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U.S. geography puzzle

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U.S. geography puzzle

Postby skullturfq » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:25 am

This is an ordered and complete list.

Can any of you figure out the criterion I used for making the list?

Boston
New York
Charlotte
Jacksonville
Indianapolis
Milwaukee
Chicago
Houston
Phoenix
Los Angeles
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Re: U.S. geography puzzle

Postby DB_Cooper » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:41 pm

Thinking...
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Re: U.S. geography puzzle

Postby skullturfq » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:08 am

Some hints, if that helps:

Hint #1:
Spoiler: show
Notice that these are all fairly major cities


Hint #2:
Spoiler: show
Notice that they are roughly in order from east to west


Hint #3, which will probably be a bigger hint:
Spoiler: show
What if I rewrite my list as
0. Boston
1. New York
2. Charlotte
3. Jacksonville
4. Indianapolis
5. Milwaukee
6. Chicago
7. Houston
8. Phoenix
9. Los Angeles
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Re: U.S. geography puzzle

Postby Neel Mehta » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:52 am

Oh. I was in the right, uh, vicinity. I noticed there were ten cities, listed from east to west, and I tried looking for specific numbers that correlated to those cities, and gave up when I couldn't find any. I should have thought more generally. I guess I was focused on 80 percent more than I should have been.
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Re: U.S. geography puzzle

Postby grodney » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:18 am

Ugh, still can't get it. I'd noticed the first two hints, although the "not quite" of the 2nd hint is confusing me. 3rd hint no help. Yet?
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Re: U.S. geography puzzle

Postby skullturfq » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:28 am

It's possible that this was a less than perfect puzzle.

The answer has to do with (giveaway of key concept)
Spoiler: show
ZIP codes

and the explicit answer I had in mind was
Spoiler: show
These are the largest cities where ZIP codes start with a particular digit.

So Boston is the largest city whose ZIP codes start with 0, New York is the largest city whose ZIP codes start with 1, and so on.

It looks like Neel might have thought of something close but not identical to what I had in mind. (Maybe he was thinking ZIP codes 00000, 11111, 22222, ..., or ZIP codes 00000, 10000, 20000, ..., or something along those lines.)
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