Photo Puzzles Vol 2

STOP PRESS: Please note that while all the older puzzles will continue to reside here on the ZKM blog, all subsequent resources will be posted on one of the following two blogs:

Welcome back to another year of photo (and video) puzzles to tempt your secondary MFL Spanish students. I hope you all had a great summer. 
I've decided to start a new tab for the second 'volume' of puzzles, I've left the first season online for your reference.

Note: I'm also producing a 'primary' blog of monthly 'reports' from Spain, featuring things which might catch the interest of younger students. So, if you teach years 6 or 7, you might also want to check out

NOTE: As of Feb 2014, puzzles will be posted once a month, on the first weekend of each month.

Vol.2 No.20 Run and Run

I saw this ad on Spanish TV and thought it would provide an entertaining listening and translating exercise. 

Link to Youtube: Advert  

Vol.2 No.19 A Fallas Chiste.

Spotted this in Valencia during Las Fallas last week. (See the main blog for some more fallas fotos.) Each photo has its own sign with part of the joke. NB., Ignore the lower part of each sign, it's the local Valenciano language.




Are you laughing? Here's my translation:

An Englishman, a Frenchman and a Spaniard.
Says the Englishman: I must be in England, because I've stuck out my hand and I (can) touch Big Ben.
Says the Frenchman: I must be in France, because I've stuck out my hand and I (can) touch the Eiffel Tower.
Says the Spaniard: I must be in Spain, because I've stuck out my hand and they've stolen my watch!

Quite a timely warning to all the tourists milling around the streets of Valencia!

A little extra 'joking' vocab for you:
Culminación, frase clave and remate all mean... punchline!

Vol.2 No.18 Carnaval.

It's Carnaval week (remember to stress the final syllable) and Spaniards are enjoying what seems to be a national obsession... dressing up.

Here's a short video from a local shop; you'll have to be quick to translate the accompanying phrases...

Fancy Dress. 

 Transcription and translation:

Disfraces para bebé.

Disfraces para niña.

Disfraces para niño.

Complementos y accesorios.

Disfraces para mujer.

Disfraces para hombre.

Outlet precios inmejorables.

Sempre al teu costat.*

Costumes for baby.
Costumes for girls.
Costumes for boys.
Complements and accessories.
Costumes for women.
Costumes for men.
Unbeatable outlet prices.
Always at your side.* 
* N.B., this is the local Valenciano language.


Vol.2 No.17 Cheeky!

 Three photos today, what's the link?

 Ready for una pista

It's about the sound one particular letter makes in español...

¿Otra pista?

It's the letter 'U'...

You should have sussed it by now. The letter 'U' in Spanish is called 'oo' and 'makes an 'oo' sound (think of the English word 'soon'). 

This is very different from the English letter 'U' (called 'you' and making a variety of sounds, for example in the words: cut, cute, though, busy and cure). 

So, you now should all be able to read the words on the three pictures without any errors... Ready?

1. Consum? It's the second syllable we're interested in here, and it's not pronounced 'sum' or like in the English word 'consume'. Say Con-soom (the second syllable, which is stressed, rhymes with the English 'soon'). It's a Spanish supermercado chain.

2. Municipal? Don't be tempted by the English word 'municipal'. In español, it's 'moo'; imagine you're a cow! Moo-nee-cee-pal. (Stress on the final syllable.) You should also note the name 'Fuster'. Got that? Foo-ster.

3. Bum, bum Madrid? Easy this one, isn't it? Madrid have just thrashed Betis 5-0. So, 'Boom, boom Madrid' suggests a demolition job; bombs going off. Boom, boom!

What? You didn't think...? No, don't tell me you thought... Don't tell me you said...

I think that means some extra phonics homework for you! 

Boom, boom! 

A note: Sadly, due to pressure at work and other writing commitments, I'm going to have to restrict the Spanish puzzles to once a month. Apologies to all; especially those who've emailed me kind messages of thanks, or corrections when my Spanish has let me down (all too frequently).
Next puzzle will be on the weekend of March 1st, although if anything really interesting crops up, I'll post a 'surprise' and alert you in the usual ways, TES forum and Twitter @JeremyJoseDean.
Un saludo.

Vol.2 No.16 ¿Tu Mejor Amigo?

Yes, aren't they adorable! But what does it say?

Translation below:

Your best friend deserves the maximum protection.

Pet insurance.

Discover Santalucia's Pet Insurance, the best option to protect your faithful/loyal friend, while you enjoy the maximum tranquility (peace of mind?)  as the owner.

Inform yourself in this office.

