Melbourne University Mathematics and Statistics Society

Solution for 2.2 Theology (Answer = DECALOGUE)

The first thing to notice is that this is really a sudoku in disguise. This can be motivated by the fact that there is a 9x9 grid, as well as the fact that none of the symbols appear twice in any row or column.

We can number the religions from 1-9 by the number of followers. Note that one of the religions is "blank", indicating agnosticism or atheism. Here is the solved sudoku (seeds are highlighted) along with the word search grid:

319648257
246571398
578923146
684715932
152389764
937462815
761894523
423157689
895236471

EDLMDSLCL
EAOIHILET
LAHOISSOE
TRXRISCIE
CFVAGTAAS
EGCELBIPT
EILOAACGR
PIEEONNUN
ERNNCORGS

We should quickly notice that the letters corresponding to "1" almost spells DISCIPLES, and the other numbers also anagram to other words associated with religion:

OrderReligionGrid LettersAnagramLetter
1ChristianityDISICPLESDISCIPLESD
2IslamLEIEVBGINBELIEVINGE
3NoneELSIAGRECSACRILEGEC
4HinduDAOXSEAPRPARADOXESA
5ChineseTradCILSFTONCCONFLICTSL
6BuddhismMOETALINOEMOTIONALO
7JudaismLHARACENGARCHANGELG
8BahaismSTHRGIOUERIGHTEOUSU
9ZoroastrianLEOCTEANRTOLERANCEE

Finally, we read down the diagonal (or just the nth letter of the nth word) for the final answer DECALOGUE.

Author's Notes:
This puzzle came out of a university assignment that involved a unique way to learn about religions (so naturally I chose a puzzle!). The original version involved one of the 9 letter words being NUMERICAL and another being ORDERXXXX to clue to the ordering step. However, this resulted in an extra anagram as the last step which we felt was less than ideal and so the final version was modified so that answer was spelled out in order. We believed the number of followers was a logical way to order the religions and thought most of the top teams would try this (which they did).