Below are 15 words and 14 patterns of coloured spots. Each of the listed words can be matched to one of the spot patterns via a systematic rule - but two of the listed words match to the same spot pattern.

For the checkmark, (i) identify which words match to which spot pattern (and which two words match to the same spot pattern), (ii) clearly explain the rule behind the matching, and (iii) describe the spot pattern (not depicted here) that would match to the word 'DEFRAUD'.

List of 15 words and 14 colour sequences

Word list: APPARATUS, BEAR, BONE, CLIMBER, CREAM, DESERT, GRUESOME, HOOLIGAN, INSTEAD, MARSH, NEAR, PEN, STAR-SIGN, VAST, YOUTH. Spot patterns: Red-Orange-Yellow-Violet, Red-Orange-Green-Blue, Red-Orange-Green-Indigo-Violet, Red-Yellow-Indigo-Violet, Red-Yellow-Violet, Red-Green-Indigo-Violet, Red-Blue-Violet, Orange-Yellow-Green-Violet, Orange-Yellow-Blue-Violet, Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet, Yellow-Green-Violet, Yellow-Blue, Green-Blue, Blue-Indigo-Violet.


1 Answer 1


The pattern for "DEFRAUD" would be:

yellow – green – indigo – violet

First, some observations:

The colours of the dots correspond to the seven classical colours of the rainbow. These colours are often just abbreviated to their first letters, ROY G BIV for an easy mnemonic.

The given words don't suggest any relationship to these letters at first sight. For example, there are eight patterns with a yellow spot ("Y"), but only one of the words has a Y.

But ...

... some of the words have synonyms that are made up entirely of the rainbow letters. IVY ("climber"), IVORY ("cream") and VIRGO ("star-sign") are obvious ones.

Unfortunately, yellow – indigo – violet isn't one of the given patterns.

But, but ...

... we can reverse the pattern. That is, the patterns are the full set of the seven rainbow colours after the appropriate colours have been removed. That means IVY is represented by red – orange – green – blue.

The patterns are:

APPARATUS — RIG — orange – yellow – blue – violet
BEAR — YOGI — red – blue – violet
BONE — RIB — orange – yellow – green – violet
CLIMBER — IVY — red – orange – green – blue
CREAM — IVORY — green – blue
DESERT — GOBI — red – yellow – violet
GRUESOME — GORY — blue – indigo – violet
HOOLIGAN — YOB — red – green – indigo – violet
INSTEAD — OR — yellow – green – blue – indigo – violet
MARSH — BOG — red – yellow – indigo – violet
NEAR — BY — red – orange – green – indigo – violet
PEN — BIRO — yellow – green – violet
STAR-SIGN — VIRGO — yellow – blue
VAST — BIG — red – orange – yellow – violet
YOUTH — BOY — red – green – indigo – violet

The pattern that occurs twice is the one for BOY / YOB.

ROB is a synonym for "DEFRAUD" that uses only the given letters.

Or, to account for the tag:

ORB ORGY: vivid representation ob the above

I found the "visual" tag a bit misleading. But the visual representation of the dots makes for pretty eye candy, or to stay with the theme, an ORB ORGY. :)

  • $\begingroup$ Exactly right. Well deduced :) The last colour diagram is a nice touch and makes things very easy for readers to follow. (An aside: Regulars who are used to my alternative transcriptions for the colour-blind may have cottoned on to the fact I didn't abbreviate any of the names this time and wondered why... Hopefully all is now clear!) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented May 27 at 20:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.