I'll leave you with the information that Spanish perros don't go, 'Woof.' They go 'Guau.' And los gatos? No 'Meow-ing' I'm afraid... it's 'Miau.'

Just in case you ever needed to speak to one...

Vol.2 No.15 Road Sign.

I'm not a great fan of graffiti. I can never remember how to spell it; is it single or double 'f' and 't'? Or is it one of those words like yogurt/yoghurt/yoghourt which has multiple spellings listed in different dictionaries? But here in Spain graffiti often catches my eye and sets off a train of thought... 

So what's the first thing that crosses your mind when you see this? For me it's the spelling of 'WAPA'. I've been here long enough to know that the Spanish for pretty/good-looking is guapa (or guapo). Whenever you hear it shouted however, you'd be forgiven for spelling it 'wapa'. So, has the author of this piece of graffiti made a spelling mistake? Well, probably not, apparently it is youthful Spanish 'slang' to spell it like this, especially in texts. (And, evidently, en la calle too!)

The other thing which came to mind (when seeing 'wapa') was something I'd read a while ago; there are no Spanish words starting with the letter 'W'. Apparently, all the words starting with 'W' in Spanish are 'foreign/loan' words. So I got out my diccionario and found only nine words:


My guess is that pretty soon there'll only be eight, with 'walkman' being dropped into the dustbin of short-lived technological words.
BTW, the Spanish for graffiti is... grafiti. Much more sensible and logical. Although my diccionario also cites grafito and pintada. Ah well, at least there's only one word in English. Or is there? Apparantly, there is a (little used) singular form, graffito. 

Whatever, English-Spanish, the original word (graffiato) is Italian. 


Vol.2 No.14 How Many Ways Can You Say 'Merry Christmas'?

 Before the Christmas spirit leaves you completely (remember Spanish Christmas goes on until the 6th of January here (see for details) I snapped a few messages from the streets of my local town for you to translate.

Answers below.

1. Divine Baby Jesus: Bless this house.
2. Happy Christmas (the Valenciano version of Feliz Navidad).
3. Happy Christmas: Happy New Year.

And the same to all of you! 

Vol.2 No.13 ¡Feliz Navidad!

Nearly every question in the book today...

And finally... ¿Por qué?

Hmmm, bet that's got you intrigued.

So, the answers...

Who? Well, they're the (in)famous cagadores. Apparently they're originally of Catalan origin, although I took all these photos in Valencia.

Where? You'll find them hidden in (some of) the thousands of 'Belén' (nativity) scenes that appear in town centres, shops and (most often) peoples' homes during the Xmas season.

When? In the run-up to Christmas. 

Why? Ummm. Not a clue. When you gotta go, you gotta go?

¡Feliz Navidad! See you all in el año nuevo!

Vol.2 No.12 Looking Healthy.

Pegatina spotted on the back of a car in Cuenca a while back.

These are increasingly common in Spain as the economic crisis continues and spending cuts are made in many areas. This one says, 'The users of public health warn: The cuts in health kill.' 

A note on the word pegatina. Did you know it or did you guess it? It would be easy to guess at the meaning once you knew the root word, pegar, to stick or to glue. From that we get pegamento (glue), pegada de carteles (sticking up posters) and pegatinas... stickers. The children in my class are always swapping pegatinas.

Here's Bob, but probably not as you know him...


Vol.2 No.11 Where are the pegs?

You've probably all come across these before... but what are they?

 This might give you an extra clue...

I'm sure you've worked it out. They are (of course) what we call 'stink bombs'.

It's interesting to note that where Spanish and English share a 'Latin' (rooted) word, this word has often been overtaken in English by other words (with Saxon or French roots), leaving the Latin word sounding old-fashioned to modern English ears. So, we do have a word in English, fetid, but we would more usually use 'smelly' or 'stinky'. I often think the Spanish children in my class sound very grown-up when they use words such as 'castigar', 'obligar', 'vomitar' and 'lamentar'.

Can you think of the (Latin-rooted) English equivalent words to those Spanish words? Can you also think of the alternative words which we would more usually use in English?


Vol.2 No.10 Caught (very) short...

I'm in Valencia and have come across this. Any ideas...?

If you look very, very closely you'll see a clue, which is revealed in the picture below. So don't peek until you've given up hope or worked it out...

Guess you could call it a perro-privy...

(And, yes, I did have to wait a few moments before taking my snaps, as it was ocupado...)

See you next week.

Vol.2 No.9 Antonio, Barcelona, Carmen...

Simple question this week. What do Antonio, Barcelona and Carmen have in common? And no, it's not the sequel to the film Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona.

By way of an answer...

