43
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enter image description here
(enlarged version)

The answer is a group of islands.

More properly "geography and language", I suppose.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'll just take a moment to appreciate how cleverly made these puzzles are. @jafe you are ingenious. I wonder what you'll do seven puzzles later when you reach your 200th! :D $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Apr 10 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ @useruser477343 Thanks for the kind words :) Your #100 is just around the corner as well! Anything special planned? $\endgroup$ – jafe Apr 10 at 12:07
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    $\begingroup$ This is an amazing puzzle - so much packed into so little. You've got a real gift for puzzlecraft and presentation. If you're not publishing somewhere, you should be :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Apr 10 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio Thanks <3 $\endgroup$ – jafe Apr 11 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, wait, really?! I had no idea xD Perhaps I will plan something special... perhaps a meta-puzzle will do... we'll soon see ;) $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Apr 14 at 9:24

11 Answers 11

41
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Looks like

Each section of the image is an 8-letter geographical location or adjective: enter image description here
1 WOODRING: QR code
2 WATZMANN: Chappe system for semaphore telegraph
3 VICTORIA: just upside-down (and pixelated)
4 TITICACA: Arabic
5 WARUSAWA: Japanese Braille
6 WELIRANG: Morse code
7 MEDELPAD: hexadecimal ASCII
8 SURINAME: Bopomofo
9 SHERWOOD: International Phonetic Alphabet
10 THAILAND: in the negative space
11 SIHLWALD: plain text, spaced out with empty lines
12 GODAVARI: tap code
13 MONROVIA: faces of dice and mathematical operations, decoded with successive results as A1Z26
14 RIONEGRO: higher rows shifted one pixel right
15 NAGALAND: Cyrillic
16 MOLDOVAN: number the inside spaces 1-26, read off each piece as A1Z26
17 MICHIGAN: Shavian
18 SAARLAND: flag semaphore
19 DEMERARA: jigsaw puzzle
20 MANDARIN: Japanese katakana
21 MANDINKA: Moon type
22 EYREWELL: binary in negative space
23 BOTSWANA: Roman numerals in negative space (A1Z26)
24 CANBERRA: Pigpen cipher
25 FUNAFUTI: Futhark runes
26 KINGSTON: Deseret
27 WINNIPEG: each row in the box is binary
28 KIRIBATI: Hebrew
29 SINDARIN: plain text, just really small
30 BELGOROD: T-shaped "arrows" tell the direction of the next letter, and number of pixels behind them tell how far to move.
31 GISHWATI: each row has 26 spaces, read black pixels as A1Z26
32 MISSOURI: Greek

Once all of the places are found,

these fit in 8 categories, having 4 entries each:

$ \quad \bullet $ Mountains: WATZMANN, WARUSAWA, WELIRANG, WOODRING
$ \quad \bullet $ Lakes: VICTORIA, TITICACA, WINNIPEG, MICHIGAN
$ \quad \bullet $ Capital cities: MONROVIA, CANBERRA, FUNAFUTI, KINGSTON
$ \quad \bullet $ Languages: MOLDOVAN, MANDINKA, MANDARIN, SINDARIN.
$ \quad \bullet $ Forests: SHERWOOD, SIHLWALD, EYREWELL, GISHWATI
$ \quad \bullet $ Countries/sovereign states: THAILAND, SURINAME, BOTSWANA, KIRIBATI
$ \quad \bullet $ Rivers: GODAVARI, RIO NEGRO, MISSOURI, DEMERARA
$ \quad \bullet $ Provinces/territories: MEDELPAD, NAGALAND, SAARLAND, BELGOROD

Inside each category all the entries have a common letter in the same position, and no letter position is the same between any two categories. These letters spell out WINDWARD, which refers to the Windward Islands.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've numbered the individual puzzles, so now it will be easier to refer to them. $\endgroup$ – elias Apr 9 at 13:23
  • $\begingroup$ Everything's correct. Nice work, everyone! $\endgroup$ – jafe Apr 10 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ Comments by multiple contributors adding to the solution have been moved to chat to preserve their authors without spoiling the solutions. Great teamwork everyone who contributed: elias, Rémi Henry, Ivan García Topete, Brandon_J, Barker, M Oehm, and PiIsNot3, plus the folks who left partial answers :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Apr 13 at 3:28
12
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Partial (refer to community wiki for notation)

1:

woodring (by OmegaKrypton)

5:

warusawa [braille] (by elias)

6:

welirang [morse] (by elias) - typo in puzzle, a space missing between the last two characters

9:

sherwood (by OmegaKrypton)

27:

Winnipeg (by Gremlin) - binary pixels

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11
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Some more:

4. Titicaca (Arabic)
12. Godavari (tap code)
22. Eyrewell (inverse binary)
25. Funafuti (futhark)
28. Kiribati (Hebrew)
32. Missouri (Greek)

Other remarks:

The katakana one (20) looks to me as if it says "ma so da ri so" which I can't identify.

