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What is the First Number of the Sequence?

If a number in a numeric sequence is 17 and the second number is 3, what is the first number?

I hesitated to add this because it’s poorly worded, ambiguous and the answer could be almost anything. I prefer teasers with a single answer, but there you go.

If you came up with a different answer and can explain how you did it, don’t think you’re wrong. It’s probably just as valid. Feel free to share yours in the comments.

My answer for the first number is 2.

Here’s how I got it.

The generic rule for a number in the sequence is: 2^(n – 1) + 1, where n is the position in the sequence.

Note: The teaser doesn’t specify the position of 17. In this case, it’s fifth.

Position 1: (so n = 1) is 2^(1 – 1) + 1 = 2

Position 2: 2^(2 – 1) + 1 = 3

Position 3: 2^(3 – 1) + 1 = 5

Position 4: 2^(4 – 1) + 1 = 9

Position 5: 2^(5 – 1) + 1 = 17

For the curious, the next 5 numbers of the sequence would be:

Position 6: 2^(6 – 1) + 1 = 33

Position 7: 2^(7 – 1) + 1 = 65

Position 8: 2^(8 – 1) + 1 = 129

Position 9: 2^(9 – 1) + 1 = 257

Position 10: 2^(10 – 1) + 1 = 513


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28 Comments on "What is the First Number of the Sequence?"


Gimei Benedict says
August 17, 2015 @ 18:18

call me to explain +256704649584


Kamwada Mustafa. says
August 19, 2015 @ 11:08

You might be right.


Cameron says
August 21, 2015 @ 16:31

I think the answer would be 1 and you’re counting prime numbers.


kainja says
August 22, 2015 @ 06:19

The number is an infinity…….such that 3 is the second number and 17 is in the sequence


Francisco says
August 24, 2015 @ 10:35

2 is the and if you’re listing prime numbers and the sum of the sequence is 17 second term is 3


aquauwillshaa says
June 6, 2016 @ 16:53

I find it annoying and hard. Like, who has time to solve a hard and weird question?? some people like wasting time!


aquauwillshaa says
June 6, 2016 @ 16:57

I not trying to be mean but this is too much. Really? Like the real answer is 1, not 2. Use your minds and think about something that will tease us, not kill our brains


Nathan says
June 7, 2016 @ 11:52

I won’t lie I didn’t get your answer. If you remove the math, and treat the riddle as a word puzzle the answer is one. Both because it is ‘1’ then 7. And ofcourse one is literally the first number. However if you wanted to be cryptic about the whole ordeal then have the answer as ‘4’ in regards to the actual riddle as if wrote in an old mobile phone text message format. Meaning you would press ‘4’ three times in order to get an ‘I’. Alternatively you could have zero or one, and link it to binary code but I’m unfamiliar with that lol


Justin says
December 7, 2016 @ 00:38

1. Sequence is prime numbers


KitKatMinecraft says
December 16, 2016 @ 11:44

The teaser doesn’t specify the amount of numbers in the sequence, so in this case, 17 could be first, then subtract 15. 2 – 15 = -13, and so on.


KitKatMinecraft says
December 16, 2016 @ 17:18

Whoops read wrong

The teaser doesn’t specify the amount of numbers in the sequence, so in this case, 17 could be first, then subtract 14. 3 – 15 = -12, and so on.


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