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This puzzle is part of the Monthly Topic Challenge #16: Restricted Title: xkcd 2000-2500.


A UN member state recently raised a motion at a general meeting saying that they wished to change their national flag and were open to suggestions. A taskforce of 10 other nations was promptly established to assist: Belgium, CΓ΄te d'Ivoire, France, Guinea, Ireland, Italy, Mali, Nigeria, Peru, and Romania.

The state in question suggested that it might be nice to include an image on the new design - something that brought great enthusiasm from each of the taskforce members, and each of them made a... er... helpful suggestion, each one sillier than the last.

"How about something reflecting the natural world - somewhere an animal might live, perhaps?"
"Nah, you want to show off humanity's achievements - have a picture of a huge man-made structure!"
"Or a person who's just crossed the finish line at a marathon."
"Far too serious - go for something CRAZY...!"
"Like a cartoon dog..."
"Or a Simpsons character..."
"Or a Simpsons voice artist!"
"What about a great big picture of Ryan Gosling?!"
"Or one of my father?"
"No, one of my grandmother!"

Once everyone had had their fun, the taskforce members knuckled down and came up with a suggestion without any images at all, just a series of seven coloured stripes - green, yellow, red, orange, white, blue, and black - and everybody was satisfied.

Flag of 7 vertical bands of different colours

TASK: Identify the UN member state whose flag has been re-designed, and match up the taskforce members to their suggestions.

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1 Answer 1

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The UN member state whose flag has been re-designed is

DENMARK!

First we note that

the title is Flag Interpretation. So we look at all the countries' flags and they are all tricolors:

β¬›οΈπŸŸ¨πŸŸ₯ Belgium
🟧⬜️🟩 Côte d'Ivoire
🟦⬜️πŸŸ₯ France
πŸŸ₯🟨🟩 Guinea
🟩⬜️🟧 Ireland
🟩⬜️πŸŸ₯ Italy
🟩🟨πŸŸ₯ Mali
🟩⬜️🟩 Nigeria
πŸŸ₯⬜️πŸŸ₯ Peru
🟦🟨πŸŸ₯ Romania

Then we look at their suggestions and notice that

"Or one of my father?" could be DAD and "No, one of my grandmother!" could be NAN. There are two flags that that have the same color on the left and right and they both have the same color in the center: 🟩⬜️🟩 Nigeria and πŸŸ₯⬜️πŸŸ₯ Peru.

If we

substitute A for white, D for green, and N for red, then we can solve the rest of the clues:

DEN 🟩🟨πŸŸ₯ Mali: β€œHow about something reflecting the natural world - somewhere an animal might live, perhaps?"
DAM 🟩⬜️🟧 Ireland: "Nah, you want to show off humanity's achievements - have a picture of a huge man-made structure!"
RAN 🟦⬜️πŸŸ₯ France: "Or a person who's just crossed the finish line at a marathon."
MAD 🟧⬜️🟩 Côte d'Ivoire: "Far too serious - go for something CRAZY...!"
REN 🟦🟨πŸŸ₯ Romania: "Like a cartoon dog..."
NED πŸŸ₯🟨🟩 Guinea: "Or a Simpsons character..."
DAN 🟩⬜️πŸŸ₯ Italy: "Or a Simpsons voice artist!"
KEN β¬›οΈπŸŸ¨πŸŸ₯ Belgium: "What about a great big picture of Ryan Gosling?!"
DAD 🟩⬜️🟩 Nigeria: "Or one of my father?"
NAN πŸŸ₯⬜️πŸŸ₯ Peru: "No, one of my grandmother!"

Then the re-designed flag

spells Denmark.

🟩 D
🟨 E
πŸŸ₯ N
🟧 M
⬜️ A
🟦 R
⬛️ K

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  • $\begingroup$ Someone please let me know if the color emojis don't show up. $\endgroup$
    – caPNCApn
    Nov 18, 2023 at 5:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm on Arch Linux and the noto-fonts-emoji package is installed, but the color emojis appear as B+W patterned squares. I resolved the issue by installing the noto-color-emoji-fontconfig package from AUR. $\endgroup$ Nov 18, 2023 at 6:59

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