
• A famous scientist.
• A lively Spanish dance.
• A god worshipped by the Philistines.
• A character in the Commedia dell’arte.
Abba had nine #1 hits in the UK, so it will be necessary to work out which of the nine is being referenced here. As for famous scientists, many more than nine would meet this description, so it makes sense to start with a clue that has fewer solutions.

I will be offline for a couple of days as I make my way back to Hong Kong, by which time I expect someone to have solved this problem. It may sound obscure and esoteric, but I do think it’s easy.

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