You are given a note from a language nerd, which is:

If Japan is 239,

Then Germany is 4.

Greece is 14,

While Italy is 3.

Now, Philippines has 412.

But Norway has 2357!

Now you are given 3 questions:

  1. Which of these numbers that satisfy this country: Afghanistan?

h) 78 b) 4 c) 2 r) 15

  1. What does Wales have?

a) 36 e) 872 o) 28 u) 8

  1. What country has this number: 5?

g) Sweden t) Lithuania y) Estonia d) Romania

Here is the last note, which says:

Take the letters you just answered at the second note. It should be a valid word.

Question: How does the formula work, and what is the word?

Hint 1:

Numbers and Languages do exist.

Hint 2: (big)

Take the number 4. Do you see any rule that this number has, but no number has it except this?

Last Hint:

1, 3, 5, 4, 4, 4, and so on... also 18, 8, 5, 4, 4, and so on... See? It esclates quick.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you deliberately distinguishing between having a number and being a number? (E.g., you say Germany is 4 but the Philippines have 412.) $\endgroup$
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ is Wales separate county? $\endgroup$
    – CR241
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ The simplest formula mostly works but I don't understand the 9 in J or why N has 57 instead of 4. So will need another hint. $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ Or are you sure the values are correct? $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 13:43

2 Answers 2



I understand the meaning of the hints:

in English, four is the only number which has the same number of letters as the number itself; for other numbers, we can apply a process of counting letters to get sequences like eighteen, eight, five, four, four, four, ... or one, three, five, four, four, four, ...

Puzzle structure

My guess is that the puzzle involves

numbers which have the same property that "four" has in English, but in different languages.

Supporting this is the fact that

4 in German is vier with 4 letters, and 3 in Italian is tre with 3 letters.

But I'm not sure what to do for the numbers with more than one digit: for example,

14 in Greek doesn't have 14 letters, and 1 and 4 in Greek don't have 1, 4, or 14 letters.

On the other hand,

1 in Greek does have 4 letters ... but 2 in Norwegian doesn't have 3 letters, nor does 2 in Japanese have 3 letters.


At least I can partially answer the third question:

5 in Swedish and Estonian doesn't have 5 letters, but in Lithuanian and Romanian it does. So the answer is either t or d.

And the first question:

2 in the Dari language of Afghanistan has 2 letters, so the answer is probably c.

For the second question, I'm mostly reduced to figuring it out from the letters:

8 in Welsh doesn't have 8 letters, so it's not u. Then, to form a word of the form c?t or c?d, the most likely option is probably cat, although it could be cad or cot or cod in theory.

So I think the answers are

1c, 2a, 3t,

but I'm not fully sure of the logic.

  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Terrx vf abg gur bayl ynathntr va Terrpr, gubhtu. Va Nyonavna, 14 unf 14 yrggref. Ohg gung fgvyy qbrfa'g rkcynva gur >100 ahzoref gubhtu.) $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Commented Apr 4, 2021 at 0:42

I came up with this pattern, which probably is not the desired answer but it's worth sharing anyway.

From Rand al'Thor's answer:

The hints are mainly about that special property of the number 4 in English, being the only one made of a number of letters equal to itself.
Italy and Germany are the only two countries in the text of the riddle in which the number they are being paired with has that same special property (in Italian 3 is tre and in German 4 is vier).

Now I noticed that if you order the countries by their given number:

you are also ordering them by the number of islands in the country, except for Italy and Germany:
Italy 3 450 islands
Germany 4 50 islands
Greece 14 6000 islands
Japan 239 7000 islands
Philippines 412 7640 islands
Norway 2357 50000 islands

We assume that it's fine to ignore Italy and Germany because their number has the special property mentioned above.

So with this logic we can answer the first question with:

c) because Afghanistan has no islands, so it should be paired with a number that is less than the 14 of Greece. And 2 is the only possible answer. I also checked whether 2 in the Afghanistan's Pashto language is made of two letters, and I believe it's not.

The answer to the second question would be:

u) because Wales has 100 islands and thus should get a number between the 2 of Afghanistan and the 14 of Greece. Here 8 is the only possible answer and in Welsh is wyth (not made of eight letters).

Answer to the Third question:

We got to pair 5 with some country. In our ordered list, 5 would fit between 2, corresponding to zero islands, and 8, corresponding to 100 islands. There are two possibilities here: Lithuania and Romania (Sweden and Estonia have more than 100 islands).
Now in both Romanian and Lithuanian 5 has five letters. I found that 7 in Lithuanian has seven letters so 5 doesn't have this unique property in Lithuanian and the answer should be d) Romania.

So the valid word is:


...whatever it means.


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