"Have you heard? Your cover band, The Pairs and the Puzzlers, is having a comeback tour without you because you 'always spoil the mood!' They'll be playing these thirteen songs (given in alphabetical order) and if you can find the perfect song to complete their set, maybe they'll let you back in."

21 Guns - Green Day
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert
Bye Bye Bye - *NSYNC
From Nowhere - Dan Croll
Jealous - Nick Jonas
Let It Be - The Beatles
Long Train Runnin' - The Doobie Brothers
The Kill - 30 Seconds to Mars
The Wizard - Black Sabbath
Take on Me - a-ha
Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie
Wings - Jimmy Buffett
With Or Without You - U2

There is more than one song that could complete this set, so any that work (with correct reasoning) will be accepted. No knowledge of these songs, beyond the information given, is required to solve. EDIT: Knowledge about one song that I forgot about is required; this shouldn't make the puzzle too much more difficult.


"You don't know what to do first? I already gave you four hints!"

Hint 2:

"Of course you always spoil the mood! You always speak your mind, saying what you want with no respect for whether or not people want to hear it!"

Hint 3:

"There aren't very many pairs that can be formed; if you think you know how to form them, maybe just look up what pairs are possible?"

Hint 4:

"Alright, I'll give you a boost. The pair that requires some song knowledge is 'Ave Maria' by Franz Schubert and 'Take on Me' by a-ha."

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ TIL not all seemingly out-of-place italics in PSE questions are steganographic clues... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ Re the opening line, I can't help but note that rot13(va pelcgvp pyhr cneynapr, 'gbhe' pbzvat onpx jvgubhg 'h' fcryyf EBG - fhttrfgvat Pnrfne fuvsgf) - any mileage in this? I'm not seeing anything yet myself... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Guvegrra fbatf gbb), but I think that might genuinely be coincidence even if your observation is significant. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 21:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Glad to see you posting new puzzles again! Any chance of a further hint on this one? Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Apr 14, 2023 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm honestly not sure what other hints to give, but since this puzzle's been up for a year and a half, rot13(V'yy pbasvez gung gur pbzzragf urer ner ba gur evtug genpx). $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Apr 14, 2023 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


Partial answer

The title suggests we should pair up the songs, and the hint suggests we do this based on the first part of each song (i.e., the title).

We can pair them up based on the number of words in each song title, which leaves With Or Without You - U2 unpaired. So the answer is probably a song that pairs with this one. This also relates to the introduction in which we're told the band is coming back "without you"!

The four hints we were "already given" could be these four words in the title, but another candidate is always spoil the mood.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You're on the right track! While the correct logic leads to multiple potential solutions to this puzzle, there are fewer correct answers than there are rot13(fbatf jvgu sbhe jbeqf va gurz). Also, you've identified one of the puzzle's hints and, if you want more information, rot13(lbh ner ba gur evtug genpx sbe gjb bguref). I'm not sure how much information to give, but the significance of the song "With Or Without You" to the puzzle's text is coincidental. $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ In hindsight, I think my comment may have been misleading. You are right that you need to rot13(cnve hc gur fbatf) and rot13(nyjnlf fcbvy gur zbbq) is one of the four hints. $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Commented Apr 14, 2023 at 20:32

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