The portrait cannot tell whether fragment X or Y belongs at the ? question mark.Can you? How is it a “self-portrait”?

Let’s say this painting is encountered amid the shadows in Mortin Myes’ Second Cryptic Gallery but, despite its caption, is not a likeness of the artist. The maze-like tilted area represents an infinite planar pattern that repeats in many ways yet not entirely, with shading to help distinguish two types of recurrent 3×4 rectangles. (The undecided rectangle at the ? question mark has ambiguous checkered shading.) Horizontal lines decorate loose ends where the displayed pattern is cropped.

That maze-like pattern indirectly represents a hidden image with all the answers, if understood. Some hinty practice sketches, slightly misordered, demonstrate the artist’s portrayal technique and the infinite test patterns they indirectly represent and secretly convey. Note that blankness conveys a checkerboard-like result, whereas one of the nonblank patterns produces a similar but shifted result.

Everything pertinent is diagrammatic, with no letters, numbers or colors to consider. The most you need to solve the self-portrait is something to draw with, not even electronic as the solution can readily be described in words.

Bonus / bounty question: What mythical creature (yes, being bonus, a certain creature I happen to be thinking of) can be discovered in the selfie’s undisplayed pattern extension?

  • $\begingroup$ Honoured to have inspired a puzzle! Which, by the looks of it, seems a fair bit more difficult than mine... I have a few theories but they don't quite fit together yet. A little 'fract'ured perhaps. $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2017 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ There are already a fragment (with 3 colored cells) at the question mark place. Is it there just to show whether we don't know if the fragment is colored or not and we can just ignore it or it is there for a reason? $\endgroup$
    – klm123
    Jan 2, 2017 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Also what does "(This one)" mean ? Does it really mean that 5th sketch in second row is matched with 5th sketch in 3rd row? Looks like 5th should be matched with 1st. $\endgroup$
    – klm123
    Jan 2, 2017 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ Right on both counts, @klm123: The ambiguous checkered shading is meant to show that the area around the ? question mark has as-yet unknown shading. The 5th sketch is aligned correctly because the top row patterns represent the bottom row patterns in a secret way. Will try to clarify these in the statement. $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Jan 2, 2017 at 21:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Bounty question seems like Zvabgnhe(rot13) $\endgroup$
    – bleh
    Jan 3, 2017 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Y. Fill in the background colors and its an inversion of the smaller part. In this instance the white goes with the borders/lines and the blue goes with the blank space or corridor looking area.

Too-much-for-a-comment interjection by this puzzle’s poser

This answer seems to hinge on an astute observation about the shading pattern. Here is what I think "fill in the background colors" means, and a flip of Y that resembles the result.

And here is what I think "fill in" and "inversion" mean together, and a rotated flip of Y that resembles the result.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Actually just the first part, no need to rotate Y 90 degrees. If you zoom in on any one of the smaller grid sections, which are all identical, you will notice that the background blue color of the entire image corresponds to the same pattern as the smaller part. The only difference is that you need to invert the colors and flip the image on the horizontal axis. $\endgroup$
    – mkinson
    Jan 27, 2017 at 11:16

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