enter image description here

Which symbol should replace the question mark in the above pattern?

To clarify a few things:

  • You can solve this puzzle with a printed version of it; that is to say, there's no steganography or other means of encryption involved here.
  • The square layout of the tiles is irrelevant. They go in a specific order, and this puzzle could just as well be solved with the tiles laid out in a straight line.
  • There is no 'misleading' information in the puzzle. Every single piece of the puzzle is relevant to its solution.
  • The pattern will be obvious once you discover it. If at any point it feels like a stretch, or you seem uncertain about anything, you're on the wrong track.

Hint 1:

Try not to get too caught up on the word pattern. Looking for patterns in the colors will most likely not get you to the right answer.

Hint 2:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

Hint 3:

This puzzle would work in black and white - the colors simply add a nuance.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I feel like the answer should be B, but I can't justify it. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Jun 16, 2015 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ The square layout of the tiles is irrelevant. They go in a specific order... Then I think you should clarify the order. Should we read these tiles by rows or by columns? The answer given by Player One assumes reading by columns (where 1 yellow + 3 purples was 2nd tile), but my natural tendency was to read by rows (where 2 blue + 2 orange was the 2nd tile). $\endgroup$
    – splungebob
    Jun 17, 2015 at 19:39

7 Answers 7


The answer is B,

The dots are a binary representation of the digits in the golden ratio (1.61803398), with each primary color representing a 1, and secondary colors are a 0.


0001 0110 0001 1000 0000 0011 0011 1000, and the only block that could be 1000 is B, Yellow Purple Purple Purple.

Edit: looks like I was beaten.

Second edit:

the primary/secondary color pairs are also opposites on the color wheel. Starting with '1', the colors cycle through red yellow blue as the digit's primary color for the binary encoding

  • $\begingroup$ You added a bit of explanation about the colors. I'll +1 your answer, but I'll accept the first answer than can explain exactly how the colors were chosen to represent their specific numbers! $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Jun 24, 2015 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ @baileym added another note about the colors $\endgroup$
    – dfperry
    Jun 24, 2015 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ @baileym also, you said the puzzle would work without color, so wanting specific color pairs for each digit is kinda off, don't you think? $\endgroup$
    – dfperry
    Jun 24, 2015 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ What I meant was that the base idea of the puzzle didn't involve the colors. The colors are a secondary part of the puzzle, which do have a reason to their rhyme as well. $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Jun 24, 2015 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ starting with '1', the colors cycle through red yellow blue as the digit's primary color for the binary encoding $\endgroup$
    – dfperry
    Jun 25, 2015 at 12:37

An attempt of an answer is B because

Splitting the pattern into 9 "fields", each field consists of two "complimentary" colours. Red/Green Blue/Orange Purple/Yellow. Each of the fields is either a duplicate or the colour-inverse of another, with the central all-green tile being an exceptional piece. (As there are an odd number of tiles, one has to be a "stand-alone" item. Central and of one colour only seems to be an appropriate choice.) This leaves the tile which looks like the "B" tile to require a double or an inverse, and tile B is the only one fulfilling this requirement.

A simpler way of seeing it:

All tiles on the left need a duplicate on the right. The central column is symmetric and otherwise just a distraction.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ While this is certainly valid reasoning, it is not the explanation I'm looking for. Each tile is meaningful to the final solution. :) $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Jun 16, 2015 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ I was afraid it would be so. Not seeing it (yet) though. $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Jun 16, 2015 at 19:37

It can only B

the decimal digits of the golden ratio, expressed in binary

  • $\begingroup$ That's more like it. :) Can you explain the color scheme? $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Jun 24, 2015 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ If you're treating zero as the last digit (for toots and giggles maybe), then I would guess two and five should be yellow/purple while four and seven should be red/green. $\endgroup$
    – Jared
    Jun 25, 2015 at 10:32

The Answer is C, because:

Well their is so much data that can prove it, that will take at least one hour to enumerate all of them, so I will just write the most obvious one:

You need to calculate the number of identical colors from the start of each symbol until they change.here the pattern: 3|1|3...1|4|2...2|1|4 (each row must be equal to 7)

I have edited my answer after reading this:

"The square layout of the tiles is irrelevant."

