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My son is 12 years old and his task was to find an English word from these numbers:

13; -8; 2; 2; -6; 12; 2; 6; -1; -12

where

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18

S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z
19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26

I'm currently at work where I have almost asked everyone of my colleagues but no one was able to solve it which is ridiculous because it's made for children, supposed to be solved in minutes I assume.

We have already tried to directly assign the letters to the numbers (13 = M, 2 = B etc.), leaving the negative numbers away at first because we had no idea how to treat them. We also thought that negative numbers will go reverse the alphabet, starting with Z and going back to A.

What is more, we have also tried to find some function / formula that creates this sequence of numbers which may have helped us, but we couldn't find such function either.

Any ideas? This is really frustrating!

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I thought that perhaps each number represented the relative offset from the previous letter, and that was looking possible up to the 12 - but after that was either an error in the sequence, or proof that it was a failed hypothesis. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Zeitlin Feb 27 '18 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Adding 13, then translating using the given table gives ZEOOGYSLA. Using dcode.fr to test for any possible rotation ciphers doesn't give anything meaningful. $\endgroup$ – Lolgast Feb 27 '18 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ @JeffZeitlin: I tried the same thing, even trying all rotations of it. No luck. You can get MOUTH out of the end, but that gives XKCEGAMOUTH, which seems unlikely. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Feb 27 '18 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ (note to past self: read the things that you type.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Feb 27 '18 at 14:23
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Assuming a mistake in the problem layout, we could get something with some significance:

MEGAMOUTH, apparently some kind of shark

The error would be

There should be only one "2" after the "-8"

And with this

We start from the 13th letter, M, and then just add or substract the number to get the next letter, wich gives:
13 -> M
-8 = 5 -> E
+2 = 7 -> G
-6 = 1 -> A
+12 = 13 -> M
+2 = 15 -> O
+6 = 21 -> U
-1 = 20 -> T
-12 = 8 -> H
Hence : Megamouth

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  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Gah, just beat me to it. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Feb 27 '18 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ At last, it's Deusovi's turn to be beaten by mere seconds! $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Feb 27 '18 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ I'll bet that this is in fact the answer, and that there is in fact the described error. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Zeitlin Feb 27 '18 at 14:10

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