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My wife likes solving puzzles and I like creating them. But I'm afraid my latest idea might not be as great as I thought - could you please beta-test it and give feedback on what to improve and how? Or has this idea been used by others I could learn from? The puzzle would be the image below, without any content or clue (at least initially).

enter image description here

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Plotting the brightness of three horizontal slices of the image shows the following:


Mathematica code:
ListLinePlot[#,AspectRatio->1/4]&/@ImageData[img][[125;;375;;125,;;,1]]

It takes a little interpretation, but I think it says something like:

SHADOWY BLOCKY WORDS

Comments on the puzzle:

* I pretty much immediately recognized this puzzle as similar to "Merlin and Hermes: Mysterious Lines" by Tryth (thanks to Carmeister in the comments for finding it!). If I wasn't familiar with it then I probably wouldn't have been able to solve it.
* Being able to plot the brightness made it a lot easier, trying to solve it without the plot would have been more difficult, but probably more interesting as well.
* Due to those facts, the most difficult part was figuring out the letters from their upper profiles. One thing that made this a lot easier was the unique shape of the letters in this font: for example, you can see the leg of the R that makes it distinct from the B, and the lower end of the S makes it distinct from other curved letters like C and O. Choosing a font where the parts of the letters are more aligned would make this part more difficult and, I think, more interesting. Letter sets that could be made confusable are BDPR (half-round tops) CGOQS (round tops) EFITZ (flat tops) MV (deep vees) XY (shallow vees).
Two letters that did stump me for a bit were the K, which I thought was an N; and the Y, which I thought was an M for a bit. Then I thought it was an X, which made the letters read "SHADOWXBLOCKXWORDS," which, if I assume X separates words which is something I've seen in cryptography puzzles before, would make the solution "SHADOW BLOCK WORDS," which actually makes sense. Finally I realized that the vee was too high to be an X and could only be Y, which led to the final answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ You got it correct, do you have any feedback to give? I too think I saw something similar but wasn't sure if it was here and recently, or somewhere else, or just in my imagination. Oh, and how did you produce these graphs? I clearly need to clean up a few spots... '-.- $\endgroup$
    – zovits
    Feb 26 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ ^^ Ditto - there is one on this site and I've been looking for it but can't remember any key words from the flavourtext in order to pinpoint it! It was only about 5 or 6 letters long if I remember correctly... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Feb 26 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ There definitely was a similar one before, but I too have failed to find it. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Feb 26 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan You're thinking of this one I think! $\endgroup$
    – Carmeister
    Feb 27 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Carmeister Yes, that was it, thank you :) $\endgroup$
    – zovits
    Feb 27 at 9:58

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