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I can't solve this, maybe one of you can? My intuition is the answer is the >< but probably only because that appears in the surrounding squares.


source: unknown but friend received it as warmup/practice question to skills test


marked as duplicate by Carl Löndahl, Alconja, Chowzen, JonMark Perry, w l Aug 7 '18 at 5:38

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  • $\begingroup$ If this is not the puzzle you've made, please put the source where did you get this puzzle from $\endgroup$ – malioboro Aug 5 '18 at 6:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm almost certain I've seen this on PSE but I can't find the dupe... $\endgroup$ – phenomist Aug 5 '18 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling? Where is this puzzle from, exactly? Puzzles without a source will be removed. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Aug 5 '18 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ I've added the source to the question but I kind of object to the renaming of the question - I'm not sure the symbols take their mathematical significance $\endgroup$ – edd91 Aug 5 '18 at 7:59
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think they do either, but this is a more specific title that can be searched for. If you have any better ideas for a title, you're free to change it. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Aug 5 '18 at 9:23

I think the answer is


I found different pattern from the OP:

Remove a character which have same position and same direction from two symbols in the same row that contains 4 characters. It will give you two symbols with 3 characters. Choose the symbol with the last character is ">", remove it will give you the symbol with 2 characters which is another symbol in the same row

first row:
><<> & >>>< remove the first will give you <<> & >><
choose <<> remove the last character will give you <<

third row:
<>>< & ><<< remove the last will give you <>> & ><<
choose <>> remove the last character will give you <>

so for the second row, because it's missing a symbol with 2 characters the only fit one is:
<><> & <<>< remove the first will give you ><> & <><
choose ><> remove the last character will give you ><


One potential explanation:

There are ten symbols in the first two columns. The first column has 7 < and 3 >. The second column has 6 < and 4 >. If we continue to decrease the < and increase the >, we would get 5 < and 5 > in the third column. There are already 3 < and 5 >, so with this logic the answer would be <<.


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