College Entrance Exam!
This is the test question posed to me when I first applied to college at General Motors Institute (GMI) in 1967. At that time, applications were made through a specific GM division; in my case, Frigidaire in Dayton. They had to accept me first, then submit my application to GMI for final admission. At the time, I was working as an hourly employee at Frigidaire on the night shift so I could earn some money for college. One day, my foreman asked me if I was raised on a farm, and immediately I thought there must have been some manure or something on my shoes from helping Dad around the farm during the day before heading to work in Dayton. Instead he had noticed that I could fix the equipment myself rather than calling for a machine repairman. Then he asked why I wasn’t going to college, and when he was told why, he suggested GMI, a co-op university that alternated a semester of school and a semester working at a GM division, where you’d earn more than enough to pay tuition, room and board and after a year or so, even buy a new GM car. My foreman had just graduated from GMI and he too was a farm boy from near Greenville, OH.
Needless to say, I was interested, so he arranged for me to meet the person in charge of recruiting co-op students at Frigidaire, an old timer by the name of Ed Malone. The very next day before starting my shift, I arrive at Mr. Malone’s office in my work clothes.There were two other recruits, both in a suit and tie. Mr. Malone needed a quick, yet reasonably effective way of identifying the applicants qualified from those who were not, so he devised the above series to test new applicants. I got it right, was accepted into GMI and eventually graduated. The two other potential students applying with me at the time must not have made it in as I never saw them again!
It was a fluke how I got the puzzle right and the others did not; the explanation of which will provide a hint at the puzzle's answer. Us three applicants were sitting around Mr. Malone's desk in his office. The two other potential students were on each side of the desk and I was luckily seated directly opposite him. As he was writing the sequence on a piece of paper, I must have had some sort of dyslexic moment, because I provided the answer before he had completely transcribed the test series. Ole’ Ed Malone was surprised and said the best time he had ever observed was 20 seconds and here I got it in zero seconds before he could even write it down!
PS: Another puzzle follows. Click here for the answers!