Chemical stream puzzle

(Reprinted with permission from the January 1987 issue of The South-Western Connecticut Chemmunicator.)

Ever notice how some element names contain within them the symbols for other elements? “Potassium”, for example, contains “Si”, silicon, plus about eight others. Well, now you’ve noticed it…and you’ll need to think this way to solve the following puzzle, for you must string elements together in a sort of chemical stream of consciousness. For example, hydrogen → germanium → erbium → iodine; or hydrogen → oxygen → nitrogen → nickel. Get the idea? Because each step leads to a variety of branching decisions, we end up with a maze-like pattern, complete with loop-backs and dead-ends!

PUZZLE:    Go from magnesium to dysprosium in just six steps (i.e., fill in the five spaces below:)

magnesium  → _____________  → _____________  →
_____________ →  _____________  → _____________ → dysprosium


magnesium → silicon → cobalt → aluminum → indium → neodymium →  dysprosium

Chem 13 News    April & May 1987