Overview of States List Puzzle

First posted 2 November 2002 at 0124 GMT
Last updated 15 March 2003 at 2253 GMT

REDMOND, Washington For almost two years, researchers around the world have searched for a solution to the States List Puzzle. 

The puzzle originated in January, 2001, when a Microsoft group manager issued a challenge to his staff.  In order to raise money for charity, the manager offered a prize to the first person to solve the States List Puzzle and collected a one dollar contribution to charity for each guess.  The first state on the list was Delaware.  Since then, the name of the next state on the list has been added every month. The puzzle creator will add a new state name to the list every month until the puzzle is solved or until the entire list of states is disclosed.

The States List Puzzle requires the completion of the simple sentence, "This is the order in which <blank>."  The first person to fill in the <blank> correctly will solve the puzzle and win the contest.  Thus, the challenge to solve the puzzle is to uncover the reason that the states are listed in the order.


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