Can You Solve This?

This is a question from an IQ test for geniuses (IQs above 140-160), cited in Malcom Gladwell’s new book Outliers.  It’s not a fair test of intelligence but it’s a fun puzzle to try your hand at.  I rearranged the answer choices from the book so if you’ve already read it but didn’t stop to solve the question you’re in luck!

It  took me 2-3 minutes to solve but 30 minutes to prove.  Post your one letter answer in the comments section (if you dare) I’ll put up the answer with both proofs – short and long version – first thing Tuesday morning.

Below are 9 3×3 boxes, 3 across and 3 down, 8 filled with symbols and one left blank.  The “-” signify nothing, I added them for clarity.  In the real question @ = clubs, % = diamonds, & = hearts but that is irrelevant.  Your job is to choose the answer that completes the series.

@@%    –     &&@       –     %&&

%&@     –     @&%      –     %@@

%&&      –     %%@     –     @&%

–             –              –

&@%     –     &@%     –     &@%

&@&      –     &%@     –     @&&

%%@    –     @&%     –     %@%

–              –              –

%&%     –     %@&     –       ???

@&@     –     %&%     –       ???

&@%     –     &@@     –       ???

–              –              –

A.

%%@

&&%

@@&

B.

%@@

%&@

&%&

C.

%@@

%&@

&&%

D.

&&@

&@%

@%%

E.

&%@

%@%

&&@

F.

%@@

%%@

&&&

G.

@@@

%%%

&&&

H.

&%%

&&@

%@@

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