The answer to this puzzle is a number.

pirouetters grid

For the color blind, here are the colors of all characters in the grid:


Here is the transcription of all characters in the grid:


Hint 1:

There is a hint encoded in the colors of the columns

Hint 2:

In every column one character is encoded in binary

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    $\begingroup$ Title automatically gets upvote. $\endgroup$ – WhatsUp May 14 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ Didn't intend to add the 4 single quotes to the title, but had to reach the minimum amount of 15 characters ... $\endgroup$ – sarsaparilla May 14 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ What about changing them to ,, or something similar, so that they appear at the correct position? $\endgroup$ – WhatsUp May 14 at 12:11
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    $\begingroup$ @WhatsUp that's a great idea, just changed them! $\endgroup$ – sarsaparilla May 14 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ Transcription of rotations (number of 8ths of a circle clockwise from "upright", comma separated, lines are :: separated and a/b means we can't tell whether it is a or b as the letter is symmetrical). E&OE!! 6,3/7,0,6,1,0/4,6,0/4,1/5,6,0,6,6,1::2/6,2/6,3,5,0,5,5,4,4,5,2/6,6,6,1::1,2/6,1,1,4,5,1,0/4,4,6,0,1,4,6::3,0/4,6,6,3/7,0,4,4,4,7,4,1,6,7::1,1,1,1,1/5,0/4,5,4,6,2,6,2,1,1::0,5,2,0,0,4,3,3,4,3,2,2,4,0::1,/7,5,4,0/4,2/6,2,1,3,2,6,1,6,1::2,5,2,5,7,5,5,4,5,7,4,7,1,7::1/5,5,1,5,1,5,1,5,1,1,2,2,4,1::0,0/4,0,4,3/7,1,4,1,4,2,0,2,2,1 $\endgroup$ – Vicky May 16 at 15:18

The answer is


Deusovi solved the first part of the puzzle

which gave the instruction "Braille".

The next step is to

look at every single letter in a given rotation. These all form letters in braille.

As an example, the Y's in the upper left corner form the letter W like this

The orientation of the braille letter is always the same as the orientation of the original letters.

Most of the ambiguities in the letter orientation are solved by this step since the other orientations wouldn't give valid braille letters. However, the Is pointing west/east are not solved, nor is it clear, which letter the leftmost I belongs to. Also, the orientation of the NE/SW pointing Is and the NW/SE pointing Os is unclear. Finally, it is also not at this point clear whether the Js pointing west form the letter B or K.

The list of the braille letters (ordered by the original alphabets and orientations going clockwise starting from N) is as follows

At this point, we can see words forming from the solved letters and resolve any ambiguities to get the following message

"Who unwittingly unlocked the rift to the Upside Down?"

This is a reference to the series Stranger Things, and the answer to the question is Eleven.

One final thing to note is that as MacGyver88 pointed out in comments, the letters are also in the font of Stranger Things.

OP also pointed out in the comments below that there are multiple references to the final answer hidden in the puzzle

There are 11 characters in the title (not counting the apostrophes).

There are 11 characters of each colour (as mentioned in Vickys answer).

Some characters have a black fill, not showing the starry background. These form the Roman numeral XI (image by sarsaparilla)

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    $\begingroup$ Great job @user39583 ! Some more gimmicks about this puzzle: rot13(V unir gevrq gb chg fbzr (fhogyr?) ersreraprf gb gur ahzore ryrira vagb guvf chmmyr. Svefg bs nyy, gur gvgyr unf ryrira punenpgref (vs lbh qba'g pbhag gur sbhe hcfvqr-qbja ncbfgebcurf). Lbh zvtug jbaqre jul gur uvag gbjneqf 'oenvyyr' pbagnvarq gur 7cv (jurer whfg cv jbhyq or fhssvpvrag), gur fdhner oenpxrgf naq fgenatr 'o' ng gur raq: V gubhtug vg jbhyq or avpr gb unir ryrira punenpgref bs rirel pbybe va gur chmmyr, juvpu V znantrq gb qb riraghnyyl (guvf jnf abgrq ol hfre Ivpxl)) $\endgroup$ – sarsaparilla Jun 8 at 11:29
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    $\begingroup$ rot13(Svanyyl, gurer ner n ahzore bs punenpgref va gur chmmyr gung unir n oynpx svyy, fb lbh pna'g frr gur fgneel onpxtebhaq guebhtu gurz. Gurl sbez gur Ebzna ahzreny KV yvxr guvf:) link $\endgroup$ – sarsaparilla Jun 8 at 11:30
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    $\begingroup$ @sarsaparilla Thanks! I added a mention of the easter eggs to the answer. Wonderful puzzle, I can't even imagine how you managed to fit everything together so nicely! $\endgroup$ – user39583 Jun 8 at 12:41

Partial answer


decoding each column as binary Unicode (white = 1, colored = 0) gives the message Rot7π[ǝll!ɐɹƣ]. "rot-7π" here means we need to rotate the stuff inside the brackets by 7π radians, which is a half turn (plus three full rotations). This gives braille. (that last character, ƣ, has a descender in some fonts, even though it may not have one in your system fonts).

And this is where I'm stuck:

I've tried converting the letters to Braille (ignoring ambiguities for now). They don't seem to draw out anything, but the rotations could indicate that we have to rotate the Braille characters. Since a full-size Braille character has eight dots, one natural way to do said rotation would be to rotate the 8 dots for each letter corresponding to how the letter is rotated.

↑ ↓
↑ ↓
↑ ↓

But nothing seems to come of this, either rotating to match the letter or to bring it back upright. And I'm not sure of any other interpretations of "braille" that could be used with the letters, or any way that the particular colors for each column could be used.


Some initial notes (definitely not a solution):


The grid is 14 columns x 10 rows = 140 places


There are 8 colours (ROYGBIVW)
Each column is white plus one other colour
There are a total of 11 characters of each colour other than white


There are 8 possible rotations (labelled 0 to 7 as eighths of a circle clockwise)
Some of the characters could be in more than one rotation as the glyph is symmetric
My transcription of the rotations (using / to indicate options):
Assuming the smallest number of rotations where there is an option, the frequency table is:
0: 19
1: 32
2: 19
3: 10
4: 20
5: 17
6: 17
7: 6


The frequency table looks quite a lot like English:
A 10
B 3
C 8
D 2
E 14
F 4
G 3
H 8
I 12
J 2
K 5
L 9
M 4
N 13
O 7
P 5
Q 0
R 3
S 9
T 3
U 5
V 0
W 3
X 0
Y 4
Z 4

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    $\begingroup$ I don't really think this is a significant enough partial answer; I can't see any confirmed progress, just collections of information that you're not sure what to do with. $\endgroup$ – bobble May 16 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ Still, I think this answer is at least a start and can get other puzzlers' brains (or your own) going. $\endgroup$ – sarsaparilla May 16 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I was aiming to find things that people might not have noticed and/or might provide helpful to them, and there was more here than would fit in a comment. I'm more than happy either to delete or mark as CW if that would be better. $\endgroup$ – Vicky May 16 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ Also to add for others, the letters in the puzzle rot13(ner va gur sbag bs "Fgenatre Guvatf"). It kind of goes with the title. $\endgroup$ – MacGyver88 May 17 at 12:49

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