What is this puzzle about? The answer is a word.

enter image description here


The calendar just stands for months

Edit: Added an image.

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    $\begingroup$ I initially wanted to add an image but decided to leave it out, but after seeing both answers I realize the info is not enough. I'll make an edit. $\endgroup$ Feb 1 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ An unrelated note: The transparent background makes this puzzle really hard to see if you have the browser set to dark mode (which some users do for accessibility reasons) - any chance you could use white backgrounds for the images in your puzzles, please, so that folks using this facility don't have to change their settings to see them? Thanks! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 1 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Stiv Of course, I'l have this in mind next time :) $\endgroup$ Feb 1 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


@Stiv and others have worked out that the #5 in Africa refers to the:

African elephant
African buffalo

We also have a calendar which the op has said stands for months.

What's left is to figure out how these relate to the title, "It's what's inside them that counts".

What is inside big five game animals? I had many ideas that went nowhere, but at last suspected I was onto something when a term popped into my head:

Gestation Period. That is, we have baby animals inside the game animals, counting the months to their births!
So let's look them up:
elephant 22 months
lion 4 months
leopard 3 months
buffalo 11 months
rhino 15-18 months, 16 is a commonly cited average

Now we can cross those (approximate) numbers in the grid:

x 0 x 18 25 6 x
7 x 9 2 x 19 1

And cross off the corresponding letters in the other grid:
x Y x E P A x
N x G N x R C

Running that through an anagram solver shows the likely possibility is the only one: PREGNANCY! which is our one word answer to the puzzle.

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    $\begingroup$ This makes a lot of sense. I'm glad this one's put to bed at last, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 6 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ Great work, this is it! $\endgroup$ Feb 6 at 8:33

I think the answer here is:


The rebus here leads us to think about...

...the African Big 5 game animals (as we have an image of Africa and a big 5...): the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo.

And if we can interpret the title's "It's what's inside them that counts" as suggesting we should...

...focus on the letters that appear inside (between) the two A's of 'AFRICA' (I realise this is a bit of a leap, but go with it for now), then we have F, R, I and C, which can be converted via A1Z26 to have values 6, 18, 9, and 3. These are the 'approximate numbers' mentioned in the diagram.

If we highlight these in the diagram...

...and also the letters in the corresponding positions of the lower grid, we extract the letters A, E, G and M, which can be anagrammed together to form the relevant word GAME.

Letters A, E, G, and M indicated

(Note: It is possible that the 'leap' above is intended to be reached by some other means; the fact that the central letters of AFRICA correspond via A1Z26 to the grid numbers that are paired with the letters of GAME seems too intentional to be merely coincidence, given the rebus...)

  • $\begingroup$ I would be willing to bet that (1) you have arrived at the intended answer but (2) not by the intended route. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Feb 1 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan That's what my gut tells me too... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 1 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ I can't help noticing that rot13(gur gjb ahzoref ng gur obggbz yrsg unir n pregnva eryngvbafuvc gb gur jbeq "nccebkvzngr") and wonder whether we're supposed to rot13(pebff bhg gubfr naq n ohapu bs bguref jvgu fbzr fvzvyne cebcregl). It's probably coincidence that rot13(gjb bs gur ahzoref jr'q unir gb pebff bhg pbeerfcbaq gb gur yrggref bs CV). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Feb 1 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ You're correct regarding what the 5 stands for but the final word isn't correct. The title actually refers to something completely different. $\endgroup$ Feb 1 at 11:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Prim3numbah Huh, interesting - so this is coincidence. Strange. I shall think on... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 1 at 11:56

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