Today I found by internet an artist that does commissions. I wanted to get drawn a map for one of my role playing games.

First I tried to call him (there's a lot personal info on the website I found it. Probably not GDPR compliant). He didn't answer his phone.

After that I simply sent him, by WhatsApp, the details of the map I wanted, and asked him what else he needed to fulfill the job.

It took him a while to answer my message but, finally, I received a couple of weird messages and nothing else.

First Message:

Flags: US, France, Spain, Colombia, Italy, Germany

Second Message:

Some hand emojis (hard to describe)

Could you help me understand his answer?

Is he doing the job? If so, what does he need?

Second message in Unicode 7.0:


Hint 1:

I suspect he didn't answer his phone because he didn't hear the ringtone.

Hint 2:

This artist had worked with people of all around the world, so he probably knows many languages.

  • $\begingroup$ If you decode both pictures, you get the same bunch of weird text... $\endgroup$ – Rapiddagger Jun 13 '18 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ Two fingers crossed. $\endgroup$ – Masclins Jun 13 '18 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ copyable emoji: 🇺🇸🇫🇷🇪🇸🇨🇴🇮🇹🇩🇪 ✋🤘👌🤘🤞✋ $\endgroup$ – humfuzz Jun 13 '18 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ rot13(VFB pbqrf bs gur nobir syntf: HF SE RF PB VG QR) $\endgroup$ – Mikas Jun 14 '18 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Mikas: And if you squint, you can see a hidden fresco ... $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Jun 14 '18 at 11:23

Building off @Astralbee's answer:

The message reads:

5HOURS, implying that they are taking the job, but they'll need some time (and, presumably, however much payment they charge for 5 hours worth of work)

To read the message:

Astralbee is right on the money with sign languages, but the important part is the plural. The first message of flags/country codes indicate which sign language to use for each character.
🖐️, in American Sign Language, indicates 5.
🤘, in langue des signes française or French Sign Language, indicates H.
👌, in Spanish sign language, indicates O.
🤘, in Colombian sign language, indicates U.
🤞, in Italian sign language, indicates R.
🖐️, in German sign language, indicates S.

Hint 1 Explanation:

"I suspect he didn't answer his phone because he didn't hear the ringtone."
This is meant to suggest towards deafness and, through that, sign language.

Hint 2 Explanation:

"This artist had worked with people of all around the world, so he probably knows many languages."
This was added after Astralbee made the connection to sign language, but used only American Sign Language in their parsing; it suggests that the first message be used to tell which nation's (most prominent) sign language/manual alphabet should be used for each character.


The message is:



I figured he didn't hear the phone because he is deaf and communicates by sign language. Sign languages differ around the world, and the second message is a mix of different sign language alphabets. The first message with the flags is a key to decode them - USA, France, Spain, Columbia, Italy, and Germany. By searching for the sign language alphabet for each country I was able to translate each hand sign.

  • $\begingroup$ What's the first message? Because obviously, 5Y9YR5 means nothing. $\endgroup$ – Masclins Jun 15 '18 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Masclins updated answer. $\endgroup$ – Astralbee Jun 17 '18 at 19:34

He's busy watching the World Cup. The hand emojis are his reactions to the teams of the respective countries.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE! Please hide your answers inside spoiler tags, to avoid potentially spoiling the solution for anyone who wants to have a go at the puzzle themselves. Feel free to take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jun 15 '18 at 11:20

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