enter image description here

Who is he really?
Please answer this question of mine
Starting from the top-leftmost white cell and then
You are still going clockwise by
Taking the letters where you are turning left but
Not, once again, not
The letters where you are turning right and please
You have to keep in mind
Right now, yes, right now

Rules of Simple Loop: Draw a non-intersecting loop through the centers of all white cells.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't suppose diagonal lines are allowed? $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2022 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Dopplegamer that's right, only horizontal and vertical are allowed in standard Simple Loop :) $\endgroup$
    – athin
    Apr 24, 2022 at 11:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Another nice question by athin. Good work! $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Apr 24, 2022 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


The initial simple loop is a fairly straightforward solve, like so:

Solving initial simple loop

And once solved we can follow the instructions to read off every letter where the loop turns left, starting from the top-leftmost white square. This yields the instruction:


With thanks to @user39583 for their comment on @BeastlyGerbil's answer, this suggests that:

In every row and column there is exactly one square that is incorrectly shaded - i.e. a square that is white that should be black, or vice versa. We should then be able to resolve the simple loop another way.

So let's give this a go... Throughout the description that follows, I will shade squares light blue if they are a correct path space or dark blue if they are a correct blank; purple will equivalently be used for the squares to be altered.

Step 1:

First, focus on the edges:

Bearing in mind that we cannot leave any edge path spaces isolated between two blanks we can immediately identify many path spaces and blanks that must remain so:

Step 1a
Please excuse the artefacts - this is a rough MS Paint job...

We then spot that the incorrect spaces in columns 4 and 7 must be in rows 1 and 10, since there are only two complementary possibilities for the incorrect squares in these. Furthermore, the squares diagonally adjacent to each of the four grid corners must be path spaces for the loop to continue.

Step 1b

Step 2:

Let's start drawing in the loop now...

While doing so, we can see that the loop must pass straight through the spaces in R3C4 and R8C4. Also, the 'A' in R8C9 and the 'I' in R6C2 must be correct path spaces to avoid isolating neighbouring cells.

Step 2

Step 3:

Focus on the bottom-left corner of the grid:

The 'L' in R8C2 must be a correct path space - if it weren't so, the 'D' above it would end up isolated if the 'H' below it links in turn to the 'S' and 'I'.

Now, the 'S' in R9C3 must also be a correct path space - otherwise, ultimately either the 'D' or 'I' in column 2 would need to connect to its right through column 3, via an incorrect blank space switched to a path space, but the column 3 incorrect space would already have been taken by the 'S'...

Once both of these spaces are marked as correct, we cannot link the adjacent 'H' and 'S' in row 9, as the 'S' would then need to link to the 'I' above it and the 'L' in R8C2 will be stranded. There remains only one way to resolve the loop in this corner:

Step 3

Step 4:

This now means we can identify our first incorrect spaces:

R10C4 must be a correct blank, so the incorrect blanks (which should actually be path spaces) in rows 1 and 10 are in columns 4 and 7, respectively.

Step 4a

The shape of the loop at the top now means it is impossible for the 'F' in R2C5 to be included in the loop - it is an incorrect path space and should instead be a blank. All other cells in its row and column can be marked as correct:

Step 4b

This in turn means that R3C6 must be an incorrect blank that must actually be a path space in order for the loop to continue:

Step 4c

Step 5:

We can now see where the incorrect spaces in columns 1 and 2 lie and resolve them:

Step 5a

Then R5C3 must be a path space (not a blank), which means only one possible incorrect space remains in column 9: the 'E' in row 7. This in turn fixes the final two incorrect spaces (R8C10 and R9C8):

Step 5b

All that remains is to complete the loop through knock-on deductions, eventually reaching the following final state:

Step 5c

What next?

Now to read off a new message, but this time in the opposite way to what we did the first time around - taking the letters where the loop turns right, as per the last line of the poem ("Right now, yes, right now"). This one reads:


Extracting the letters

So does this give us a clue to answering the OP's ultimate question: Who is he really? Well, a potential solution (suggested by @DanielS in comments) is:

The poet Abdullah Shoaib, who wrote a poem called 'Pretty Ugly' which went viral in 2018, as it is a reverse poem, i.e. one which after reading it from top-to-bottom can also be read bottom-to-top to give the reverse sentiment. (In fact, this is a trick I employed myself in one of my very first puzzles on this site, which was itself inspired by two other reverse poems I had come across...) This 'reverse poem' nature is also exhibited by the OP's own poem beneath the grid image (try it for yourself and see...), so everything is tying together here thematically.

In fact, if you mark all the spaces in the grid which were used in either of the two messages we have found so far, the leftover letters spell out for us that THE FINAL ANSWER IS ABDULLAH SHOAIB! And the puzzle is solved good and proper!

Hidden message revealed

  • $\begingroup$ Great job with the new path, I'd solved the bottom right cell swaps, but got completely lost with what to do with the top/top-left area - you don't suppose the answer could simply just be (rot13 - Gur BC uvzfrys? Gurl ner gur cbrg, nygubhtu gung jbhyq zrna gurl'ir pnyyrq gurve cbrz htyl, fb znlor abg...) $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2022 at 1:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Htyl Cbrz ol Noqhyynu Fubnvo frrzf gb svg gur ovyy. Va cnegvphyne abgr gung gur yvarf bs gur cbrz va gur dhrfgvba pna nyfb or ernq va erirefr beqre, whfg yvxr Fubnvo'f cbrz. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel S
    Apr 24, 2022 at 8:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DanielS I like that - will edit in, thanks :) (It's very similar to one of my very first puzzles on this site in fact...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Apr 24, 2022 at 11:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Indeed it's the correct answer! :D An alternative way to get the final answer is to rot13(ernq nyy gur yrggref juvpu ner abg gnxra va obgu ybbcf). And woah, great minds think alike XD $\endgroup$
    – athin
    Apr 24, 2022 at 12:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks @athin for another puzzle that gave me a good mental runaround and kept me up waaaay too late into the night! Lots of nice touches here - and the true grid deduction puzzle was surprisingly tricky :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Apr 24, 2022 at 12:13

Partial answer:

Solution to the grid:

enter image description here

Now following the instructions:

Starting from the 'P' top left, and working clockwise, we take every letter where the line turns left to give:


It would appear the one cell in each row and column are incorrect?

The remaining 4 lines are still to be used, so for reference:

There is a lot of emphasis on the letters with right turns now, so those letters are:


Which doesn't seem to be helpful...

Ideas I've tried:

- Extracting one letter from each row, column but instructions don't seem to work
- Swapping one cell in each row and column to try and make a new viable loop, but couldn't make this work
- Adding cells to make a new loop, to then take right letters, also didn't work

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is the same point I got to. However, I think you need to interpret the message differently, more like rot13(Va rnpu ebj naq pbyhza, bar pryy vf 'ylvat', jungrire gung zrnaf urer.) I am at a loss how to deliver that exactly though... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Apr 23, 2022 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv oooh I never even thought of breaking the line up like that, all about comma placement! I have a feeling a few people probably got this far, but been mulling over this for couple hours and got nowhere $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2022 at 19:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Stiv rot13(Vg zrnaf gur pryy unf gur jebat pbybhe, v.r., oynpx fubhyq or juvgr be gur bgure jnl nebhaq.) $\endgroup$
    – user39583
    Apr 23, 2022 at 20:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user39583 Thanks for that insight - took a while to work through but the coherent output suggests you were spot on! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Apr 24, 2022 at 6:36

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