Chaos at the international conference for world leaders: What should have been a peaceful exchange of ideas for common growth quickly exploded into hostility shortly after the German speaker addressed the USA delegates with accusations:

"We have recently discovered hacking attempts at our security network. Someone deliberately gave us faulty processors, such that we now compute

1 + 1 = 8

We think, the NSA is trying to spy on us!"

The Americans jumped up and shouted:

"Outrageous! Why is everybody always suspecting us for such things? Just so you know, we are victims, not aggressors. Checking our security protocols we've found a vulnerability. Our processors gave

2 + 2 = 6

And guess who wrote our software? The Italians!"

The Italian minister's face went through a spectacular range of colours, finishing with purple as he shouts out:

"You accuse us of putting deliberate vulnerabilities in software we distribute? Or do you just think we can't program? Either way, we will take up American traditions and sue you out of your wits! And we have proof that your harmful allegations are wrong. Checking our own computer systems with the prime OS installed - which, I may add, has been provided by an American company not known for their security, we could already see the same miscalculations you've just thrown in our face! But we tested further and realized that also

16 + 16 = 12

However, the security expert advising us on our network was a Czech immigrant, so if you want to point any fingers..."

"I don't believe it!" the Czech ambassador to Italy barks out.

"First you only pay dumping prices for our experts and beg me to bring them into your country, and then you call them spies? I can only assume all of this is a political ploy initiated by our Finnish friends, who not only live close to Russia, but also provided most of the mobile telecommunication in our countries. We have recently seen some of those devices miscalculate

32 + 32 = 18


64 + 64 = 24


But before the Finnish delegation has time to react, the meeting is interrupted by the session chair.

"Gentlemen, Gentlemen! Please calm down. I have just received intelligence that an international crime organisation has secretly spread a virus who, as I've been led to believe, is responsible for all the effects you have just described.

Can you tell what this mystic virus is actually doing? (i.e. we seek a method/algorithm/equation/instruction which makes all those equations come true.)


1 Answer 1


What the virus does, is that

it translates each number to the speaker's native language, then counts its letters

and uses that number to compute the outcome.


Germany: 1 + 1 -> eins + eins -> 4 + 4 = 8
America: 2 + 2 -> two + two -> 3 + 3 = 6
Italy: 16 + 16 -> sedici + sedici -> 6 + 6 = 12
Czech: 32 + 32 -> třicet dva + třicet dva -> 9 + 9 = 18
Czech: 64 + 64 -> šedesát čtyři + šedesát čtyři -> 12 + 12 = 24

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you are correct, that is pure genius! $\endgroup$
    – dmg
    Nov 27, 2014 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @dmg: I wanted to post both puzzles close to each other, but you were too fast on the other one. It was solved before I had this one posted! $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Nov 27, 2014 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ @sqb: did you solve it independently from my other number puzzle, or was it spoilt by it? Anyway, great work. $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Nov 27, 2014 at 16:06
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @BmyGuest what other puzzle? :) $\endgroup$
    – SQB
    Nov 27, 2014 at 16:46

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