There have been some recent letter-sequence puzzles that have been well-received. For example,

Three different, and somewhat difficult, sequence puzzles

Two Bowls of Alphabet Soup

Yet another batch of four sequence puzzles

So I thought I'd try to make one. I include only one puzzle here, instead of many, like other posts, so that it is obvious who to award the answer to.

There are 9 items in this list. The first 8 of them are represented by the letters below.

Find the last one.

S N A X M P N I _


This list was published anonymously during the first 25 years of the 19th century, but 14 years later, someone claimed authorship.

  • $\begingroup$ I have never tried to make a puzzle of this type, but they seem to be some of the easiest puzzles to create, as nearly anything that can be listed qualifies. Nevertheless, suggestions are welcome. $\endgroup$ – JLee Apr 11 '15 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ If you don't like these types of puzzles, please move on to something that you enjoy. There is no need to downvote a puzzle just because you don't think it is interesting. In general, if there is something wrong with a puzzle, such as grammar, or it's not really a puzzle, then downvote, but if you do, always leave some constructive criticism so that the author can improve and learn. $\endgroup$ – JLee Apr 11 '15 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ Got it. It was easy :D $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 11 '15 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ My instincts said to post it first, and then bring in the hint later. I should have went with my instincts. But you are still a puzzle-solving machine! $\endgroup$ – JLee Apr 11 '15 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JLee To the contrary, though JoeZ solved it amazingly fast, I think the puzzle greatly benefits from the hint. It gives something to ponder rather that just starting at the letters. $\endgroup$ – xnor Apr 11 '15 at 7:54

The answer is D.

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!"

The above two lines are from A Visit from St. Nicholas, which was published in 1823, and later claimed to be authored by Clement Clarke Moore in 1837, fourteen years later.

The letters in the sequence are the third letters of the names of Santa's eight reindeer. The reindeer's names haven't changed much since then; Dunder became Donner and Blixem became Blitzen, but their third letters are still identical.

The next one would be the ninth reindeer introduced in the 1949 Christmas carol that changed Dunder and Blixem's names in the first place, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ Would you have got it that quickly without the hint? I am guessing yes. $\endgroup$ – JLee Apr 11 '15 at 1:53
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I am impressed! How on earth did you solve this so fast? $\endgroup$ – xnor Apr 11 '15 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ The hint helped. I was thinking about collections of things that had eight elements with a ninth one tacked on. The planets were my first thought, and then suddenly I thought of The Night Before Christmas and then Santa's reindeer when I noticed the clue that it was a publication from the 19th century. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 11 '15 at 1:59

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