Three colleagues at the bank are boasting to each other…

Colleague 1: “Ask anybody – I’m clearly the best.”

Colleague 2: “And how do you figure that?!”

Colleague 1: “Well, just mention my name and people instantly think of one thing: ‘quality’ – I’m practically synonymous with it.”

Colleague 2: “Pah, well, look up ‘BEST’ in the dictionary – who do you see staring back at you? ME!”

Colleague 3: “Ha! You are such a bighead.”

Colleague 2: “You’re one to talk!”

Colleague 3: “Yeah? Well, I’m worth both of you put together, and – let’s be honest – you don't come across individuals with my specific skillset all that often.”

At this point in the conversation, a fourth colleague enters…

Colleague 4: “Ah, looks like someone got the band back together! Sing us a song then – if you know more than two notes between you…”

Colleague 1: (with hostility) “Oh. It’s you.”

Colleague 4: “Couldn’t help but overhear your little chat – shame you’re all wrong, because obviously I’m the best.”

Colleague 2: “Pah. You’re nothing compared to us.”

Colleague 4: “Really? Then why do people love me so much, and tell me how vital I am?”

Colleague 3: (mutters) “Because they haven’t yet worked out you’re a total hole…”

Colleague 4: “Wow, well this ought to settle the question of who's the best, once and for all. Reception’s just had a call from someone who says they need our assistance urgently – let’s see which one of us they’ll turn to for help…”

Sure enough, at this moment somebody rushes in…

Who are the four colleagues? Where does their visitor work? And which of them does their visitor turn to for assistance?


1 Answer 1


The bank is

a blood bank.

The colleagues are, in order,

A (quality! and the indefinite article "a" precedes one thing), B (big-head, best), AB ("worth both of you put together"), and O (oh its you, nothing, love, a total hole).

The person in need of urgent assistance

will, if in doubt, turn to O, since people of all blood types can take type-O blood. (Obviously the visitor works at a hospital.)

A few other remarks:

you don't come across people with 3's specific skillset often because AB blood is the rarest type; A,B,AB don't have "more than two notes" because the notes are, of course, A and B -- and the band is of course AB/B/A. And, as @headblender kindly observed in comments, the "rancor" in the title is a synonym of "bad blood".

  • $\begingroup$ Quick work, well done! You've found and explained most of the hints (all correctly) but there are still a handful of further clues hidden in there (block 1 line 3, block 2 lines 1, 2 and 5, and the title...), plus a brief answer to the second question in bold (Where does their visitor work?), if you want to round them all up for completeness? :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Aug 21, 2019 at 21:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv The title includes "rancor" which is a synonym for "bad blood." $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2019 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ I thought I already dealt with block 1 line 3 and block 2 lines 1 and 5. I'll add a remark about block 2 line 2 and make the answer to the boldfaced question explicit (I confess I thought it was obvious -- unless there's some further trickery about it that I haven't noticed). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Aug 21, 2019 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ Each of those 3 lines actually has two hints - usually I wouldn't push it, except for the fact that the other one in block 2 line 1 is my favourite part of the puzzle :) And as for the obviousness - spot on (and indeed I would hope it should be, given the context!), but since I'd specified it in the puzzle it just needed a nod to address it... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Aug 21, 2019 at 22:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ OK, got the second refs in block 1 line 3 and block 2 line 1 (there's another way to use the same bit of 1:3 but I like mine better). Still not sure about 2:5; presumably "vital" is the relevant word but nothing I can think of seems terribly convincing. (Oxygen?) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Aug 21, 2019 at 23:35

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