Imagine my horror to discover that I'd been betrayed. I knew it was one among five of my most trusted inner circle, so I sent them this message:

Dear Anna, Bess, Chrissy, Diana, and Eva,

I know one of you has done the dirty on me behind my back. If you are good enough to admit it, we can put it behind us and move on. If any of the rest of you know who it was, remember it is no disloyalty to rat out a rat - if you know something, please say (privately).

Freya x

I received the following replies:


It wasn't me, but that's all I know.



Hi Freya,

I saw Anna and Chrissy whispering about something the other day, but I suppose that could have been about anything. So sorry this has happened to you.

Bess xoxoxoxox

I think it might have been Diana, but please don't tell her I said anything.

Hugs and kisses,


Oh, no! I can't believe anyone would do that. Mind you, you know I've never fully trusted Eva - I bet it was her.

Hope you get over this soon.

Diana xx

Dear Freya,

That's awful - but I did warn you Bess was not to be trusted.

Lots of love,

Eva xxx

From these messages, can you tell me who I should unfriend, and how you can tell they are the one who has stabbed me in the back?

  • $\begingroup$ Nf V pna abgvpr, gurer ner gjb 'n'f va Naan, gjb 'f'f va Orffl, gjb 'n'f va Qvnan, gjb 'f'f va Puevffl. Fb, V thrff gurer zhfg or n eryngvba orgjrra 1. Naan naq Qvnan 2. Orffl naq Puevffl Rin vf yrsg nybar Nyfb, abgvpvat gur Uhtf naq Xvffrf, k, kbkb... rgp Lbh whfg chg n fvatyr k Qvnan - gjb kf Rin - guerr kf Orff - kbkbkbkbk Naan whfg fnvq Uhtf Puevffl fnvq Uhtf naq Xvffrf V guvax guvf znl or na beqre gb neenatr gur zrffntrf. Nyfb, rirelobql cbvagf bhg gur arnerfg yrkvpbtencuvpny anzr rkprcg Rin. Nz V ba gur evtug genpx? $\endgroup$ – John Brookfields May 8 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Nyfb gurer ner guerr 'b'f va Ybgf bs ybir (ol Rin) naq sbhe 'b'f va kbkbkbkbk (ol Orff) $\endgroup$ – John Brookfields May 8 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ @John Brookfields Lbh'er ybbxvat va gur evtug cynpr, ohg abg tbg gur ernfbavat pbeerpg. Gur bayl yrkvpbtencuvpny nfcrpg gb gur anzrf vf gung gurl ortva N,O,P,... . Rira gung'f whfg na nvq gb gur fbyire, naq veeryrinag gb gur fbyhgvba. $\endgroup$ – Stewart Becker May 9 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ Vf vg fvtavsvpnag gung Rin ercyvrq kkk (qvegl) jurernf gur bguref ercyvrq jvgu uhtf be xvffrf? $\endgroup$ – Amoz May 10 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Amoz You are essentially asking, "Is it so-and-so, because of such-and-such?" That should be an answer not a comment. $\endgroup$ – Stewart Becker May 11 at 12:01

I think the answer might be



She ended her message xx - indicating a double cross

  • $\begingroup$ We have a winner! Well done. $\endgroup$ – Stewart Becker May 12 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ So this means everything else is irrelevant? Well, it's OK but not really satisfying ... $\endgroup$ – WhatsUp May 12 at 18:59

Possibly wrong but I'll put this out there as a guess as it hasn't been specifically denied.
If we are looking for someone who has 'done the dirty', it is interesting that

Eva replied xxx (associated with dirty) whereas the others replied with hugs or kisses. Perhaps it was an unconscious slip on her part, indicating guilt.
Next steps could be to have a private talk with Eva and discuss your concerns, and try to reconcile the relationship if indeed it was her. If she is unwilling, unfriending could be in order. Otherwise reconciliation and forgiveness on both sides is to be hoped for. Or perhaps it wasn't her at all, and more time studying these replies is in order.

  • $\begingroup$ Close but no cigar, I'm afraid. $\endgroup$ – Stewart Becker May 11 at 16:50

I think,


If only one of this inner trusted circle is not to be trusted, and if Eva is trustworthy, then both Bess and Diana are not. On the other hand, if Eva isn't trustworthy, then Diana's comments are correct, and Eva's comments about Bess aren't trustworthy.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice, logical reasoning, but no. Don't forget to check a puzzle's tags. $\endgroup$ – Stewart Becker May 12 at 6:48

I think it was

Anna, because all the other messages (including yours) ended with kisses (either word or just “x”), except hers - she only sent you hugs.

  • $\begingroup$ Another one that is in the right area, but not right, I'm afraid. $\endgroup$ – Stewart Becker May 12 at 6:49

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