You are in the lobby of an apartment building. You know that six of the units are occupied; however, the directory is in disrepair and only some of the apartment numbers and residents' names are legible:

enter image description here

What is the surname of the sixth resident, and in which apartment do they live?


2 Answers 2


I'm fairly certain that the 6th's resident's surname is

Cohen and that they live in 1D.

After reading Iuri Guilherme's answer, which mentioned that all of the people are in either room A or room D, I thought

maybe A is for across and D is for down, so I tried to fit the words into a regular crossword puzzle, but with no luck.

In trying many combinations, I found that

the words fit together, in order, into a cross, like this

enter image description here

The only surname I could find that was 5 letters long and had "OHE" in the middle is Cohen.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ The panel surrounding the elevator buttons gives a hint to the crossword layout (black squares in the corners). $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Jun 10 at 12:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @fljx Good eye! I didn't even notice that $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Jun 10 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ You got it! rot13(Gur anzrf ner neenatrq pebffjbeq-fglyr va n tevq funcr gung vf uvagrq ol gur fdhnerf ba gur ryringbe ohggbaf, naq ahzorerq ol gurve ncnegzragf (2Q = 2 qbja, 4N = 4 npebff, rgp.) "Pbura" vf ol sne gur zbfg pbzzba 5-yrggre fheanzr jvgu "bur" va gur zvqqyr, ohg gurer ner n srj bguref fb gur sylre nobhg gur fbpvny rirag jnf vagraqrq nf n xvaq bs pbasvezngvba, vs lbh pna znxr frafr bs vg...) $\endgroup$
    – SQLnoob
    Jun 10 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @SQLnoob You've solved a few of my puzzles so it's about time for me to get one of yours. rot13(znlor gur yrnqvat yrggref, UAVPF pna or erneenatrq gb VF PUA, be "VF PbUrA"?) $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Jun 10 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ One possibility - and another very different one! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jun 10 at 23:13

I made a table with some data regarding the names but I couldn't find any relation. "Ice Cream Social" seems to be a thing of the United States of America, so I figured I'd target the data to that country. "Havana Nights" also seem to be a thing of the USA.

The numbers come from https://forebears.io/united-states/surnames and represent the rank of the surname - meaning the lower the most common, compared to all others - in the USA and in the World.

I guessed that the apartment of the sixth person is 1D because everyone seem to live either in the A or D apartment.

I couldn't find any relationship to the numbers I've put together, so I took a different approach. I decided that the post-it in the board is related to the Dirty Dancing movies. The first one happens in New York while Dirty Dancing 2 - Havana Nights happens in Havana, so I added the ranks for those two cities and Cuba to the table.

Then I figured that the most common surname both in New York and Havana happens to be Rodriguez. I don't think that is the answer but I added it to the table just for exercise.

Then I changed the guessed apartment to 1A just because the other boards in which we can see that the B apartment is visible are Spanish surnames and the person lives in the A apartment.

The resulting table doesn't say anything mathematically speaking (I checked with my regular machine learning algorithms) but it's been some hours of effort trying to figure out and it's the current state of my guessing

Apartment Name New York Rank Havana Rank Cuba Rank USA Rank World Rank
1A Rodriguez 3 1 1 14 57
2D Clark 646 2091 1254 22 545
3D Jones 4 1664 2224 5 208
4A Colon 1077 1202 1146 677 3339
5A Zhang 759 0 0 514 3
6A Perez 12 4 3 40 77

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