John created a password for a social network, thinking he could forget it, he left the information below in his agenda:

  • None of the syllables is in the word JUCOMAGO:
  • Two syllables are in the word TALAJUBE, one in the right position and the other in the wrong position;
  • Two syllables are in the word MAFOGONI, one in the right position and one in the wrong position.
  • Two syllables are in the word GOLACONI, both in the wrong position.

e. None of the above is correct

(It seems obvious to me, now that I have edited the question, that the answer is "TAFONILA". But I would like to know the logical procedure to get to it.)


  • $\begingroup$ Is this a puzzle you got from elsewhere? If so, please edit in a source - we have an attribution policy here, and unsourced puzzles are subject to closure and deletion. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jan 2, 2021 at 0:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What does Jucomago mean here? Does it have anything else next to it? $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2021 at 0:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ According to the Amazon UK "look inside" facility, none of that is in the book. Maybe the Kindle edition is very different from the hardcover, though I can't see why it would be. @gmn_1450, how sure are you that this question really comes from that book? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 2, 2021 at 0:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Also, I must echo Beastly Gerbil's question. I wonder whether somehow part of the question has been omitted. (In which case, I bet the first bullet point here, which may well not have been the original first piece of information, probably said something like "Exactly one of the syllables is in the word JUCOMAGO". Or "None" or "At least one", or whatever.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jan 2, 2021 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan My mistake! I ended up making a mistake choosing the .pdf. Excuse me. $\endgroup$
    – gmn_1450
    Jan 2, 2021 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


This puzzle is very similar to the Bulls and Cows (or Hasbro's Mastermind) game. We are just playing with syllables instead of digits (or colors).

First and foremost, let's rewrite the clues to make your puzzle look alike the aforementioned games:

0+0   JU   CO   MA   GO
1+1   TA   LA   JU   BE
1+1   MA   FO   GO   NI
0+2   GO   LA   CO   NI

First digit is a syllable in the right position; second digit is a syllable in the wrong position.

First step: examine the first clue.

None of the syllables JU CO MA GO are valid. This rules out propositions c (TALAGONI).

Let us rewrite the remaining clues accordingly. Invalid syllables are replaced with --; those that are clearly misplaced are inside parentheses.

 0+2   --  (LA)  --  (NI)    [was the last clue initially]
 1+1   TA  (LA)  --   BE
 1+1   --   FO   --  (NI)

The last line tells us

FO is in the right position.
This rules out propositions a (BETAFOZI) and b (FONILATA).
We are left with proposition d (TAFONILA) and e (none of the above).

Final step:

Does TAFONILA match the clues as we have rewritten them above?

 0+2   --  (LA)  --  (NI)   => Yes, both LA and NI are misplaced
 1+1   TA  (LA)  --   BE    => Yes, TA is correct, LA is misplaced
 1+1   --   FO   --  (NI)   => Yes, FO is correct, NI is misplaced

Therefore, the correct answer is:


  • $\begingroup$ Ahah, now this makes much more sense given the update. Seems I was wrong in my assumption after all :) $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2021 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this question definitely needed an update :-) But I didn't expected it would change that much. $\endgroup$
    – xhienne
    Jan 2, 2021 at 12:54

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