The final answer is a 12-letter word and is confirmed by the title.
Other applicable tags: visual, enigmatic puzzle, rebus (stage 2)

Stage 1 of 2:
Mark the correct cells black in the 5 grids below and put the results together to move to Stage 2 of 2. The grids are completely independent and can be worked on independently, in any order. Grid #2 is probably the easiest, followed by #5 and #4. Grids #1 and #3 are probably the toughest.

Grid #1:
Start on the black square marked "start" and move through the grid according to the clue, marking the cells on the path black.
Theme: Word property
Clue: Adjacent (including diagonally) r _ _ _ _ _ i c

Text version of Grid #1:
A 7-row, 5-column grid with the following values:

 42, 28, 73,106, 54  
 17, 78, 10,146,160  
 41, 74, 92, 65,111  
 70, 39, 30, 59,115  
 44, 90,  8,  5, 11  
 51, 13, 62,  6, 80  

Grid #2:
Start on the black square marked "start", but no need to path through the grid as in grid #1. Instead, based on the start cell, mark all cells matching the clue black.
Theme: Mathematics
Clue: f a c _ _ _ _

Text version of Grid #2:
A 7-row, 5-column grid with the following values:

  11, 56, 19, 44, 14  
 144, 22, 13, 64, 76  
   9, 12, 30,  8,121  
  60, 32, 36, 80, 40  
   6,100, 48,  7, 20  
  10, 82, 16, 90, 15  
  17,  5, 24,120, 18  

Grid #3:
Mark all cells matching the clue black.
Theme: Word property
Clue: l i p _ _ _ _ _ with an "I" (the character in quotation marks is an uppercase I, not a lowercase l)

Text version of Grid #3:
A 7-row, 5-column grid with the following values:

   6,  4, 10,103, 50  
  74,153, 63, 16, 12  
 122, 84,156, 69,131  
 184, 23,172,140,105  
  29, 65,116, 83, 24  
 120, 95, 48, 52,  2  
  46, 41,102,  7,191  

Grid #4:
Mark all cells matching the clue black.
Theme: USA geography
Clue: _ a n d _ _ _ _ _ d

Text version of Grid #4:
A 7-row, 5-column grid with the following values:


Grid #5:
Mark all cells matching the clue black.
Theme: Word property
Clue: P _ _ i _ _ _ _ _ e

Text version of Grid #5:
A 7-row, 5-column grid with the following values:


Stage 2:
(Easy) This stage will provide the final answer, which is a 12-letter word.

  • $\begingroup$ 2-5 are pretty easy, but I'm having trouble seeing what 1 is cluing... $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Aug 1 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ I feel like I have something that seems feasible for 1, but it's not entirely working out. $\endgroup$
    – SeptaCube
    Aug 1 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi I leaned to the easy side on this one, since my last multi-stage puzzle took 2 weeks to be solved completely. :) Were you able to get the word for grid #1 and still it doesn't give you anything? $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Aug 1 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ Never mind, just figured out 1. $\endgroup$
    – SeptaCube
    Aug 1 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @JLee There are a few possible words that fit that pattern, none of which give me any particularly relevant ideas. I could just be missing the obvious, though... $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Aug 1 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


Grid 1's hint is "rhopalic". A rhopalic sentence is one where each word is one letter longer than the previous. Starting at "six", a three-letter word, you can trace a path going up to "one hundred fifteen", with 17 letters; this draws out a Q.
grid 1
Grid 2's hint is "factors" [of 120, the starting number]. Shading all the factors of 120 draws out a lowercase o.
grid 2
Grid 3's hint is "lipogram (with an I)". A lipogram is a piece of text that is intentionally missing a specific letter. Shading all the numbers that aren't spelled with an I draws out the letter S.
grid 3
Grid 4's hint is "landlocked". Shading all the landlocked US states draws out the number 0.
grid 4
Grid 5's hint is "palindrome". Shading all the palindromes gives the letter z. grid 5

We now have

the code QoS0z. Going to i.stack.imgur.com/QoS0z.png gives the second part of the puzzle:

step 2

The six subtractions are:

This creates the 12-letter string NCCERPVNGVBA; this rot13s to the answer, APPRECIATION.

  • $\begingroup$ not that it matters, but the 30 on Grid #1 is shaded also. great job. very fast. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Aug 1 at 1:11

Grid #1:

Clue: Adjacent (including diagonally) rhopalic
Rule: Shade each cell on the path where each number, written out, has one more letter than the previous one.
Extracted character: Q
Grid #1 Image

Grid #2:

Clue: Factors
Rule: Shade each cell which is a factor of 120.
Extracted character: o
Grid #2 Image

Grid #3:

Clue: Lipogram with an "I"
Rule: Shade each cell with a number which, written out, does not contain the letter "I". Extracted character: 9
Grid #3 Image

Grid #4:

Clue: Landlocked
Rule: Shade each cell with the abbreviation for a landlocked US state.
Extracted character: 0
Grid #4 Image

Grid #5:

Clue: Palindrome
Rule: Shade each cell whose three letter word is a palindrome.
Extracted character: z
Grid #5 Image

Stage 2 [UNSOLVED]:

The extracted letters spell out: Qo90z. These characters look fairly random, and look like some string that would be appended to a link, e.g. Imgur. This idea is strengthened by the specification of capital vs. lowercase letters in the grids. I haven't found anything with that, though. There's also the "rebus" tag associated with Stage 2 of the puzzle, so this string of 5 letters may in a rebus sense resolve to a 12 letter answer.

  • $\begingroup$ Great job. +1 Deusovi is a tough competitor. He's been doing these a while! $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Aug 1 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ Probably should've realized that rot13(gur fgnpx+vzthe yvaxf rkvfg, tvira gung gurl nccrne svir gvzrf va zl jevgrhc, unun) $\endgroup$
    – SeptaCube
    Aug 1 at 1:16

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