Solution to Namesake

Back to Puzzle


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:

Word Notes
DATE Paper desk calendar with smudge where date would be
GOTO Simple “hello world” example program in BASIC
KOBE Kobe Bryant
OBAMA Barack Obama
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
YAO Yao Ming

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
Mine, Yamaguchi 33 3 C
Soma, Fukushima 115 15 O
Tome, Miyagi 199 19 S
Nose, Osaka 173 13 M
Yao, Osaka 15 15 O
Goto, Nagasaki 162 16 P
Usa, Oita 215 15 O
Date, Fukushima 125 12 L
Tone, Ibaraki 209 9 I
Obama, Fukui 220 20 T
Kobe, Hyogo 21 1 A
Wake, Okayama 414 14 N

The extracted letters in map order spell out the answer, COSMOPOLITAN.