# Guardian serpent of the ancient pyramid

According to legend,
if you are pure of heart
you will be able to see
the Serpent of the Pyramid
reveal her true letters
and know her wisdom.

• Uh oh, I think I made my enigmatic puzzle too enigmatic! I have revised the wording. Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 0:16
• I appreciate you editing the puzzle to be more hinty in a thematic way, and not slapping on spoilers labelled "Hint 1" through "Hint 9".
– xnor
Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 18:24
• I can see the snake, but I cannot comprehend its infinite wisdom :( petty mortals... Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 19:37

The wisdom is:

TIME REVEALS ALL SECRETS
or more creatively LIFE REPEATS ALL LESSENS (explanation follows)

Solution Path:
Let's make the pyramid readable. There is an obvious problem:

It has too many N's (or at least way more than should be expected in a random set of words)

In fact, they are in the

shape of a serpent, so we found the serpent who holds 'true letters' of wisdom:

Therefore, it seems logical that we are to reveal her true letters. That is:

Replace the excess N's with letters that a) spell out a maxim or proverb of wisdom from left to right, and b) retain well known English words in the outlined boxes.

By looking at things like

Letter frequencies, possibilities, vowels vs consonants, etc., we can narrow down what could be an immense search space to merely a big search space. Specifically, I deduced the following restriction as highly likely:
????????[AEN][DLNT][INST]ALL?E??E[NTC][ST]
The left side is very wide open and hard to deduce much of, and the last part is also fairly broad. There may be a logical path to move forward but at this point I hit a roadblock and just started guessing 'wisdomy' words to fill in the gaps until something fit that made sense end to end.

And here is where things got crazy.

I could only find one solution to the puzzle (I was going left to right alphabetically when I found it and hadn't gotten to 'TIME'. Worse, I had ruled out 'Vise' as unlikely to be a boxed word). It's exactly the sort of maxim one would expect from a serpent, especially one who (in an original edit) repeats appearances every 1000 years:

LIFE REPEATS ALL LESSENS

But wait! you say.

LESSONS is misspelled!
Yes, I thought so too, and wouldn't think of posting this except for one insanely devious possibility. The puzzle is tagged Wordplay, and what is the one thing this puzzle absolutely needs? LESS N'S! (the letter 'N' is spelled 'en'). Had this been some other maxim like 'nothing goes according to plan', we would still be left with the question, "but why the choice of N's for the serpent?" So I suggest the spelling error might not only be intentional, but brilliant (and make for a very difficult puzzle).

Nonetheless:

@xnor has found the original intended solution: TIME REVEALS ALL SECRETS. There are a number of sentences that might fit the holes we need to fill and this one is certainly fitting to the theme, and is even spelled correctly : )

• Wow! That's a brilliant find! Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 4:47
• And yet..... there IS another proverb that fits. It differs from yours by only seven letters. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 13:31
• (BTW, why the choice of N? The letter S for serpent would be too much of a cliché. While there are probably enough Z words to make it work, a puzzle full of Z words would be too obvious. M, N, and W are nicely serpentine and are common enough to blend in without calling too much attention to themselves. At some point, you just have to choose one that works and be done with it.) Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 13:32
• How about LIFE REVEALS ALL SECRETS?
– xnor
Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 16:25
• @SlowMagic TIME?
– xnor
Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 16:31