Solve the following 5 text rebuses, which are in the form of Linux (bash) command lines.

Rebus #1 (solved by Prem)

# type beep sound > file.txt 2> file2.txt


1. The solution is a single word that appears in dictionary.com.
2. The word has 10 letters.

Rebus #2 (solved by frodoskywalker)

# cat file.png | wc -w

Rebus #3 (solved by frodoskywalker)

# touch file1; while true; do mv file1 file2; mv file2 file1; done

Rebus #4 (solved by Geobits/karhell)

# echo -e "\e[0;97m\a"

Rebus #5 (solved by karhell)

# fsck /dev/sda1 &

Note: For your answer to be accepted, it must at a minimum contain the correct solution for Rebus #1.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ This is frustrating. I see what the commands do, but apart from 2 and (possibly) 5, I have no idea what the rebus is supposed to mean $\endgroup$
    – karhell
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 14:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can't concentrate on the puzzles because the UUOC in #2 is really bothering me. :P $\endgroup$
    – Doorknob
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Doorknob Haha, true. I guess I really wanted to use a pipe for one of the puzzles. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 20:30

6 Answers 6


Answer for #1 :


Explanation :

stereo == two channels + type , forcing "output" to both STDERR & STDOUT.

Other rebuses have already been answered.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good job. Since Rebus #1 was the most difficult, you get the checkmark. I wonder how long it would have lasted if I hadn't provided any hints? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 14:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @pacoverflow , your clue about "one word" did help, and the clue about "10 letters" was helpful to select the one word out of many, starting with "stereo". The other answers acted as clues or inspiration. Nice set of rebuses, and I could solve only 1,2&5, $\endgroup$
    – Prem
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 14:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh so you did a search on words containing "stereo"? I figured someone would do a search on words containing "type". $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ @pacoverflow , yes, I went that way because, I initially thought that "type" was used only to generate STDOUT & STDERR so two channels so stereo- (other answers being related to picture&sound&noise), then 10 letters made -type fit. $\endgroup$
    – Prem
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 16:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Brilliant! I thought "sound" was significant, but would never have thought about stereo. +1 to you (would be more if I could) $\endgroup$
    – karhell
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 6:33

Tentative answer :
rebus #1:

Could it be a sound filter ?

Explanation :

type beep sound tells us what beep and sound are.
> file1.txt redirects stdout to file1.txt
2> file2.txt redirects stderr to file2.txt
beep is a legitimate command, so type beep is redirected to file1
sound on the other hand is not, so it gets redirected to file2

Rebus #2 and #3:
Agreed with @frodoskywalker, see their answer for details

A picture is worth a thousand words, and Perpetual motion

Rebus #4:
(thanks @Geobits)

White noise

Explanation :

echo -e outputs its arguments taking ansi escapes into account
\e[0;97m is ansi for bold, high-intensity white
\a is an ascii bell character
A bell makes noise, therefore we have white noise.

Rebus #5:

To run a background check


fsck /dev/sda1 runs a filesystem consistency check on /dev/sda1 (main partition)
& allows the command to run in the background

  • $\begingroup$ Ahh, that makes sense. I thought it was "check yourself" but couldn't see what meaning the ampersand added. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe "clear as a bell"? $\endgroup$
    – Schism
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Schism No, rebus #4 doesn't have "clear" in it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 15:06
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ White noise then? A bell should make a noise, at least on computers that allow it. $\endgroup$
    – Set Big O
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Geobits That's right, feel free to post it as an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 16:00

Rebus #2

A picture is worth a thousand words


You have piped an image (file.png) to wc and asked it to count the words (-w), which returned 1000

Rebus #3

Perpetual motion


You are moving a file forever ('while true')


Possible answer for #1

Bleep out (beep out)


When you bleep something out the sound goes away, and as karhell was saying the sound isn't a legitimate command

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE. Sorry but that is not the correct answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 17:14

Another possible answer for #1:



The type command indicates what would happen if the name (or names) given as argument(s) were to be entered at the command line. > file.txt means "write the output of this instruction to a file called "file.txt", and 2> file2.txt means "write any error messages to a file called "file2.txt". Sound engineers often repeat the numbers "one" and "two" when checking microphone levels; perhaps this is what is being referred to.

  • $\begingroup$ Not a bad guess, although not what I'm looking for. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 23:05

Possible answer to #1:



You get a beep, but there's no sound

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE. Sorry but that is not the correct answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 13:56

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