A friend of mine is an artist, and painted this for me. She told me that "there's more than meets the eye," whatever that could mean. I suppose it makes for a nice painting, though.

A fox leaping over a dog

What am I?


I posted this on PSE because it was just two cryptic for me to solve.

Hint 2:

The clue Hexomino deciphered is not a red herring. It's a necessary part of the puzzle.

Hint 3:

The entire decoded message acts as a single cryptic clue.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ rot13 Lbh'er gur nycunorg ;) $\endgroup$ May 23, 2023 at 13:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ rot13 - Ybbxf yvxr n cnatenz gb zr.. ;-) $\endgroup$
    – toybaer
    May 23, 2023 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ rot13 - Vf vg fnsr gb nffhzr gung gur frpbaq uvqqra grkg gung pna or eryriryrq jvgu fbzr vzntr znavchyngvba ("Gur dhvpx oebja sbk"...) vf whfg na negvsnpg bs ubj lbh cebqhprq gur vzntr? $\endgroup$
    – DBS
    May 24, 2023 at 9:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DBS Hexomino has discovered all that is needed to finish the puzzle. $\endgroup$ May 24, 2023 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


Hexomino has solved the code and PDT has revived the question by trying to solve the resulting plaintext.

Based on recent hints and on a comment by the OP, I think the overall answer is:


The decoded phrase "Basic substitution, for beginners? Fat chance" is a cryptic clue. The last hint confinrms that and also tells us the enumeration: (2).

The wordplay is "basic substitution, for beginners" and tells us to take the "beginners" of B(asic) S(ubstitution). The definition is "Fat chance", which, like BS, can be used on its own to mean: No, that's nonsense.

  • $\begingroup$ In fact, if you look at hint #1, you'll see that rot13("gjb pelcgvp" jnf zrnag gb vaqvpngr gur fbyhgvba erdhverq fbyivat n pelcgvp pyhr jvgu na nafjre yratgu bs gjb). $\endgroup$ Jan 25 at 17:59

Partial answer

First Step

Write out the pangram associated to the picture.

Second step

Remove any letter that appears for a second time or more.

Third step

Associate each letter in the above sequence to the corresponding letter of the alphabet that appears in that position to create a substitution cipher, so $$T \rightarrow A, H \rightarrow B, E \rightarrow C, Q \rightarrow D,\ldots $$

Fourth step

Use this cipher to decrypt the faded text in the image
Htsbe slhsvbvlvbxf, ixp hucbffups? Itv ektfeu
Basic substitution, for beginners? Fat chance

At this point, given the message, I may have hit a red herring but it might start others in the right direction.
My guess is that

We must decrypt the same text but using a different cipher.

  • $\begingroup$ I guess Rot13(Znl or gurl ner gjb frcnengr pyhrf. 1. Onfvp fhofgvghgvba sbe ortvaaref? 2. Sng punapr.) $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    May 23, 2023 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Techidiot yes, you are probably right given the hint. Although I'm not sure on the answer to either currently $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    May 24, 2023 at 8:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The hint makes me think rot13(gung vg'f n pelcgvp pebffjbeq glcr pyhr. Gur BC unf znqr chmmyrf srnghevat gurz orsber.) $\endgroup$
    – JGibbers
    May 24, 2023 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ interesting. By the way, rot13(gur cnatenz vf rira vapyhqrq nf grkg va gur vzntr vs lbh hc gur pbagenfg. ) $\endgroup$ May 24, 2023 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ Haha, I am a complete beginner and got the same answer without your hints. Found the same red herring :-) $\endgroup$
    – Ute
    May 24, 2023 at 20:48

A little edit: Building from Hexomino’s answer, you are

GL(short for good luck)!


The final message ‘Basic substitution, for beginners? Fat chance’ is a cryptic clue.

Ok so doing some research I found that GLbasic is a programming language. So how does this make us reinterpret the cryptic clue well I think the op meant something like __Basic, substitution for beginner’s fat chance. ‘Beginners fat chance’ refers to Good Luck and its substitution is GL. This then makes GLbasic?

The title:

I think it is just hinting to the fact that the pangram under the encoded message is only visible with some editing done to the picture.

  • $\begingroup$ That's very close, but not quite! I added a third hint to the post. $\endgroup$ Jan 11 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ How about rot13(onq yhpx, qhr gb gur 13 sebz ebg-13 orvat pbafvqrerq hayhpxl; 'onq yhpx' naq 'sng punapr' ner flabalzf...)? $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jan 11 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ @PDT Almost! rot13(Gur nafjre jvyy or gjb yrggref ybat). $\endgroup$ Jan 11 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ Did I get it right now I edited it 12 hours ago? $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Jan 12 at 5:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PDT: Blue Herring is from Mars; answers may take a while. Anyway, rot13(gur bayl unys-ernfbanoyr gjb-yrggre nafjre V pna znxr sebz gur pelcgvp vf OF: O(nfvp) F(hafgvghgvba) sbe ortvaaref. Gur qrs vf "sng punapr" nf va: "Vf gur nafjre gb guvf Yhgrgvhz? OF/Sng punapr". V'z abg fhcre pbaivprq. Jul jbhyq nalbar znxr fhpu na rynobengr cnvagvat sbe gung? Naq jurer'f gur pbarpgvba gb "zber guna zrrgf gur rlr?"). $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jan 12 at 5:49

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