I often have trouble giving my name over the phone.
'Dean,' I'll say.
'Bean?' they'll respond. (At least I think that's what they've said.)
'No, Dean,' I'll repeat, stressing the 'Deee,' bit.
'Team?' they'll reply, not stressing the 'Deee,' bit.
It's at this point that I go back to my childhood, and use a nifty little method which my mates and I taught ourselves when we were about 7- or 8-years-old.
'Delta, echo, alpha, November,' I'll say with a flourish.
Job done.

It's the NATO and International Aviation Phonetic Alphabet (I know, very sad, but I was only seven) and it's really useful to know, especially if your name has a lot of the tricky letters that all sound remarkably too similar: B, C, D, E, G, P, T, V (and Z if you're in the United States).

But what do I do here in Spain? Can I shout, 'Delta, echo, alpha, November,' down the phone and expect Pedro or María to understand. The answer is, 'probably, no.' So what do I do? Well, the real answer is, I panic as I fail to think of any Spanish words starting with a 'D'. So the next obvious question is, 'Do the Spanish have their own version which I could look up and (more importantly) learn?'

And the answer is, 'Sí!'

In fact, it's not just Spain which has its own version as you can see here: Phonetic Alphabets (Selection)  But it's Spain which I'm obviously going to concentrate on. 

So what do I say if 'D-E-A-N' is misheard on the phone?

Easy, 'Dolores-Enrique-Antonio-Navarra.'

And if I need to spell 'Jeremy'?


¡Trabajo hecho! (Or something like that.)

So, if you want to be really helpful to your parents, on your next trip to Spain, when they need an address (your hotel, a restaurant, the street that the bus to the airport departs from… in ten minutes…) have a go at learning the Spanish phonetic alphabet. Here it is, with a few notes on what all the words mean and how to pronounce them:

Antonio. (I wonder if women say Antonia?)



Chocolate. Yes, strangely, the Spanish list also has an entry for ‘ch’ which used to be a letter in its own right. I'd be minded to use Carmen and Historia.



Francia. (Spanish for France).

Gerona. Town and province in the North-East, on the coast bordering France.

Historia. History. (In case you weren’t sure.)

Inés. (The Spanish version of Agnes.)

José. (Usually pronounced Ho-seh).


Lorenzo. (Spanish for Laurence.)

Llobregat. Again, the double ‘l’ also has its own entry, Llobregat. There is a river, near Barcelona called Llobregat, but beyond that, I’m clueless. I'd say, 'Lorenzo, Lorenzo.'


Navarra. Autonomous community in northern Spain.

Ñoño. It’s an adjective meaning insipid or spineless, used for the letter 'Ñ'.
Oviedo. Capital city of Asturias, on the North coast.


Querido. (Means ‘dear,’ at the start of a letter, but also, ‘darling’.)


Sábado. (Saturday).

Tarragona. Capital city of the province of the same name.

Ulises. Boy’s name. Spanish version of Ulysses.

Valencia. Capital city of the province of Valencia in the Autonomous Community of… Valencia! New York, New York? So good they named it twice? Hah! What about Valencia (the city), Valencia (the province), Valencia (the autonomous community)!! So good they named it three times! (With apologies to Gerard Kenny.)
Washington. Washington?! Interestingly enough (well, I thought it was interesting), Spanish doesn’t have any words beginning with the letter ‘w’. Any words you do find in a Spanish dictionary will be foreign (what are often called 'loan' words). My dictionary has ten entries: walkie-talkie, walkman (I guess there’ll be nine in the next edition), Washington, wáter (meaning toilet), waterpolo, wátman (meaning ‘cool’!?), whisky, Winchester, windsurf and WWW.
Xiquena. The name of a castle in Murcia. Pronounced Chic-en-ah.

Yegua. A mare. Pronounced Yeh-gwa.

Zaragoza. Capital of Aragon, in the North-East. Pronounced Zar-ah-goth-ah.
N.B., I've posted what is essentially the same article on primary and secondary sites this week.

Vol.2 No.8 A Run Around the Block

A picture puzzle this week. What are these, and what are they for?

I'll give you a little bit of help before there are too many furrowed brows, 'Bous al Carrer' isn't actually Spanish, it's the local 'Valenciano' and means 'bulls in the street'.

So, have you got the rest of it? Here's my translation:

Bull carts. Bulls in the Street. Ideal for clubs and town-halls. The best gift for this summer. Orders by telephone. Prices: Large 400 euros, small 275 euros. Postage and packing charge not included. New design. They fold up rapidly for storage in the car boot.

If you're still having trouble working out what they're for, here are a few snaps from some local fiestas over the summer:

These 'bull-runs' for children (encierros infantiles) take place in most of the towns that hold annual adult 'bull-running' fiestas. It's certainly not something that only takes place at Pamploma's San Fermin fiesta.

Here's some video from Nules (noo-les) in the Valencian community. Behind the children and the bulls-on-wheels you'll be ables to see the cadafales, the steel cages where the 'runners' can escape to if the real bull gets too close. Spectators sit on top, sipping cañas.

Nules encierro infantil, 2013

I'm not a fan of bull-fighting or (adult) bull-running, but these children's events do seem great fun, although there's an argument that their function is to 'recruit' runners for future adult runs. What do you think?

Finally a newspaper headline from four days after my visit to the encierro infantil in Nules:


I'll leave you to translate it. Have a safe trip if you visit Spain.

If you want to see some more photos and video on this topic, see the in-depth post on the main Zen Kyu Maestro page:


Vol.2 No.7 A Walk in the Park (4) Dónde Estan Los Servicios?

A really easy puzzle this week. So easy, it's not really a puzzle. What does this sign indicate?

OK, I'll admit it. I don't expect anyone not to know the answer. I'm only showing it because it made me laugh. It is, of course, the sign for los servicios

I spotted this sign out in El Jardín del Turia, the dry river that is now Valencia's biggest park and recreation area. But you still need to be a bit careful with the word...

I once told my (Spanish) tenis partner that his 'servicios' were very good. In my defence I'll say that I hadn't been learning Spanish that long, and that the word 'servicio' does indeed mean a (tennis) service. Well, it does in the dictionary. But not on the pista de tenis that I was playing on, apparently. If you really want to compliment your opponent's tennis serve then the word you really want is saque. In general parlance, the word 'servicios' is usually reserved for toilets.

Useful to know...

Vol.2 No.6 A Walk in the Park (3)

I'm going to come back to this place again and again because it's one of my favourite places in Valencia. In the past, the river used to flood, causing chaos and even death in the centre of Valencia. So they decided to dig another (safer) river which went around the city instead of through it. A shame in a way as everyone loves a city with a river.

But over the years, I've grown to love what the city did with the old river. They made it into a new one, but a dry one. The River Túria Park was born.

Today, I've found a quiet corner with an unusual space. I've got five photos to show you, and your job is to guess what happens in this space. The fifth photo has a bit of translating for you to do which should give the whole game away so try to have a guess before you get to it...

Last chance for a guess, the next photo explains all... if you can read it!

Did you work it out? It's a 'park for pets' (mostly dogs, I think). The rules are simple:

Use of the games: for pets.
Close the doors (gates).
(Water) fountain for exclusive use of animals.
Use the waste-bins.
Phone number for the public: 010.

Now I only have a couple of further observations...

Aren't Spanish dogs clever? To be able to read these rules? And in Spanish!

I wonder when they start learning English??

Vol.2 No.5 Hace Calor.


I’ve got a very neat little video film for you to translate today. I hope the clever graphics don’t take your minds off the language to be translated. 

A note to teachers: there are Spanish subtitles at the bottom of the video, so you might want to block them off, or play a ‘sound only’ version before allowing your students to see them. Here's the film:

Below is the transcript:

Contra el calor, toma medidas.

Bebe agua frequentamente, aunque no tienes sed.

Refréscate a menudo. Mójate.

Protégete del sol.

Busca lugares frescos.

Reduce los esfuerzos físicos

en las horas más calurosos del día.

Cuida que los niños, los ancianos y enfermos sigan estos consejos.

Combatir el calor está en tus manos.

Gobierno de España. 

And now the translation:

Take measures against the heat.

Drink water frequently, even if you’re not thirsty.

Refresh yourself every now and again, wet yourself.

Protect yourself from the sun.

Look for cooler places.

Cut down on physical exercise

During the hottest part of the day.

Make sure that children, the elderly and the sick follow this advice.

Beating the heat is in your hands.

Government of Spain.

It’s a very clever film, isn’t it? I hope you don’t all go home now and spend your time making shadow-puppets on the bedroom ceiling instead of doing your Spanish homework!

Hasta la semana que viene.

Vol.2 No.4 Camarer@

Paradores are one of Spain’s most prestigious chains of hotels. Many of the buildings are refurbished convents and monasteries in spectacular settings. We went to Cuenca last weekend and stayed at the Parador there, a 16th century convent facing the famous casas colgadas (hanging houses) behind the pedestrian bridge featured in C.J. Sansom’s novel, ‘Winter in Madrid’.

Cuenca's bridge and (behind) casas colgadas.
Strangely enough, amongst all this history, the things which caught my eye for this week’s puzzle were in the Parador bar. There was one on the table when we sat down, about the size of a deck of cards. What would you do with it?

Any ideas what that man might be looking for through his telescope? I wouldn't scroll down until you've had a guess, as the next photo gives you some more clues...

Anybody studying French or German might get some more help from the following two shots.

The last photo explains all...

Neat, isn't it? You hardly need to speak any Spanish if you point at the menu once the camarer@ has arrived! Although you'll still have to be able to read, if you want something off the menu that you might enjoy.

N.B.,Did you notice how young Spaniards have started using the @ symbol (it's called arroba in Spanish) for words that can be masculine or feminine? And of course, as you'd expect, I'm keeping up with language fashion wherever I go! (Even if the Paradores aren't quite up to speed!)

Now, shall I have those patatas bravas with my pulpo or would an ensalada verde be more sensible?

Vol.2 No.3 Lost and Found:

I was out in the countryside the other week when I saw this...

Not your normal 'lost' poster.

Translation below:

Urgent. I'm searching for a parrot. 
Colour bluish grey 
red tail. 
It needs medication. 
If you see it or find it, 
call (number) local police Guardia Civil.

What really made me think was, even if I found it, how did they expect me to catch it?

Vol.2 No.2 Swapping Shirts:

One for the aficionad@s de fútbol this week. Apologies to non-fans, although you might still enjoy the humour.

One of my nearest clubs is Vila-Real. They're a real 'small-town' team. The town has a population of 50,000, about the size of Clacton or Kidderminster. Can you imagine either of them playing in the Champions League? Which is exactly what Vila-Real have achieved over recent seasons, including losing in the semi-final to Arsenal in 2006.

Hard times hit in 2012 when they were relegated, but they were promoted immediately and have now made a good start (currently 4th) including a home draw against Real Madrid.

Vila-Real's Madrigal stadium full to capacity (23,800) for the match against Real Madrid last week.

The other night I was at the estadio Madrigal again for the game against Español when something off the pitch attracted my eye for this week's puzzle. It's a simple translation. What does this say?

I'll apologise for the poor quality this week, but I only had my phone with me this time. Here's the text: 


You probably won't need any clues, unless you're really not a fútbol fan, but here are a couple just in case.

Firstly, Musacchio is a Vila-Real jugador.


Secondly, Spanish football fans love making banners (pancartas) and recently a habit has developed of making banners asking players for their shirts. To be honest it's got a bit boring there are now so many begging banners. 'Iniesta, it's my birthday, give me your shirt' sort of thing. But the banner on Thursday made me smile and I thought you might enjoy it too.

Vale, ready for the traducción? Aquí está.

Mussachio, I'll swap my sister for your shirt.

OK, so it's not going to win any comedy awards. But it showed me once again how even having the smallest amount of a foreign language can provide you with insights into (otherwise hidden) aspects of a country.

P.S., My primary blog, Spain4Primary has an interesting couple of videos of a 'spinning top' expert/demonstrator this week. One of his tricks is juggling his spinning top like a footballer. Check it how here: The Messi of spinning tops
Vol.2 No.1 Large Families:

A video link to Youtube (opens in a new window) and a straight challenge to translate. And I'll be honest with you and confess that despite using a number of dictionaries, I had to finally admit defeat and ask a Spanish colleague to translate the last line spoken by the cucaracha. So bonus points to you if you can get it! 

Click here for video.  Warning, not for the squeamish!

Transcription below, followed by translation, if you need it!

Hola, vengo a notificarle que debe abandonar esta vivienda en un plazo de dos días.

¡De eso, nada! La culpa es de la gente por no reparar los grifos y tener las casas sucias y desordenadas. Por no hablar de cuando dejáis la comida al aire libre.  Y habrá bolsas de basura allí, todo el día abiertas.

Firma aquí, por favor.

 Y ahora, que hago yo con mis doscientos hijos?

Con la llegada del calor, desde el ayuntamiento de Castellón te damos consejos contra las cucarachas.

Como mantener la casa limpia y ordenada.

O almacenar los alimentos en recipientes cerrados o alacenas.

¡Evita las malas compañías!

Hello, I’ve come to notify you that you have to abandon this flat in two days.

No way! It’s the fault of the people who don’t repair their (leaking) taps and have dirty and disorganised houses. Not to mention when they leave food  out in the open. And they leave bags of rubbish there, open all day long.

Sign here please.

And now, what will I do with my two hundred children?

With the arrival of the heat, from the town hall of Castellón we give you advice against cockroaches.

How to keep the house clean and tidy.

Or store food in closed containers or cupboards.

Avoid bad company!

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