# Fun with Flags part 6: left right left

We are looking for the name of a country leader.

Other puzzles of this type: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10.

It is a straightforward task to identify the 27 flags displayed here... or is it?! Because:

Some of them are actually left-to-right reflections of flags... In all, we have (making use of the years on the eSwatini flag to use its old pre-2018 name, Swaziland):

 CYPRUS        MONTENEGRO    BURUNDI
(NETHERLANDS) (SINGAPORE)   (LAOS)
SPAIN         ANGUILLA      BOTSWANA
SWAZILAND     (WALES)       (BELARUS)
ARGENTINA     (CAMEROON)    SPAIN
(NORTH KOREA) TANZANIA      (SAN MARINO)
SCOTLAND      TOKELAU       PUERTO RICO
(FINLAND)     (MALTA)       (DENMARK)
(ETHIOPIA)    LEBANON       (BURKINA FASO) 

Note that here:

Country names in brackets are reflections. Although some are symmetrical and could be either left the right way round or reflected, I'm pretty sure this (above) is the orientation, since they reveal a message...

If we take:

The second-from-left letters of the right-way-round flags, and the second-from-right letters of the reversed flags, we read a message:

YOU DROP NOW EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

This appears to be:

An instruction to remove the European countries from consideration and look only at the 15 flags remaining. Doing this leaves us with:

 ------        ----------    BURUNDI
(-----------) (SINGAPORE)   (LAOS)
-----         ANGUILLA      BOTSWANA
SWAZILAND     (-----)       (-------)
ARGENTINA     (CAMEROON)    -----
(NORTH KOREA) TANZANIA      (--- ------)
--------      TOKELAU       PUERTO RICO
(-------)     (-----)       (-------)
(ETHIOPIA)    LEBANON       (BURKINA FASO) 

Finally, in comments below @SeanC made a very astute observation (thanks Sean!):

If we repeat the process as before but this time use the fourth-from-left letters of the right-way-round flags, and the fourth-from-right letters of the reversed flags, we read another message:

U PLUS ZERO ZERO AF

What does this mean?

Nothing by itself perhaps, but if you look up the Unicode value of U+00AF you get the symbol for MACRON...

Which means the final answer must be:

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France!

• I'm wondering if the title is an instruction at some point. Like left letter right letter left letter or something. I've tried it on the 15 doesn't seem to work though. – Beastly Gerbil Apr 7 at 12:54
• if I use the 4th character, using the same left/right, I end up with (h cyhf mreb mreb ns) when I read the remaining 15 in order. I have no idea if this helps at all :( – SeanC Apr 7 at 20:39
• Wow! So cool! Nice job solving this, everybody. And kudos to the puzzle maker; exceptional design work. (I had to write this, as just clicking on an up arrow doesn't do this justice.) – Lanny Strack Apr 8 at 9:06
• @Stiv Great job once again! – sarsaparilla Apr 8 at 9:33
• @Stiv Thanks. Yes indeed it was. That's why the 'you drop now...' sentence was so crookedly formulated :) – sarsaparilla Apr 8 at 9:45

A small start:

I've identified all the flags and also identified (where possible) if they are facing the correct direction, to the left with an 'L' or the wrong way to the right with an 'R'. Note I haven't been able to identify whether they are the right way round for symmetrical flags.

My idea was that

The direction of the flag would tell us whether we should take the left most letter or the right most letter but this doesn't seem to work. There are also 27 flags here, so perhaps the name is either a full name or each row gives a letter.

There are also two instances of Spain which is the only country to appear twice. The flags the correct way round each time, so I'd guess this gives the same letter each time.