Jill and Suzie are given the same data set and instructed to rank each entry, but they are not allowed to rank the data using the same criteria.
Jill goes first and has no trouble at all. She easily evaluates her rankings and writes down her top 15:
90, 80, 40, 10, 70, 95, 75, 94, 35, 20, 15, 5, 73, 25, 55
Suzie takes what seems like the next best approach after Jill's and starts writing down her top rankings:
95, 90, 80, 70
But after only the first 4 she runs into a problem. Thinking on her feet, she tweaks her method and is able to continue:
10, 40, 74, 94, 35
But after 9 entries, she encounters another problem, and this time she's really stuck. Unable to determine a tiebreaker, she declares a 3-way tie for 10th place:
69 / 20 / 15
She then continues with 13th and 14th place:
But she's forced to declare a tie again at 15th:
64 / 81
Jill gloats smugly at Suzie, having clearly chosen the superior ranking method. Suzie knows she had the more difficult task, but she feels the data they were given was partly to blame.
What data were Jill and Suzie ranking? What method did each use, and why does Suzie feel that the data was partly to blame for her failure?
Hint #1: The data table Jill and Suzie were using had three entries that were broken down into two rows each (unlike the majority of the entries, which were each entered on one row). The girls treated each row of data as an individual data point and ranked them accordingly. However, if their data table had presented with each of these entries as only one row of (the equivalent combined) data,
84 would have ranked 15th for Jill and 9th for Suzie.
Hint #2: The trivia in this puzzle is specific to the US.