Below is a picture and your task is to replace the question mark!

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ The details in the right-hand pic are far, far too small to make out. And, as the answer reveals, the task of finding it is a boring chore without that "Aha!" moment which Puzzling.SE values so highly. $\endgroup$
    – Rosie F
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


I think the missing pattern is



Each rectangle is represented by either a H (if the horizontal dimension is larger) or a V (if the vertical dimension is larger). If a rectangle contains another rectangle, that is represented by close brackets [].
For example, a vertical rectangle which contains two horizontal rectangles is represented as V[HH]. In the diagram given, the upper rectangle on the right is vertical and contains a vertical rectangle which, in turn, contains a horizontal rectangle and two verticals so overall, it is represented as V[V[HVV]].

Checking through each one, we find each large rectangle in the diagram is represented except for the lower one on the left which must be represented by the ?. In constructing the answer, I have followed the implied standard that H precedes V for rectangles of equal rank.

  • $\begingroup$ I know you pipped me to the answer but I figured I'd continuing writing up anyway, since I'd already done the diagram and I didn't want it to go to waste! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ Well done, very quick! This is of course the correct answer :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 10:58

The missing answer is:


This is because:

Each of the sequences contains a 'V' for every vertical rectangle and an 'H' for every horizontal rectangle, using square brackets to show rectangles nested within other rectangles, arranged in alphabetical order where two or more are nested within the same rectangle.

If we match up all of the sequences shown in the diagram, we get the following:

enter image description here

(However, there is a typo in the red sequence, which should instead read: H[H[H]V[V])

The missing sequence therefore:

Corresponds to the dark blue shapes, which would be represented by V[HV[HV]V[V]].

  • $\begingroup$ Aah, did'nt notice the typo! But yes this is correct :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 10:58

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