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One country flag has been replaced with a question mark. Based on the theme of this puzzle, can you figure out which flag it is? The final answer to this puzzle is 10 letters long.


enter image description here

Hint 1: You may or may not have realized this but it's...

...1 vs 1.

Since there is a big bounty now, let me give you another hint.

Hint 2:

Besides identifying the flags, you gotta apply some knowledge unrelated to geography.

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    $\begingroup$ @DanDan0101 Yes it's intentional. I had to do it on that one (view this as a little hint), but it has nothing to do with the puzzle as a whole. So don't look for abnormalities on the other flags, they are all in their normal form. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2023 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Stiv The latter, yes. You have to figure out what this puzzle is about in order to place the correct flag $\endgroup$ May 10, 2023 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ I had a thought that rather than the scales being empty on one side, that side instead contains a full white flag. I'm not very good when it comes to countries, but perhaps one that fought and surrendered against the other three flags on the scales? $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2023 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ @TylerSelden Interesting way of looking at it, but no, that's not going to lead to the answer $\endgroup$ Jun 4, 2023 at 0:44
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    $\begingroup$ @ThePuzzler-orratherAPuzzler Yes, the title is a hint. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2023 at 6:31

2 Answers 2

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After reading all the comments and hints, my guess is to replace the question mark with the flag of:

OmanOman

My assumption to arrive at this answer was:

To extract the first two letters of each of the country names that these flags represent.

That will be:

Tanzania (Ta) Namibia (Na) Australia (Au) Oman (Om) Liechtenstein (Li) Iceland (Ic) Austria (Au) Belgium (Be) Algeria (Al)

As pointed out by others:

Australia will balance with Austria if you compare the atomic mass of Au with Au. Liechtenstein will go with Belgium as Li is lighter than Be. Namibia will go with Algeria as Na is lighter than Al.

Also:

Flag of Tanzania is reversed. So, I will take Ta as At.

Finally, since:

Australia, Liechtenstein and Namibia will move down, the flags representing At, Om and Ic will remain above which will imply that this puzzle is about

AtOmIc

Mass

Worth noting that:

Om and Ic are not symbols of any chemical elements but they just contribute in coining the name for this puzzle.

I hope I am right!

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  • $\begingroup$ You're absolutely right :) Bounty incoming! $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2023 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ Haha. When the puzzle was posted few months back, it was not that difficult to figure out that it was about rot13(ngbzvp znff) but your last hint made me to move in the right direction to guess for the country's name. Funny how things work out sometimes :) $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2023 at 16:58
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This is only a partial answer.

My first idea is:

Each flag is associated with an element on the periodic table. For example, Austria starts with Au, the symbol for gold.

This may explain why the flag of Tanzania is mirrored: you want to include the element Astatine with symbol At, but no country starts with At, so instead we are supposed to take the first two letters of Tanzania, Ta, and flip them to get At.

However, I'm a bit thrown off by Iceland, since there is no element with symbol Ic. I suppose we can just use Iodine, with symbol I.

In order, the five known flags at the top would then give us

1. Tanzania (mirrored) -> At (Astatine)
2. Namibia -> Na (Sodium)
3. Australia -> Au (Gold)
4. ?
5. Liechtenstein -> Li (Lithium)
6. Iceland -> I (Iodine)


and the three flags on the scales would give us

a. Austria -> Au (Gold)
b. Belgium -> Be (Beryllium)
c. Algeria -> Al (Aluminum)

My second thought is:

Each element has an atomic mass, which explains the weight part of the title (and the scales). The atomic masses are roughly

1. At (Astatine): 210
2. Na (Sodium): 23
3. Au (Gold): 197
4. ?
5. Li (Lithium): 7
6. I (Iodine): 127


and

a. Au (Gold): 197
b. Be (Beryllium): 9
c. Al (Aluminum): 27


Having both Australia and Austria correspond to gold could help explain why the scale with Austria is level, but I don't understand the specifics. I'm not quite sure where to go from here, or if I'm even on the right track.

The ideas above are a bit shaky, so I could be way off track.

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  • $\begingroup$ Guvf ybbxf pbeerpg. V'z cerggl fher gur arkg fgrc vf gb svaq n yvfg bs gur anzrf bs pbhagevrf, svygre gurz gb 10-yrggre anzrf, naq gura fpna gur erfhygf sbe nal jubfr svefg yrggref ybbx yvxr n purzvpny ryrzrag juvpu vf yvtugre guna Nyhzvavhz. Bar fhpu erfhyg vf "Onatynqrfu" jvgu ortvaf jvgu gur flzoby sbe Obeba. $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2023 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ This is very similar to my own theories. However, in contrast to @codewarrior0 I figured that rot13(jr jrer fhccbfrq gb cynpr 3 bs gur syntf sebz gur gbc bagb gur fpnyrf - (Nh)fgenyvn gb rdhny (Nh)fgevn, (Yv)rpugrafgrva gb or yvtugre guna (Or)ytvhz, naq (A)nzvovn/(An)zvovn gb or yvtugre guna (Ny)trevn. V'ir unq frireny gurbevrf sbe gur arkg fgrc, abar bs juvpu rkcynvaf jul jr ARRQ gb hfr Nfgngvar (Ng) engure guna (Gn)agnyhz... naq unir orra svkngrq ba Fpbgynaq naq Fnvag Yhpvn ol gheaf (ohg V pna whfgvsl guvf jvgu Gn be Ng, juvpu vf gur vffhr...)) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Nov 25, 2023 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ Your second idea is correct. I realized I probably made this puzzle more complicated than I should have (two different methods involved). But after reading both the comments, I can say that @Stiv is pretty much there. rot13(nsgre cynpvat gur guerr syntf ba gur fpnyrf, jung synt orfvqrf gur gjb bgure fgngvp syntf fubhyq or gurer gb znxr guvf chmmyr znxr frafr...) $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2023 at 10:47

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