the solution to the brain-teaser I set in
Issue 33 (September 2002).
recall, the 26 letters of the English alphabet were divided into four
groups, as shown below, and the question was: “What is the principle on
which the grouping has been made?”
Before letting you into the secret, I want to describe the situation in
which I first heard of this puzzle, a lecture series called The Language
of Communication. When the lecturer presented it, ten minutes elapsed
before a hand was raised.
It was a
lady of Chinese background who eventually solved it, and before you look
at the solution, think about that fact. It holds an important clue.
Back in a
F G J K L N P Q R S Z
B C D E
A M T U V W Y
H I O X
Chinese clue points to the fact that the shape of the letters has
determined the grouping, rather than their usage in English or their
has a horizontal axis of symmetry, Group 3 a vertical one, Group 4 has
both, while Group 1 has none.
course, you need to use an appropriate typeface, or the whole thing