What simple compound is precious to life and encodes the total number of elements?

What other thing does it code and is revered by some as precious to life?

Accepted solution should show how the second thing refers to the first.

  • $\begingroup$ Is the answer a word? $\endgroup$
    – Stevo
    Nov 27, 2021 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Stevo I think you'd have to be more specific, explain how that answers both questions, and its relation to chemistry. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Nov 27, 2021 at 12:34
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'd guess the reason they asked is that, if the answer is a single word, you're supposed to use the [word] tag $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Nov 27, 2021 at 20:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ More elements will be isolated eventually, then this puzzle will be less answerable. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Nov 28, 2021 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble The table of elements is complete. You can make your criticism when you can demonstrate extra elements have been found. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Nov 29, 2021 at 6:15

2 Answers 2


The answer is:


which is a simple chemical compound that is precious to life.

Converting to numbers:

1-1-8 (element #1 is hydrogen, and #8 is oxygen)
one hundred and eighteen

this is the total number of elements.

With some poetic licence, this number could be said to encode:

one one ate
one [object] [that] one [subject] ate
i.e. diet

which is also precious to life, and to be revered.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This does not answer the second part of the question: "What other thing does it code..." $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2021 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Also, the first part asks for the compound, not the number of elements. Your answer has this in reverse, but otherwise appears to be correct. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2021 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielMathias I've flipped my answer around as you suggested, but I'm still having some trouble with the way the question (and title) is phrased; it seems a bit clumsy. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2021 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ElementsinSpace I think I agree, it could be worded better, but when you get the answer that might shed a clearer light on the matter. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Nov 27, 2021 at 20:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good but partial answer. What else does it code? $\endgroup$
    – David
    Nov 28, 2021 at 7:13

Here’s a guess that might answer the second part of the question:

The environment. Water is an essential part of our environment and, as we all know, a healthy natural environment is precious to life.

  • $\begingroup$ Good, but I think that's really the first answer. There's more to understand here. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Dec 2, 2021 at 7:24

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