Recently there was a television game show in which the following was one of the problems (this is a screenshot of what was shown):


This appeared on SIC, a Portuguese television network. The only clues were:

  • You have to add all the numbers without using the common addition operation ("some todos os números, sem usar a soma normal")
  • The answer is a number

Naturally this can be interpreted in many different ways, which is how the game works, with people guessing the method involved to solve it. However, after multiple guesses with no one getting it right the solution was finally revealed to be:


Unfortunately, no explanation was given for this solution and even after knowing that this is supposed to be the result I can't understand the logic used to get to this number.

What method can be used to get this number from that picture?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Aw man, I watch those too sometimes (SIC ones) and I saw a similar thing the other day, and they just showed a random number as a solution without explaining. I'm pretty sure it's all just a scam, because people called and said every possible answer that could've made sense. These type of late night shows are usually bs. $\endgroup$
    – S. M.
    Dec 17, 2018 at 11:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is worth noting that the result has two prime factors - 2 and 2221. This means that probably S.M. is right and there is no reasonable way of obtaining the result from the provided numbers. $\endgroup$
    – rhsquared
    Dec 17, 2018 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ So the puzzle is not to guess the answer, but to guess what formula is used? In that case, if you don't know the formula yourself, how can you tell whose solution is the correct one? Otherwise, the answer is 80. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 17, 2018 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MrLister Yes the question is what method is used. Since all the methods I have tried so far and given the difficulty in actually getting any method at all to work for the given solution I think it is fair to assume that if someone comes up with something that makes sense and gets to that result, that is likely the method used. I think there would be a problem if there were a lot of ways to get there but since none have been proposed so far I think this question is fine. (This is my first question here but from what I have searched this kind of question seems ok to ask) $\endgroup$
    – Sdjz
    Dec 17, 2018 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ My guess is it has to do with the ransom note font. The 7 segment display in the 78, the hanging 7 in 47, the 5 with the broken segment, the upside-down 8 in 28 (and there's something wrong with the 2 in the 28 too, like the knee is too round..). $\endgroup$
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 17, 2018 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


First, let's see the setting:

They promises a fat money prize for the first person to guess it correctly.

Since what they want the most is audience, they must ensure that nobody guess the answer in just a couple of seconds. This way, they could run the show for some long time, getting attention from their spectators and occasionally showing them their ads and sponsors.

They will reaffirm frequently that this is really a great opportunity to get rich very quickly and very easily and that you shouldn't wait any longer! Get the phone, and call 'em right now before someone else gets the money! You just need to tell a single number and nothing more!

A lot of people will try a lot of possible answers because they all want to take the prize and get rich.

Then here is the secret:

No one will find the answer because there isn't any answer. They will just register the numbers that people are guessing in a database and tell them: "Nay! Sorry, that isn't the right number. Bye!".

In the end, when it is time to uncover the solution, they will simple give some random number that nobody tried yet. In this case the solution was 4442. If somebody actually had guessed 4442, then the answer would probably be 7437 or any other made up number that nobody guessed about.


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