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


Lando had never felt so nervous. The Badger and Biscuit's 'KWIZ NITE' was only minutes away from starting, and he had just overheard a known associate of international criminal Patrick Terne discussing his mysterious leader's current location. Sergeant Sequence was sat at his regular table, pen in hand, ready for the 'kwizzing' to begin. If only there were some way for Lando to pass on this important information to him without being noticed by Terne's gang, who were always watching him closely these days...

Then an idea struck him. Quick as a flash, he pulled together a new round for the quiz, ran several copies off the photocopier, and distributed one to each table. At Sergeant Sequence's table he paused just long enough to double-tap the middle square on the page, before continuing on his path around the room.

The minute gesture did not go unnoticed by the Sergeant, and he examined the page before him, which appeared to resemble a collection of eight IQ test questions...

Lando's IQ test quiz round

The round was a very enjoyable one for Sequence, who was able to call on his wide and varied trivia knowledge not only to secure his team maximum points but also to uncover the identity of the country that Lando had concealed at its heart...

TASK: Solve Lando's pub quiz round, and deduce the identity of the hidden country.

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1 Answer 1

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The country Lando is looking for is:

IRAQ, or, fittingly, IQ.

First, we solve each of the 8 subpuzzles.

Puzzle 1

These are each the last two letters of each word in James Bond film titles, in chronological order. The next one is Octopussy, so the answer is SY.

Puzzle 2

These are each the first and last letter of Chinese Zodiac animals, in chronological order. The next one is the Tiger, so the answer is TR.

Puzzle 3

These are each abbreviations for sections of the electromagnetic spectrum, in order of increasing wavelength. The next one is infrared, so the answer is IR.

Puzzle 4

These are each the first two letters of books of the bible, in chronological order. The next one is Jonah, so the answer is JO.

Puzzle 5

These are each abbreviations for elements in the periodic table, arranged in the grid as they would be on the table. The missing element is Iridium, so the answer is IR.

Puzzle 6

These are each the initials of Vice Presidents of the United States, in reverse chronological order. The next one is Spiro Agnew, so the answer is SA.

Puzzle 7

[Thanks to M Oehm from the comments!]
These are each the initials of countries that have hosted the FIFA World Cup, in chronological order. The next one is South Africa, so the answer is SA.

Puzzle 8

The second letters make up the word WIKIPEDIA spelled backwards, and the first letters make up the word WIKIPEDIA spelled backwards but with an offset of 2. The missing letter in the first set is K, and in the second set is W, so the answer is KW.

Metapuzzle

Our prior answers are all bigrams, and should be placed in a 3x3 grid as they appear in the puzzle.
SY TR IR
JO ?? IR
SA SA KW

These are all...

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes.
Syria Turkey Iran
Jordan ??? Iran
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Kuwait

We can then notice that...

They are all very close together on a map. In fact, they are almost arranged in the same way as the 3x3 grid itself. Crucially, one country is surrounded by the other 6: IRAQ, which has a very fitting ISO abbreviation of IQ.
Map image

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    $\begingroup$ Well done! (Number 7 is hosts of this, I think.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm That would also fit the meta puzzle (although with a different solution), leaving 7's solution for puzzle 8. $\endgroup$
    – xyldke
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @xyldke: I know. :) (But even so, I have no idea what #8 could be.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 7:07
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    $\begingroup$ Grrr, curse you @Stiv. :) Now I know more about Washington Irving, Dorothy Parker, Kanye West and Karol Wojtyla than I ever wanted to know. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ @MOehm, as an aside, we might be the reason Kanye West is trending in google right now $\endgroup$
    – SteveV
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 17:49

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