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This puzzle is part of the Monthly Topic Challenge #2: IQ Puzzle Parody


I've been sent an IQ test by a friend (because that's a really normal thing for friends to do) and I just can't work out what's going on. If anything, it looks to me like it's been corrupted or something:

IQ test, possibly corrupted

I'm not the brightest cookie in the drawer, so I'd really appreciate it if someone could help me understand what's going on here so 'my friend' can give me a job in banking (because that's also a really normal thing for friends to do).

Maybe if you could explain it to me in a single word, just to keep things really simple? Thanks.

TASK: Deduce - with full explanation - the 8-letter solution to this puzzle. (NB All background is just for flavour - at least that's what my friend told me to tell you...)

Other applicable tags might include , , , , , and .

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there a colored version, or a version with more contrast? As it is, I can't tell what is background from what is symbols. $\endgroup$
    – Alain Reve
    Aug 26, 2022 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ @AlainReve Discerning what you can see here is all part of the puzzle-solving process for this one... Everything of pertinence is in black. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Aug 26, 2022 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ This is a very nice puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Aug 27, 2022 at 5:42

1 Answer 1

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What's going on is that

there are several puzzles OVERLAID or

In fact,

there are 8 puzzles in total.

First, let us look only at the astrological symbols:


The symbols in the first two grids on the first row represent Libra, Earth and Ophiuchus. The first letters of these spell Leo, which is represented by the symbol in the third grid, which is placed in the same place as the Libra.
The symbols in the first two grids of the second row represent Virgo, Earth, Neptune, Uranus and Scorpio. The first letters spell Venus, which is represented by the symbol in the third grid placed at the same place as the Virgo.
Finally, in the last grids we have Saturn, Uranus and Neptune spelling out SUN. Therefore the answer to this puzzle is


Next, let us look at the triangles

We can overlay the grids on each row like this

to notice that the triangles form loops of alternating colours. Therefore the solution to this puzzle is


Next we should look at the arrows

If we "sum up" the arrows in each grid of the first two columns, the leftover arrows are shown in the third column in the corresponding places. Therefore the answer is


Now, let us look at the knights and letters (although not the smaller letters in the last column).

If we start from the knight pieces and use chess knights moves (going across grids on the same row), we can spell LANCELOT on the first row and GAWAIN on the second. In order to get another Knight of the Round Table Bedivere from the third row, the solution must be


Next we have the upright numbers and the Roman numerals of the last column

I'm not confident that I have figured this out correctly but if we choose from the first and second column those numbers in the same positions which can result in a single letter Roman numeral with some simple arithmetic operation (+-x/), then that Roman numeral is displayed in the third column. Thus, since 25x2=50=L, the answer is


Now, let us focus on the greek alphabet

Again, we can overlay the grids on each row to get

where the first nine greek letters form a path on each row. Therefore, the answer must be


Then we can look at the sideways numbers and special characters

For every sideways number X, the corresponding shift-X character from a UK/US-keyboard is found in the next grid shifted on the same row to the right (wrapping around). Therefore, the answer is


Finally, we have the quadrants of the circles

Here we just need to sum up the circle segments in the same positions of the first two columns and the third column will show the left over segment of a full circle. Thus, for the last row we get


Now, naturally we should overlay all these answers to get

which clearly spells
OVERLAID!

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    $\begingroup$ Spot on with all explanations, including the one you were unsure about. Thanks for including all the pictures - I was really hoping the solver would, as it makes it much easier to understand :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Aug 27, 2022 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv Thanks! I spent quite a bit of time trying to find some meaning for the "unused" numbers, but I guess I was just overcomplicating things! Also, it was a bit sneaky to have all the numbers in the range 1-26 :) $\endgroup$
    – user39583
    Aug 27, 2022 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ Ha, I wondered if that might trip people up, but clearly it still didn't hold you up for long! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Aug 28, 2022 at 8:38

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