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    $\begingroup$ ma-so-da-ri-so seems two be 2 characters too long, so probably 'so' needs to be replaced with a single character. mandarin looks like a good solution, but how is that geographical? $\endgroup$ – elias Apr 9 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ Dunno! I am just as puzzled as you are. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 9 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ Ech, I redrew that letter in #20 so many times and now that I look at it it still looks wrong... Mandarin is correct. $\endgroup$ – jafe Apr 9 at 16:17
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Partial

8.

SURIBAME(?) (Taiwanese Mandarin Zhuyin) -> I think this one should be SURINAME, but the N character is kinda wonky...

29.

SINDARIN (very pixelated letters)

(Will add more as I figure them out)

As for the meta, I have found that

every geographic location can fit into one of eight categories, with each category having four locations - somewhat like a connect wall. I’ve listed the categories here, along with the locations and the regions they represent:

$ \quad \bullet $ Mountains: WATZMANN (German), WARUSAWA (Japan), WELIRANG (Indonesia), WOODRING (United States)
$ \quad \bullet $ Lakes: VICTORIA (Tanzania/Uganda), TITICACA (Peru/Bolivia), WINNIPEG (Canada), ???
$ \quad \bullet $ Forests: SHERWOOD (England), SIHLWALD (Switzerland), EYREWELL (New Zealand), GISHWATI (Rwanda)
$ \quad \bullet $ Provinces/territories: MEDELPAD (Sweden), NAGALAND (India), SAARLAND (Germany), DEMERARA (Guyana)
$ \quad \bullet $ Countries/sovereign states: THAILAND (Asia), SURINAME (South America), BOTSWANA (Africa), KIRIBATI (Micronesia/Oceania)
$ \quad \bullet $ Rivers: GODAVARI (India), RIO NEGRO (Brazil/Venezuela/Colombia), MISSOURI (United States), ???
$ \quad \bullet $ Capital cities: MONROVIA (Liberia), CANBERRA (Australia), FUNAFUTI (Tuvalu), ???
$ \quad \bullet $ Languages: MOLDOVAN (Moldova), MANDINKA (Ivory Coast), MANDARIN (China), SINDARIN (fictional/Middle-earth)

So the three unsolved clues must fit into one of three categories: lakes, rivers, and capital cities. Maybe that’ll make things a bit easier?

I’ll add this to the community wiki once the other three clues are solved.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice observation, I think I've found the solution based on your idea. I've added it to the community wiki - and it will help us finding the missing 3 entries as well. $\endgroup$ – elias Apr 10 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ Demerara and Thailand probably should be swapped (if my next observation is correct) $\endgroup$ – elias Apr 10 at 8:35
10
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2:

WATZMANN - Semaphore Telegraph Chappe System

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hey, you found it, too! $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J Apr 9 at 15:32
10
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A guess at the final answer based on the clues everyone else solved and Gareth McCaughan's predicted method:

So far taking the most common letter in each position gives: MINDWANA That's not an island group, but if we look at the second most common letters: WARRIORD So if the missing answers allow the second placed letter to overtake the current leader in positions 1, 7, and 8, we get: WINDWARD for the Windward Islands.

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Some more:

14.

Rio Negro (every row is shifted to the right one pixel further)

17.

Michigan (in Shavian alphabet)

31.

Gishwati (every row has one pixel, number of pixel corresponds to alphabet number)

Additionally, regarding the final answer,

I think that after all the eight-letter words are discovered, we'll find that there's exactly one letter for each of the 8 positions that doesn't occur in any of the words.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't think your guess about the final extraction can be right. E.g., the last letters so far are all ADIGLNO and only eight answers are un-found, so there's no way to eliminate all but one of the possibilities. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 9 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ (I'm guessing majority rather than omission.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 9 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ (Though if so then I think at least one of the current majorities must be misleading.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Apr 9 at 16:28
10
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20.

Mandarin (japanese katakana -> マンダリン)

@ user Gareth McCaughan♦ I agree that its a bit difficult since the "so"and "n" look a lot like eachother and since its pixels it looks more like a "so"

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9
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16.

We have : 13, 15 ; 12 ; 4, 15, 22 ; 1, 14. It gives us : M O ; L; D O V; A N. Moldovan

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9
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21:

MANDINKA written in Moon type

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7
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#26

is Kingston in the Deseret alphabet.

#30

is Belgorod. Start at the beginning of the alphabet. For each arrow, add an offset. Upwards arrows go forward in the alphabet, downward arrows go backwards: start + 2 → B + 3 → E + 7 → L and so on.

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