The whole gang's here... except for one. Who's missing?


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    $\begingroup$ Is there any way to summarize the important information behind that link in textual/image format? We really want all puzzles to be self-contained, and putting the entire puzzle behind a strange link (which I haven't clicked on) is frowned upon and possible grounds for closure as unsuitable for the site. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jul 17, 2021 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble The link leads to an audio file, so it can't be expressed with text/images without ruining the puzzle. Do you have any suggestions for how I could embed it in the post? $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2021 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ There's some discussion here, and specifically see the criteria the end of that answer for audio hosting services that would be acceptable. Unfortunately, we don't have an audio player embedded here. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jul 17, 2021 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ I've uploaded the audio to Soundcloud instead. Thanks for the help! $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2021 at 22:23
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for moving the audio! If you ever want to check in about a puzzle you plan on posting, chat is a great way to get casual input from the regulars who hang out there :) $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jul 17, 2021 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


In this audio file, each instrument...

...encodes a name as follows.

The high pitch "beep" (I almost isolated it by EQ'ing everything out below about 3000Hz):

This plays a rhythm that spells out "01100011 01100101 01110011 01100001 01110010" when mapping "0" to the higher pitch and "1" to the lower pitch sound, and translating the binary to text gives "cesar"

The changing sine (?) wave:

I didn't run any spectrum analysis or anything, but by listening to the pitch changes (and reverse engineering from what I suspected the solution was going to be), it sounds like a pitch over time graph would spell out "MILY"

The right-panned drum/knocking sound:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this encodes a message in knock, or tap, code based on the pairs of groups of knocks as follows: (3, 2), (3, 4), (1, 4), (1, 5), (4, 3), (4, 4). This decodes to "modest"

And, of course, the left-panned metallic bell from Jerry Dean's answer (which motivated me to take a crack at this puzzle)...

...spells out "nikolai" in Morse Code

All four of these names...

are the first names of most members of a group of Russian composers called "The Five", hinted to by the title: Mily, César, Modest, and Nikolai...

...which means the missing member is...

Alexander, the longest name and therefore most difficult to encode! ;)

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    $\begingroup$ All correct! :) $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2021 at 1:28
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    $\begingroup$ @IAmLucidNonsense This was a really satisfying puzzle! Kudos for rot13(znxvat fher vg jnf srnfvoyr gb qvssreragvngr orgjrra gur qvssrerag fbhaqf jvgu gur cnaavat naq qvssrerag cvgpurf) $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Jul 20, 2021 at 3:37
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    $\begingroup$ Nice! I thought the rest of the sounds were red herrings so I stopped facepalm $\endgroup$
    – Jerry Dean
    Jul 20, 2021 at 6:52

It's the infamous...

...Mr. Nikolai!

The reason is

Among the cacophony there is a metallic bell-ish sound (if you are wearing headphones, it should be on the left). Its melody consists of notes of 2 durations: 1/2 beat and 3/2 beat (under 190 bpm). If we mark the longer notes as "-", the shorter ones as ".", and insert "/" where there is a break longer than 1/2 beat, we get "-./../-.-/---/.-../.-/..", which is the morse code for "nikolai", a common East Slavic masculine name!


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