Encouraged by the reasonable success of my first ngram puzzle Assassinate Shakespeare! I've decided to explore the idea further.

Here is a new ngram. Your task is to reproduce it exactly by entering the relevant search terms into Google ngram.



ngram settings

The answer

The correct answer will be a link to the Google ngram viewer showing the exact same graph as I have given but with the mystery text filled in.

How to proceed

This puzzle is designed to be difficult but not impossible. I thought my first ngram puzzle was difficult and yet within three hours someone had solved it. This time I decided to pitch the level at those in the community who are super-quick and give them a little more of a challenge.

Finding a solution does not rely on brute-force methods. If you observe all aspects of the diagram carefully and take note of the Knowledge tag, you should be able to arrive at a partial answer and then a very small amount of fine-tuning will complete the solution.

  • $\begingroup$ The peaks are roughly at 1974, 1977, 1981, 1989. Would this be helpful? $\endgroup$
    – Gamow
    Oct 13, 2015 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Gamow - Keep thinking along those lines. $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2015 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ Is it Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush? $\endgroup$
    – Gamow
    Oct 13, 2015 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ You are still on the right track. You can check if an answer is correct by plotting it on ngram. Remember to set the other parameters exactly as I show in the diagram. $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2015 at 17:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think 'case-insensitive' should at least be ticked, to avoid people getting the right answer but the wrong combination of upper case and lower case $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2015 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


The answer is:

Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon

(in this order, to make the colors match correctly.)

Link to Google ngram


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