Here is an image. My question is simple: what is this? (As a side note, I did not invent this, and it was not intended by its creator to be a puzzle.)

first image

PS: If you believe you have solved it, see if you can figure out this second image.

  • $\begingroup$ A meta-puzzle: Can you figure out why this was invented? $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2022 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ (also, can anyone help me think of a better title for this post?) $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2022 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Please dont post the answer with the question? Because the main idea of puzzling.se is to solve the puzzles given by others. $\endgroup$
    – Varun W.
    Apr 12, 2022 at 0:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @VarunW. That is not the answer; it is a second puzzle. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2022 at 0:53
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @VarunW. They are not disconnected, either. I think you will understand the connection once you solve the puzzle. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2022 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


Maybe not the final answer, but:

There are 26 symbol packs (a few of them solo symbols), as many as in our alphabet. So I assume each of them stands for a letter. Some of the circles are there multiple times and there is a system behind it. For example the ones I noticed first:

  • the two circles that could mean 'u' are also the last two circles of 'w' (double-u).

  • the 5th circle, the 'e', is the second symbol on many letters, that are spoken with an e, like d,t,p ('de, te, pe') but it doesn't appear on for example l, m, n.

So - what is this?

I think it's kind of a cipher for the english alphabet, that depicts how the letters are actually spoken. Like you would write ae, be, ce...til zed. I had a theory that - as the circles remind me of emojis/faces - it has to do with how you move your mouth or lips, but the second image kind of destroyed that idea, as I can't remember to ever make the first or third symbol with my mouth :) Nevertheless, they proved me right in the alphabet idea, because here you see the numbers one to ten. Two is 't' and 'u', seven is 's', 'a', 'v' and 'n'. Some symbols are new, because they're not included in the alphabet like 'th' in three.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Correct! (And it is meant to be how you move your lips. The first character in the second image is lips pursed for a 'w' sound. the third character in the second image is arguably the worst symbol in the set; it has the same mouth shape as the 't' and 'd', but it also has a line representing the nose and a star representing abstractly 'this one involves the nose', signifying a nasal sound like 'n'. Re: 7, carefully note the distinction between the 'eh' and 'ah' symbols.) The symbols were developed to teach Deaf children how to articulate speech. $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2022 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ Oh that's a really cool thing. I can see how it fits for most of the letters, just got distracted. Thank you for teaching me something new :) $\endgroup$
    – Gahja
    Apr 24, 2022 at 15:43

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