16
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No, you were supposed to alphabetize by the zeroth letter!

enter image description here


The answer is a three-letter word.

Apologies that the answer is not more thematic; it made more sense in the context I originally used this puzzle. Also apologies that parts of the puzzle are a bit US-centric.

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14
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The "zeroth" letter of each word is a letter that can be prefixed to make another word. Each of the words given has a different prefix:

eBay, X-files, U-haul, V-neck, C-section, Q-tip

U-boat, eBook, Y Combinator, D-day, G-force, K-mart, T-mobile, iPod, O-ring, A-team

If you then rearrange the rows and columns so that the prefixed words are in alphabetical order, you get a bitmap that spells "SeT".

enter image description here

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What a speedrun! Maybe there's many eyes, or maybe it's just Joe Z. $\endgroup$ – xnor Apr 30 '15 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ There are definitely many eyes. Often I get to a question that's been open for 15 minutes only to find that somebody else has already given the correct answer. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 30 '15 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ Anyway, I rearranged them from left-to-right and top-to-bottom, but there's no discernible pattern...? $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 30 '15 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, some of the answers are less unique than I want. $\endgroup$ – xnor Apr 30 '15 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it was O-ring and V-neck. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 30 '15 at 1:59

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