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Guess the Number

You know those math puzzles where you’re given a sequence of numbers and are asked what’s next? This is one of those. There are intelligent ones and stupid ones. Intelligent ones are those that involve actual mathematics. For example, you might be given the sequence

2, 4, 6, 8

and asked for the next number. There’s nothing mysterious going on here, but one does have to know some elementary mathematics to figure out that the next number is 10.

Or, one might be given

1, 4, 27, 256

and asked what’s next. Here, one would perhaps recognize these numbers as 1 to the first power, 2 squared, 3 cubed, and 4 to the fourth power. The next number must be 5 to the fifth power, or 3125.

Stupid number sequences are those that don’t actually involve any mathematics. Here’s an example:

3, 3, 5, 4, 4, 3, 5

What’s next?

I suppose there might be other answers, but the one I’m looking for is 5. Why? Consider this sequence of words:

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven

Count the number of letters in each word. That’s the number sequence. The next number is 5 because that’s the number of letters in ‘eight’.

Okay, so here’s another number sequence puzzle, one I thought of last night, and it comes under the category of stupid number sequence. In other words, you may be able to solve it, but not by using any serious mathematics. Rather, you’ll need to associate the numbers to some other phenomenon, and if you do, the answer will be obvious. But if you don’t, there’s no hope. Ready? Here is the sequence:

2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 2, 2, 2, 2, 0, 0

What’s next?

I’ll provide the answer in a separate post so you won’t accidentally see it below, in case you want to think a little bit about it. However, let me add a couple of hints, which you can read or ignore. They are below the fold.

Hint 1: The numbers are related to an event that has been followed in recent weeks around the world.

Hint 2: This event has unfolded over a sequence of days. Associate the numbers of the sequence to the days.

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