You see, I am that what makes you able.
What I am is an element stable.
Without me a name for oneself's lacking.
I'm in fish, Thai, Shiraz and unpacking.

You can try and guess what with mouth could rhyme.
Sixty times me is still quite a short time.
Plural's made with me for almost all nouns.
Sparkling white wine can contain my compounds.

Blood type I am, or with clock, dear or kay.
Not found am I in Higuey or Niamey.
Once done gambling, accounts might look like me.
More than cash, I'm essential for life, see?

Letter counts on the names of Minsk and Schaan,
calculate out the product and add one.
It should line up with what you would get by
C times I minus LXX plus I.

A beast am I, or two-thirds of those signs.
Two and three and eleven are my primes.
Two of four, year a city turned cinder.
Twelve times five plus the letters in Zinder.

Half of nine minus half of eleven,
or that what comes from six minus seven.
The same am I with my own cube compared.
I am i squared times i squared times i squared.

The final answer is a compound noun.


Playing cards have numbers.

For those who have gotten to the final part...

I realize now that one of the clues turned out a bit misleading. I described the answer as a sum of four numbers, but apparently the intended term is only used when it's the sum of two numbers, not four. The resulting number is correct, though.


Well, first of all,

the stanzas lead to answers I, S, O, THIRTY-ONE, SIXTY-SIX, MINUS ONE and standard ISO 3166-1 defines country codes.

Some explanations of the less obvious bits:

S is south, S, second, sulphur. Third and fourth lines for O are zero and oxygen. 666 is the "number of the beast". (Or, according to some, 616, but conveniently 66 is 2/3 of those digits too.) The city is London in 1666 (thanks to Weather Vane for pointing this out in comments.) I think everything else is self-explanatory.

Historical note: I originally thought this was the whole puzzle, leading to an obvious two-word noun phrase as answer. I mention this because otherwise some of the comments on this answer don't make sense. Anyway, it turns out that there's more.


if we take places listed in the verse and translate them to country codes we get TH IR DO NE BY LI NE, or THIRD ONE BY LINE. There are a few different things this could mean; it turns out that taking the third word of each line yields I AM A FISH TRY ME WITH WINE I AM GAMBLING CASH ON THE LINE I AM THREE FOUR FIVE NINE WHAT AM I. (Thanks to Weather Vane, who seems to be good at spotting things I miss, for pointing out in comments that I had accidentally omitted one stanza.)

I was entirely stuck on this until (weeks after it was posted; sorry about that) I noticed that the OP has kindly provided a hint :-).

3+4+5+9 = 21, the card total one aims at in blackjack; and there is an edible fish called the black jack. I don't know whether the "wine" is significant, though there are wineries with "Blackjack" in their name.

  • $\begingroup$ rot13(pbhagel pbqrf) isn't a compound noun, it is two words. $\endgroup$ – Astralbee Oct 25 '18 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Astralbee If jafe takes the same view then clearly my answer is not the intended one. We'll see. (The only obvious alternative is to take "minus" to mean "minus" rather than "dash", which was actually my first thought, but that leads to a strictly less plausible answer and not to anything at all compound-noun-like.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 25 '18 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the answer is rot13(YBAQBA) then? Although that isn't a compound noun either. $\endgroup$ – Astralbee Oct 25 '18 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Astralbee For what it's worth, Wikipedia -- which is far from infallible but is a good guide to current usage -- says that compound nouns can be joined up (housewife), hyphenated (house-builder), or multiple words (distance learning). If jafe takes the same view then I'm OK. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 25 '18 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Astralbee I edited your comment to rot13-ize my answer, for obvious spoiler reasons. Let me know if that bothers you and I'll undo it if so. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 25 '18 at 12:41

I think the answer is:


The answers to the first three verses are:

I - the chemical symbol for iodine (a stable element)
S - the symbol for seconds (60 are a short time) and also the chemical symbol for sulfur (found in wine)
O - a blood type that goes with O'Clock, Okay etc

And then the following three verses are:

12 - letter counts on the names of Minsk (5) and Schaan (6) and "add one"
66 - two-thirds of the number of the beast (666)
-1 - six minus seven.

Put them together and you get:

ISO 1265 (1266 minus 1) which is the ISO number for PLASTICS. You said the answer would be a "compound noun" and plastic is a compound!


I think the answer is:

Fiber Reinforced Plastics.
I aggree to astralbees answer, but i think that the -1 should be appended, producing ISO 1266-1, wich is hard to find and about Fiber Reinforced Plastics.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that's a compound noun, but rather rot13(guerr jbeqf). $\endgroup$ – EKons Oct 26 '18 at 13:11

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