While getting stuff from the basement, you find a panel concealing a tunnel leading into a myrmidon hive. This discovery, along with the overall freshness of the tunnel, prompts you to go find out if the hive is still inhabited. According to the map on the back of said panel, there are 5 rooms you could get to on foot, which are labeled (in the myrmidon language) as:

  • Qang
  • Ang
  • Qex
  • Xex
  • Xek

Your knowledge of this language is limited to a few root words:

  • Ang, meaning nest or nursery
  • Xa, meaning food or eating
  • Qa, meaning time or things that happen over time
  • Ex, meaning a source of something
  • Ek, meaning a place to do something

You also know that the myrmidon language is highly synthetic, with all words made up of only a few roots. They also rarely use metonyms or hidden meanings

Using all the information you have, which is the best place to go to check to see if the hive is still running? A bonus if you can say what all the rooms are

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The puzzle part of this is fairly trivial, and then the rest seems to be highly ambiguous interpretation. This seems like it falls under the category of "subjectively correct answers" - there's not much confirming whether an answer is correct. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi How can I improve the puzzle? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 21:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You should make the actual puzzle more involved - focus on the puzzle rather than the story. Right now there's not much puzzle here. Like several of your other questions featuring alien species, it seems that much of the question is about guessing what properties you imagine these species to have rather than actually solving a puzzle. [...] $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 21:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ [...] The puzzle idea here is definitely workable, though. Linguistics is a great source for puzzles! I'd recommend checking out the International Linguistics Olympiad to see how these types of puzzles can be done (1) more unambiguously, and (2) with more interesting "puzzly" features. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 21:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I understand the idea of the puzzle. But the words' meanings are very ambiguous, and can't be clearly determined without knowing what you have in mind. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


It's fairly easy to see how to decompose the given words:

Qang = Qa + Ang = "time nest"
Ang = "nest" (given)
Qex = Qa + Ex = "time source"
Xex = Xa + Ex = "food source"
Xek = Xa + Ek = "eating place"

Unfortunately, the actual interpretation is more subjective. The first and third in particular are very ambiguous.

Some possible interpretations:

"time" could refer to the past (where the effects of time have already occurred) or the future (room meant for the effects of time to occur). It could also be metonymically standing in for something else - something else representing time to this species, like information, historical artifacts, power, or even the ruler themself.

"time nest" could be any of:
abandoned nests, unfinished nests, place where eggs are kept, 'nursing home' equivalent, storage room, library...

and "time source" could be any of:
place where eggs are made, school, power generator, composting room, sundial, ruler's room, antique factory...

  • $\begingroup$ I've edited the question. Does it help? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 21:56

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