Note: This puzzle is fairly easy. While I can't stop more seasoned or high-rep users from answering, I would appreciate it if it were left to newer members of the Puzzling community. Thank you!
Note 2: Despite appearances, there are not any tags missing from this puzzle.

I thought I was already done clearing tables at the end of the day, but then I found this set of pictures on a table I was certain I had already cleaned

Paper that was left on my table.

Now, cleaning the table again isn't a huge inconvenience for me, but the paper does raise some questions. Three questions, in fact, and I want an answer and an explanation for all of them!

  1. What sort of puzzle is on the paper?
  2. What is the message that that puzzle is trying to convey?
  3. What did noticing the paper force me to do?
  • $\begingroup$ Nice puzzle! :-D $\endgroup$ Apr 3, 2018 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


The answer is



The first thing is ("recycle" minus ("bicycle" intersect "nitrogen/water cycle")) = "re"

The second is (("blockbuster" minus "block") xor ("lobster" xor ("lobe" minus "e"))) = ("buster" xor "ster") = "bu"

The last thing represents rot13(F), which is of course "S".

And to answer the questions:


 A rebus, of course! 
 the word "rebus". 
 It forced you to do a rebus of the table you had previously cleaned. 

  • $\begingroup$ Cool! You've answered question 2. Could you answer questions 1 and 3? $\endgroup$
    – DqwertyC
    Apr 3, 2018 at 21:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think you are missing a pun in answering the third question. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Apr 3, 2018 at 22:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The pun is an Americanism and may not be understood by all English speakers. $\endgroup$
    – Synesso
    Apr 3, 2018 at 22:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Synesso I hadn't realized that! In fact, it's a term I never really heard growing up (In the Northwest U.S.), and when I finally heard it as a teenager I assumed I hadn't heard it before because it was from somewhere outside the U.S.. I guess I was completely wrong in that case :) $\endgroup$
    – DqwertyC
    Apr 3, 2018 at 23:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DqwertyC I live in the NW USA, and have heard that term lots of times. Maybe you just didn't eat out much? It's mostly used in a restaurant context. $\endgroup$
    – Kat
    Apr 4, 2018 at 1:12

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