I recently was in a hotel in a small community somewhere near a capital of a certain country (I don't want to say exactly where, I'll let you figure that out on your own) which I was very fond of (had good knowledge related to it). It was very cheap to stay there so I stayed there for a week from Monday early morning to the next Monday early morning. They were a bit fanatic I heard from the locals. They told me they wanted to be reminded of the old days so they had this bell ring every day for a certain number of times at different times of the day to remind them of that. But I didn't get any more information than that...

...On Monday I heard the bell ring nine times at 9 in the morning. On Tuesday fourteen times at 10 in the evening. On Wednesday twenty-two times at midnight. On Thursday nine times at noon. On Friday three times at 3 in the morning. By now I could see a pattern. It all made sense. I said to myself "aha!, I know exactly how many times and when the bell will ring on Saturday and Sunday". And of course, after the weekend, I was exactly right on both days.

Near which capital city was I staying in? How many times and exactly when did the bell ring on Saturday and Sunday?


1 Answer 1


You were staying near:

Rome, in Italy.

On Saturday, the bell rang:

20 times at 4am.

And on Sunday it rang:

1 time at 1pm.

There are two patterns at play here. Firstly, the number of chimes:

In weekday order, the number of times the bell rings is 9 (Mon), 14 (Tue), 22 (Wed), 9 (Thu), 3 (Fri). If we convert these numbers to letters via A1Z26 we get I, N, V, I and C. These are the first five letters of the Latin word INVICTA, part of the phrase 'Roma invicta', an expression meaning 'unconquered Rome' and an inspirational motto used until the fall of the Roman Empire in 476AD (Source: Wikipedia). These are the good 'old days' that the locals are so fond of!

In order to complete the word 'INVICTA' the bell must ring 20 times (for a 'T') on Saturday, and just once (for an 'A') on Sunday.

Secondly, the time of day:

Expressing these as 24-hour clock times (with a bit of license for midnight), those that we already know are 09:00 (Mon), 22:00 (Tue), 24:00 (Wed), 12:00 (Thu) and 03:00 (Fri). Converting these hours to letters via A1Z26, we get the sequence I, V, X, L, C - these are the Roman numerals in order of increasing value! The two remaining are D and M, which would translate to times 04:00 and 13:00, i.e. 4 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.

  • $\begingroup$ Quick! You got everything right, well done! $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 15:05

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