The Cryptic Invitation

The day has arrived! You had always heard of the Puzzling Society, but today you received a letter from their official headquarters. You tear it open quickly, and you almost drop it because you are so excited. It reads:

Hello, and welcome to the prestigious Puzzling Society; this letter is your official invitation. Yes, it is also a puzzle (honestly, what else would you expect). All of the information necessary to solve it is contained either in this letter or the enclosed image. Love and luck I wish to you as you attempt to solve it, and I hope that I shall see you shortly for your first meeting.

With best regards,

P.S. We'll meet by the rock. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Contact me at:
[email protected]

Image:

What does the image mean, and where is your first meeting?

Hint:

Sorry about the imperfections of the image. I'm not that great at MS.

Hint 2:

Puede que estés buscando en el idioma equivocado.

Hint 3:

Each section of the “flag” corresponds to a single word. But what could the different colors mean?

Hint 4:

Hint 5:

There is a built-in check for the word search that isn't in the image, and it will also prove useful for another of the puzzles.

Hint 6:

As per the arrow near the red section of the flag, the solution method for the black section should lead to the solution method for the red section.

Hint 7:

For the red section: Is there a way for the words in the grid to be pointing at something?

• Did you mean to say Paint in the first hint?
– m4n0
Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 7:23
• You could relate it to MicroSoft paint, yes. However, it's implications go beyond just that, and are not solely related to my lack of knowledge regarding the usage of paint. Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 17:46
• Well, I do know about the grid. But I am not sure about the colours. Is that yellow in the upper right corner?
– ACB
Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 12:27
• The upper right six squares in the grid are a tan color, or at least they are intended to be so. As for the letters surrounding the grid, they are all red. Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 14:50
• Not sure if my WS is fully correct, but MS surely fits perfectly :) i.sstatic.net/mVC51.png Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 9:52

The puzzle has already been largely solved by Lukas Rotter in the comments

The meeting is at

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

First word

This comes from the word search. We can take the first words of each sentence of the letter,

Hello, Yes, All, Love, With

and translate them into Spanish

Hola, Sí, Todo, Amor, Con

and find those words in the grid. Furthermore, we can find four more spanish words

The remeaining letters spell QUE, i.e., WHAT.

Second word

We can notice that the colours in the grid seem to correlate with how many orange cells neighbour each cell. Meaning it works just like Minesweeper!

The cell with yellow borders is 3, so the second word is THREE.

Third word

We can take from the word search only those words that were actually in the letter and check which red letter each of them points at.

Taken in the same order as the words appear in the letter, these letters spell out WORDS.

Putting everything together

What3words is a website that translates three given words into an address. We can notice that the given email address, [email protected], is a bit odd and contains three random words, "intruding counts casting". Inputting those into what3words points us to Mount Rushmore.

For the first part, we can extract 9 words hidden in the grid, wordsearch style. The kick is, they are in...

Spanish! You can see the words Hola, Sí, Una, Adios, Todo, Con, Eres, Amor, Niño.

The leftover letters form another word,

"Que", meaning "What".

Not sure on how to proceed next for the second word, but i suspect

Minesweeper

is part of the solution

• I get the feeling though that not all the words you've found will be relevant - note Hint 5, and the fact that rot13(znal bs gurfr ner gur Fcnavfu rdhvinyragf bs gur jbeqf gung ortva rnpu bs gur fragraprf va gur yrggre: Uryyb, Lrf, Nyy, Ybir, Jvgu... Bguref znl whfg or erq ureevatf.)
– Stiv
Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 23:53
• @Stiv, I hadn't noticed that. Still, I tried highlighting only those relevant words and it doesn't look any more meaningful (at least I got that hidden three letter word when marking every word (?)) Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 3:37