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Merry merry merry! Merry merry! Christmas merry merry Christmas a! Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2022. Merry! Merry Christmas merry merry! Merry! Merry merry merry Christmas! Merry! Christmas Merry and New Year! bounty worth 200 reputation.

< Merry Christmas!


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The final answer to this puzzle will be an image and a 13 word message. Good luck and happy puzzling!
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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Been stuck with the rot13(fvkglfvk tevq) for ages (hopefully that doesn't give too much away) - fun puzzle so far! If I can't crack it very interested to see someones answer $\endgroup$ Dec 24, 2022 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ I am stuck in the same place, for what it's worth. I think it does give too much away and have edited in some rot13ification; I hope you don't mind. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 24, 2022 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan no problem, should have rotified in the first place! Feel like there's one simple trick we're probably missing... $\endgroup$ Dec 24, 2022 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ Chispsmas merry! oh g9sh im slowly losing it akhrhaiagcdb $\endgroup$
    – user79541
    Dec 25, 2022 at 0:54

2 Answers 2

18
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Ok, so I think I'm very close to a full answer, I have a picture:

Puzzle solution (pixel Santa)

Which is obtained by:

Interpreting the words merry and Christmas as dots and dashes for Morse code. We get the words, Six, Eleven and 66 seemingly random words.

However each of these:

Words is associated with a colour in a common phrase.

SIX and ELEVEN (pixel art dimensions)

green(PEA THUMB REVOLUTION) red(ALERT SQUARE) white(KNUCKLE)

green(FLASH) green(MANURE) red(HARRISON) red(CARPET CENT) green(EMERALD)

green(JADE) white(HORSES CHOCOLATE WALTER FEATHER) green(MOSS)

green(DAY) silver(BULLET) peach(PRINCESS PIT FUZZ) (VILLAGE)green

green(SOYLENT) silver(LINING) peach(ORCHARD EMOJI JAM) green(GOBLIN)

green(SALAD) silver(SPOON SURFER GERMAN TONGUED) green(GABLES)

red(RUM HERRING) silver(CORD HAKE MARROW) red(ROOSTER)

red(BULL SOIL BARON ZONE VENETIAN VELVET)

red(SOX CROSS SNAPPER TAPE SONJA ALERT)

white(LIGHTNING) black(DEATH) gold(COAST FOOLS) black(PUDDING) white(ELEPHANT)

peach(MELBA) red(OCTOBER PANDA LOBSTER SEEING) peach(PIE)

We put these into:

A 6x11 image, and colour each pixel with the appropriate colour, and there he is

I'm not sure about the 13 word message yet, I'm guessing it has to do with:

The words other than merry and Christmas in the morse code, which serve as delimiters, but might hold another meaning as well.

PS: I'm doing all this on my phone so formatting might be a bit off

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You've successfully found the image! You did manage to catch me out on two spelling mistakes I made while writing it all out - I've corrected those in my latest edit so you should hopefully be able to fix up your confusion. Good luck on finding the message hidden within! $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2022 at 11:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Excellent find on the rot13(pbybhe cnvevatf), by the way. That's what BG and I were missing... $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 25, 2022 at 23:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks :) I'm not sure if I'll get time to look at this again soon, I think you should go ahead and post an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Chengarda
    Dec 26, 2022 at 12:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan I had some ideas for the message but never actually found it! You might be the only one whos found it so far $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2022 at 15:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hmm, OK. Posted an answer explaining the 13-word message. (For some reason I said "13-letter" above. Obviously I meant "13-word".) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 27, 2022 at 16:14
11
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(This deals only with the 13-word message; see Chengarda's answer for the other part, which I think involves more cleverness.)

