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Colon-Dot-Question Mark Puzzle



Hi, everyone--

I'm hoping you can find an answer to a puzzle that is troubling us greatly at another forum. If any of you can find an answer, that will help greatly; the creator of the puzzle had to go to the hospital for several days, so he won't be able to tell us the answer for a long while, and we're completely stumped. 

Here's the whole puzzle:


Yup--that's it. Eight colons and a question mark. Make sense of that if you will.


Just so you know, I don't have any answers for you; we're completely stumped. Has anyone seen this one before, or does anyone know an answer?


Many thanks.

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This was answered on the original forum.

To see:


The answer was:

A. I. Breveleri  parses the question as :


"::" : ":" :: ":" : ?

which should be read "as is to is to as is to is to what"

which seems to indicate the answer "" i.e. nothing. 

The parsing is correct.  But the solution to the question isn't nothing, it's "."

or, "four dots"  is to "two dots"  as "two dots" is to dot.


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