# A Simple Puzzle

Here’s a list of how many of something that the following countries have:

• India 154
• China 95
• Japan 129
• Russia 188
• United Kingdom 171
• Germany 456
• France 433
• Greece 54
• Mexico 81
• Pakistan 33
• Mystery country 20,242
1. What is that something which China has 95, and India has 154?
2. Which is the Mystery country which has 20,242 of that something?

Fabulous prizes for the right answers.

Economist.

## 22 thoughts on “A Simple Puzzle”

1. Sudipta Chatterjee says:

Gun deaths per 100k capita

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1. Sudipta, that cannot be correct because if there were >20,000 deaths per 100,000 people in the US, that’s 5 percent of the population — or about 15 million gun deaths in the US. That obviously cannot be annual deaths, and even if it is over an extended period — say 10 years — that too would be impossibly large.

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2. Devi Mohanty says:

Billionaires?

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1. Devi Mohanty —

Over 20,000 billionaires in the US? Nope. The actual number of billionaires in the US is fewer than 700. Besides, if you look at the number for China in the post — 95 — that does not come close to around the number of billionaires in China, which is around 800. UK has around 170 billionaires (much, much lower than China). India has around 140 billionaires, which happens to be close to the 154 number in the post.

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3. Devi Mohanty says:

Yeah the Billionaires doesn’t make sense now – How about number of Universities or Engineering or Medical colleges…with some standards. Meaning accredited?

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4. Lin says:

Number of major family names that exceed a certain population % or population number

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1. Lin:

That does not work at all. India has around four times the US’s population, and it is extremely diverse to boot. India would have a much large set of family names, compared to any other country in the world. Sorry but no cigar.

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5. Rakesh says:

Languages – dialects? The mystery country being Papua New Guinea?

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1. Rakesh:

Papua New Guinea does have a truck load of languages for a population of 9 million. But not 200,000 20,000 languages/dialects. The wiki says, “India has the world’s fourth highest number of languages (447), after Nigeria (524), Indonesia (710) and Papua New Guinea (840).” Sorry, that does not work.

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1. Rakesh says:

200K? blog post seems to be saying 20,242 though.

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6. Raghuram says:

‘Public debt per capita’ seems like a good guess.

Assuming ‘Mystery country’ is the U.S., and its population as approximately 332 million:

\$20,242 * 332,000,000 = \$6,720,344,000,000 = \$6.72 trillion, which seems to be in the ball park.

The numbers for the other countries also seem to be in the ball park.

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1. Raghuram:

Good try but sorry, doesn’t work. Agree that the US is debt-ridden but the other developed countries cannot be that far behind the US in terms of public debt. I am not a macro economist and don’t like macro data. I would not have bothered with debt figures.

I am somewhat surprised that people have not figured out the answer yet.

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1. Raghuram says:

Based on your hint and logo:

Something to do with airplanes.

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1. Rohit Nair says:

Orders placed for single aisle aircraft? Mystery country is Boeing?

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1. Rohit Nair:

Sorry, no. First, Boeing is not a country. Second, a quick search on the web reveals this info.

That means that the US is not that far ahead in the number of single-aisle airplanes relative to the rest of the world.

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7. Raghuram says:

Checked the obvious ones like:

total commercial aircraft (fixed and rotary),
total military aircraft (fixed and rotary),
private aircraft owned (fixed and rotary),
passenger miles flown per capita,

but, none of them seem to match.

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8. Srini says: