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The image below holds a secret.

The question is: Which letter should replace the question mark and why?

Hints:

Enemy and friend will be looking for the answer!

Pseudonym or not? After all these years it is still questioned.

One by One, Two by Two, etc.

Someone witnessed this drama one day. The next day ended with a drama for this person.

Only once he went to space. So to say...

Swallow, Kingfisher, Sparrow, Lark, ...? What was his inspiration?

Only official ones count!

(Posted June 27th 2022) Every row has 24 red herrings

25x25 grid of letters, heading 'MESSAGE: FOR YOU ONLY'

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    $\begingroup$ Feel free to not have any hints when you post your puzzle, and after a bit of time, if the puzzle is still unsolved, you can add some. Here's a meta post talking about this :) $\endgroup$
    – Auribouros
    Jun 24, 2022 at 13:31

1 Answer 1

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The missing letter is:

N

Because:

The letters along the main diagonal are the initial letters of the 25 official James Bond films to date, starting Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball... and finishing (at present) Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre... revealing our last one to be No Time to Die.

All other letters in the grid can be ignored.

There are a few clues dotted about to help point us in this direction:

The title is a reference to the 1981 Bond film For Your Eyes Only, and there are several '0' characters in the grid, possibly referring to Bond's pseudonymous codename '007' (double-oh seven); there is also (pleasingly) an occurrence of two consecutive 'O' characters in row 7!

The hints provided make additional references to the spy movie genre and the plot of Moonraker (1979) - the one film in which Bond goes to space - and the list of birds is a reference to the book Birds of the West Indies written by the real-life ornithologist James Bond, and on the bookshelf of author Ian Fleming, providing him with inspiration for the name!

EDIT: To acknowledge the OP's intention behind the hint "Someone witnessed this drama one day. The next day ended with a drama for this person." (revealed in comments):

As per the IMDB 'Trivia' page for From Russia With Love (1963), there's an interesting connection between this film and President John F. Kennedy:

Then-President John F. Kennedy listed Ian Fleming's book as among his top ten favorite novels of all time. That list was published in Life Magazine on March 17, 1961. Possibly as a result, the producers decided to make this the second James Bond movie. According to the book "Death of a President" (1964) by William Raymond Manchester, this was the last movie J.F.K. ever saw, in a private screening in the White House, November 20, 1963.

Kennedy was assassinated just two days later on November 22.

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  • $\begingroup$ You are correct! As for the hints; you almost got them all, only one left. "Someone witnessed this drama one day. The next day ended with a drama for this person.". This refers to JFK watching the movie "From Russia with love", one day before he was killed on 22-11-1963. $\endgroup$ Jun 27, 2022 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ @JoostVanPoppel Ah, that's a new story on me! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jun 27, 2022 at 11:22

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