So the key point is that

it is not only the words "Merry" and "Christmas" that are significant. If you do what I did, and number all the words from "Merry Christmas and a happy New Year" from 0..6, then you get (ignoring the bits at the start)
0110 0 0146 1 0000 001 11 10005 010 0 0001 111 0100 001 1 00 111 102 01 0100 0 010 1345 000 1101 001 01 010 0235 101 10 001 1010 101 0100 0236 0010 0100 01 000 000046 11 01 10 001 010 02345 0000 01 010 010 00 000 111 1024 1010 01 010 0110 0 1346 1010 0 10 124 0 11 0 010 01 0100 10036 0111 01 100 0256 0000 111 010 000 0 0002345 1010 0000 111 1010 111 0100 01 1 0345 011 01 0100 1 0 01024 0010 0 01 1 0000 0 0102346 11 111 000 0005 100 01 10112345 1000 001 0100 0100 0 12346 0110 010 00 10 1010 0 000 00036 0110 00 12345 0010 001 1100 110046 0001 00 0100 0100 01 110 024 000 111 1011 0100 0 10 12 0100 00 10 00 10 110345 111 010 1010 0000 01 010 1004 0 11 111 0111 00236 0111 01 112345 110 111 1000 0111 00 1045 000 01 0100 01 100346 000 0110 111 111 1024 000 001 010 0010 0 0104 110 0 010 11 01 106 1 111 10 110 001 0 100246 110 01 1000 0100 0 000356 010 001 11356 0000 0 010 010 00 10 11045 1010 111 010 10024 0000 01 101 0236 11 01 010 010 111 01134 010 111 111 000 1 0 0102345 1000 001 0100 010036 000 111 00 010046 1000 01 010 111 105 1100 111 10 025 0001 0 10 0 1 00 01 10236 0001 0 0100 0001 0 1256 000 111 011024 1010 010 111 000 0002 000 10 01 0110 0110 0 01036 1 01 0110 0236 000 111 10 0111 012 01 0100 0 010 14 0100 00 110 0000 1 10 00 10 110346 100 0 01 1 000024 1010 111 01 000 1345 0010 111 111 0100 00046 0110 001 100 100 00 10 11023 0 0100 0 0110 0000 01 10 12 11 0 0100 1000 0145 111 1010 1 111 1000 0 01024 0110 01 10 100 01345 0100 111 1000 000 1 0 0104 000 0 0 00 10 1102 0110 00 036
where I have put spaces where the exclamation marks are, which turns out not actually to be quite the right thing to do.

Now

interpreting 0 and 1 as Morse dot and dash, and ignoring 2..6, leads you if you are clever enough (which I wasn't) to Chengarda's answer. But what about the other digits? Well, it's notable that they always occur in the same order, suggesting that we're looking here at a set rather than a sequence. And there are five of them, which is enough to encode one letter per group by various means -- Baudot-type codes, binary, Baconian. A frequency count on the different groups that occur suggests the simplest option: binary, with what I've called 2..6 representing bits 0..4, and then 1=A..26=Z. This gives BY for the two groups in the first paragraph, and THANKSTOEVERYONEWHOWROTEANDSOLVEDPUZZLESFORTHISYEARSADVENTCALENDAR in the main message. The "BY" should presumably go with the SIX and ELEVEN, so that the first para says "SIX BY ELEVEN" -- see Chengarda's answer for why this is useful. And the rest is our 13-word message: "Thanks to everyone who wrote and solved puzzles for this year's Advent Calendar!".

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  • $\begingroup$ "Merry merry merry! Merry merry! Christmas merry merry Christmas a! Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2022. Merry! Merry Christmas merry merry! Merry! Merry merry merry Christmas! Merry! Christmas Merry and New Year! bounty worth 200 reputation." instead of "This puzzle is part of the Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2022. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth {X} reputation." That's a good reason to split the bounty ;-) $\endgroup$
    – ACB
    Dec 27, 2022 at 17:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Heh. I don't have very strong feelings on what should be accepted or bountied on this one. It feems to me as if the thing Chengarda saw and I didn't was the trickiest and cleverest thing in the puzzle, and it was certainly chronologically the last bit to get solved, so I'd lean toward giving Chengarda the coveted green checkmark and most or all of the bounty? Maybe? But I don't think any of the possible outcomes is really indefensible. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 27, 2022 at 18:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (To clarify: Not chronologically the last thing to have a solution posted, but the last thing to actually be solved.) And, er, I have already forgotten whether the thing that came out as "feems" in my previous comment was meant to be "feels" or "seems" so I'll leave it as it is :-). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 27, 2022 at 18:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wow, that was more complicated than I thought! I'm not fussed about the tick or the bounty, I feel like this was just as tricky as the part I solved :) $\endgroup$
    – Chengarda
    Dec 27, 2022 at 21:01

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