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The following underscores represent the letters in a sentence. There are extra spaces between some, indicating a word delimiter. Punctuation is included in the sentence.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ , _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

All 46 consonants, in RANDOM order are here:

d d t h t d t b b t t f f l h c h k p r g l d
n l b t c t d r t l y g s c h w y l h r n b t

All 27 vowels in CORRECT order are here:

e e a i o u a a o e o u e a o o i e a o u u a a a i e


After working out the sentence, use the following to determine the super-duper secret hidden word:

3.2/5.3/7.1/0.5/5.2/0.8/2.6/1.0/6.3

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Would [quote] be an appropriate tag here? It should be used for "puzzles that involve a famous quotation". Also, if there is a final word as the solution then [word] may apply $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble The quote is not famous, it's just a sentence. Why did you remove pattern? It seemed to me that the supplied vowels (in correct order) fitting into the sentence would show a pattern that fits English words that would use the consonants. $\endgroup$
    – Chowzen
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 1:27
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    $\begingroup$ The intent of [pattern] is for puzzles of the form "find the pattern in this group of items" and perhaps "what's another item that would fit?" It is not to be used for any question that involves any sort of pattern. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 1:31

1 Answer 1

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The sentence is

YESTERDAY, I THOUGHT THAT TACO BELL WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA FOR LUNCH, BUT THAT PLAN BACKFIRED.

If we then

take a.b to mean letter b of word a, counting from 0 in both cases, we get ALERLYTIL, which is an anagram of LITERALLY.

A few notes on solving:

First 1-letter word looks more like I than A given the known vowels. Ah, first word might be YESTERDAY. Now we have o u a ... hmm, could be YESTERDAY, I THOUGHT THAT; let's give that a go. That means the 3-letter word after the comma is probably BUT, since "yesterday, I thought ..." is obviously setting up a comparison or something of the sort. Now the other 1-letter word has to be A rather than I, and then the vowel in the previous word is an E -- seems like it's got to be BE. The next vowels are o o i e a -- oh, how about GOOD IDEA? Then it seems like the next word has to be FOR, and if BUT is right then the 5-letter word in between has no vowel but U. Ah! LUNCH. What the [expletive] is up with the two 4s near the start, then? [try various things, finding no promising words, then finally] Oh, it could be TACO BELL, eww. Now we must have just one A in each of the two 4-letter words that are left and vowels AIE in the last word. It must end ED. Maybe ...ICKED? Oh, wait, I bet it's THAT PLAN. And now presumably it ends BACKFIRED? Yeah, that checks out. The last bit is obviously selecting letters from words, and the 0s mean it's 0-based, so that gives us ALERLYTIL. Ah, yes, LITERALLY.

Except that

of course there were intervals of staring blankly at the letters, and maybe more bad guesses than I indicated above (though I don't think so), and I was looking at the super-duper secret word concurrently with doing everything else and kept wanting it to make LITERARY or LITERACY even though those are one letter too short. Which at least made it easy to find LITERALLY once I had all the letters.

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent! I got two-thirds of the way there, but was missing rot13(gnpb oryy) and the last 4 words. I had the vowels allocated to the right words except for one (the 'o' in rot13(gnpb oryy). Well done! $\endgroup$
    – lxop
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 2:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I had the same misallocation for a while. I think what you call the first two thirds actually took about half the time; the rot13(GNPB ORYY) was hard to find. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ Nicely done. I liked the step-by-step that you had up before... $\endgroup$
    – Chowzen
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 11:37
  • $\begingroup$ "Before"? I haven't removed or changed anything. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks very much! $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 17:29

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