So now, the answer is B:

You need to calculate the number of colors switching in each tiles, the pattern is: 1/2/1/1/0/1/1/2/1

Some explanation about how I come to this answer:

First, we need to now what we have here: 6 different colors, 8(+1) tiles, 4 colored circle in each tiles, Only one colored circle can link another one, only one tiles is fully filled with only one color, colors have their own pattern (green + red, orange + blue, yellow + purple), only the (orange + blue) pattern are equal (2 of each of them in their tiles). Now, we can start conceptualizing the pattern by asking some question: does those colored circle linked each others mean we need to read them like this (bottom-left > top-left > top-right > bottom-right) ? If yes, does we can say they are like rainbow ? If yes, RED=1,ORANGE=2,YELLOW=3,GREEN=4,BLUE=5,PURPLE=6 ? If yes, does that mean that each color pattern is equally distanced by 3 (Green = 4 / Red = 1, Orange = 2 / Blue = 5, Yellow = 3 / Purple = 6)? If yes, that mean 3 must be our delimiter for calculating our pattern ? If yes, can we say that we need to read 3 tiles by 3 tiles ? If yes, we can easily see that each of those 3 row of tiles are hugely different in term of colors and number of same colors, right ? If yes, does we will need to read by a logical order following the "arc / rainbow line" ? If yes, that will mean that the type of colors, the color at the start/end and the order of them in the tile is Irrelevant ? If yes, this will indicate that only the colors switching is relevant ? If yes, how can we calculate it ? Maybe, by giving to each tile a point for every color switched, in example: (green,green,green,red = 1) / (orange,blue,blue,orange = 2) / etc.... By this theory, only one symbol can be our next symbol in the pattern: B --Since B is the only tiles with 1pts color switching in those suggested symbol.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling zaykho. This is a good start to a solution, however I suggest that you add more explanation behind how your answer works and how others can use your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Mark N
    Jun 17, 2015 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ I do understand your solution (and like the idea.) If English is hard, you may also try a visual solution. Draw (or copy & modify) the image and add the numbers... $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Jun 18, 2015 at 6:39
  • $\begingroup$ Added a new answer after reading this : The square layout of the tiles is irrelevant. Also, I have detailed to the maximum (took 20 minutes to post lol)! $\endgroup$
    – zaykho
    Jun 18, 2015 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ Also, with this theory, whatever how we read it (by column or row) the final pattern is always good ! $\endgroup$
    – zaykho
    Jun 18, 2015 at 13:04

If we read the squares in order as


Then the patterns go (with bold as the start of a repitition and italic as the inferred next in series)


green+red, skip 3, all green, skip 1, green + red, skip 3, all green, ...


Not really much information on this one, but skip at least 6


Orange left + blue right, orange bottom + blue top, skip 1, orange top + blue bottom, skip 1, orange left + blue right, orange bottom + blue top, skip 1, ...

Therefore I think the answer is


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I added a clarification on the puzzle itself, but to make sure you see it: "The pattern will be obvious once you discover it. If at any point it feels like a stretch, or you seem uncertain about anything, you're on the wrong track." :) $\endgroup$
    – Bailey M
    Jun 17, 2015 at 15:31

Reading each unit as a series of four colored nodes, the number of color changes in each unit is represented below in square form:


As zaykho points out, there is clear symmetry here no matter whether you read the units left-to-right, up-to-down, or as a square. Only one of the options fits this symmetry:

Answer B, which has 1 color change.


All tiles need to be there twice, either as exact matches or a reflection, except for the all green in the middle which appears once. Taking the tiles as numbered 123 456 789 1 and 3 match exactly; 2 and 8 match as a reflection; 6 and 7 match exactly; the only one missing is 4, so the answer is B

  • $\begingroup$ Creating exceptions for 3/8 of the given shapes (one pair and the center one, each with their own exception) seems to make this a poorer rule than those found before. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jan 12, 2023 at 15:22

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