Solution to Namesake
by Lennart Jansson
The puzzle contains 12 pictures and 12 thumbnails of what appear to be unlabeled maps. It’s nearly impossible to identify what’s depicted in the maps on their own, so we start with the pictures and hope they will give us clues (perhaps namesakes of these places, as suggested by the title).
We can identify a word for each of the 12 pictures. To help disambiguate, they are in alphabetical order, reading left to right, top to bottom:
|DATE||Paper desk calendar with smudge where date would be|
|GOTO||Simple “hello world” example program in BASIC|
|SOMA||Soma cube (7-piece 3D puzzle)|
|TOME||Thick magical-looking book|
|TONE||Sound coming from a phone (as in a “dial tone”)|
|WAKE||Waves created behind a boat|
We now try to figure out what sort of place in the world each of these words is cluing – in doing so we notice that KOBE is a city in Japan. In fact, all of these words are composed of valid Japanese syllables, and this is confirmed by the title, which is also composed of valid Japanese syllables. Besides KOBE, the other 11 also turn out to be cities in Japan. If we look them up on Google Maps, we can see each corresponds to a map thumbnail in the puzzle (though not necessarily the one in the same position in the grid).
Each map thumbnail has a blue line with a number blank next to it – this matches up with a numbered prefectural road route on the city map. If we write in the numbers of the indicated roads into the blanks, accounting for digits given already, the remaining digits form a number from 1 to 26, which we can turn into letters with A=1, B=2, etc.
Left to right, top to bottom, the cities depicted in the maps are:
|City, Prefecture||Indicated prefectural road (blue)||Number in blanks||Extract|
The extracted letters in map order spell out the answer, COSMOPOLITAN.