The table gives information about some of the human body parts.

The names of the body parts are all coded and the count of those body parts present in a normal human are given.

Coded body part Count
AH 1
MN 2
A 1
??? 206

What codeword (of length 3) will complete the table?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Vesper Probably there is not enough data to decode as you said. But if I add even a tiny detail, many of them will solve it within minutes. I am interested to see if someone will decode it with the existing information. You can call it an experiment. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2023 at 13:08
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Oh, this one is really easy. I think we know by now, what AHIIP means rot13(naq gung gur pbqrf ner bar fubegre guna gur jbeq. Nyfb abgr gung nyy pbqrf ner beqrerq nycunorgvpnyyl. Gur pncvgny bs .sv vf Uryfvaxv naq gurer'f na U evtug gurer! Gur pncvgny bs .va vf Arj Qryuv. Ab ceboyrz, yrg'f erjevgr gr ehyr: Gnxr gur ynfg yrggre: gjb Vf sebz Uryfvaxv naq Qryuv, na N sebz Nohwn ...) Yeah, it doesn't work ... $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jul 6, 2023 at 10:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Prim3numbah: Hehe. The good thing is that it can't be UK postcode districts – only Stiv uses those .. :) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jul 6, 2023 at 12:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MOehm You and Prim3numbah have the right kind of thinking to solve this puzzle! $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2023 at 12:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Prim3numbah You and M Oehm have the right kind of thinking to solve this puzzle! $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2023 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


Since there are 206 bones (and not a lot else in that exact quantity) in the typical adult human body, it's no secret that we seek a 3-letter code for the word BONE. This would be:


Why? Because the method used to encode body parts in this puzzle involves...

...finding the name of a country (in English) that contains the letters of the body part in question (not necessarily in order), removing those letters, and then alphabetising what remains!

For the examples given:

AH (1) = BRAIN from B(ah)RAIN
MN (2) = EYE from YE(m)E(n)
AIT (1) = NOSE from ES(t)ON(ia)
A (1) = CHIN from CHIN(a)
BIMU (2) = LEG from (b)ELG(ium)
AHIIP (10) = TOE from ET(hi)O(pia)

So to get BONE we need:

ALN (206) = BONE from (l)EB(a)NO(n)

  • $\begingroup$ Nicely done! Out of curiosity, can I ask how did you decode? $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2023 at 1:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ But then there's no one-to-one correspondence for encoding. The word encoded A could've been encoded EEEILNSTT instead, for example. $\endgroup$
    – msh210
    Jul 7, 2023 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @msh210 I'm not disputing that. I thought about it too which is why I specified the length of the required codeword in the question. I appreciate your comment. Sometimes I am deliberately interested in knowing how much information should be revealed in the puzzle which was why I shared this question. $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2023 at 4:18
  • $\begingroup$ @msh210 Perhaps we should consider just the shortest candidates? $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 7, 2023 at 5:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @msh210 Having said that, the fifth one could equally be encoded AAIR, which is the same length... But all things considered, I think it's still valid to think of this puzzle as a case of 'these body parts have been obfuscated in some way - can you work out what I did, and do similarly for this example...?' rather than necessarily expecting it to be a formal 1-1 reversible cipher system. The body parts just can and have been 'encoded' in this pattern-like way that we need to spot. This won't be the next big player in cyber-security hashing! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 7, 2023 at 6:23

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