1. I like puzzles where you find out about something interesting.

Mike Wilks

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  1. I like image editing puzzles.

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  1. I like code puzzles, where the code is not that obvious.

Pakistan Dance Omega Beans Cricket Lightswitch

  1. I like puzzles in which you have to find a hidden word in a text.

O how autuch autore doth bemy bemeous seeaut,

By that sweet ornaautent which truth doth give!

The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deeaut

For that sweet odour, which doth in it live:

The canker blooauts have full as deep a dye,

As the perfuauted tincture of the roses,

Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly,

When suautauter's breath their autasked buds discloses:

But for their virtue only is their show,

They live unwooed, and unrespected fade,

Die to theautselves. Sweet roses do not so,

Of their sweet deaths, are sweetest odours autade:

And so of you, bemeous and lovely youth,

When that shall vade, by verse distills your truth.

  1. I like puzzles related to chess in any way.

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  1. Metapuzzles!

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Hints for each puzzle:

  1. The Ultimate 26

  2. 4ier

  3. Charlie, help me with this

  4. Take it literally

  5. Movement

  6. Go down the stairs

  • $\begingroup$ Good news, Mr. @codewarrior0! We have got an image manipulation puzzle to do! $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ What's your stance on partial solutions and only partially solved parts? Your hints confirm many of my assumptions, but I still have a lot of gaps. Perhaps a partial solution should wait until everone had the opportunity to see the hints. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


Mike Wilks is the author of The Ultimate Alphabet, a book where 26 illustrations depict things starting with each of the 26 letters. The image here shows six fragments from that book:

R: When I zoom, I can see runes, perhaps written on ruins.
E: The fish are eels and the elements with atomic numbers 63 and 68 are europium and erbium.
F: A man with a fez and the Roman numbers fourteen and fifteen.
U: The flags of Uganda, the UK and the USSR are prominent and the thing in the front is an urn.
N: I can't make out any of the things in the depicted fragment, but a web search tells me that the hand is Neptune's, who wears a necktie. There are also some nude or naked, er, Nigerians perhaps in the full picture.
D: That's a Dalmatian dog. The wiki article explicitly names this as an example for an object that has several appropriate words associated with it.

We get the word REFUND.

I've followed the advice z100 had given me in comments and plugged the image into this online tool for Fourier transformation on images. Clearly, there is a word here and after adjusting the contrast, I got this:


That looks like SPUNKY to me.

This looks like a variation on the NATO phonetic alphabet and the hint confirms it.

Pakistan: India, since both are countries in South Asia. (It could also be either Hotel or Juliett, because, like Pakistan, they are next to India.)
Dance: Foxtrot and Tango are the dances in the Nato alphabet.
Omega: Alfa and Omega, the beginning and the end. (But Delta is another Greek letter in the NATO alphabet.)
Beans: Lima beans are a thing. (A Kilo of beans is also a thing when cooking for a hungry family.)
Cricket: Golf, because it's also a sport? Or India again, because they are good at it?
Lightswitch: Charlie Puth wrote a song called Light Switch. The things you learn on PSE.

Choose wisely and you get ITALIC .

That's Shakespeare's Sonnet 54, whose first line is:

  O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem

The version here has all M's replaced with AUT and vice versa. AUT = M, or in other words (well, just one word): AUTISM. Very neat.

There are a lot of arrows here, each depicting a possible move of one of six pieces on a chessboard. The picture might be clearer when these six pieces are separated:

Six partly unorthodox chess pieces

At least two of the pieces are unorthodox or fairy chess pieces, the Zebra Z and the Elephant E. (I first used another name for that piece, Alfil, but Ankoganit pointed out this better choice in a comment.)

Taking the zero for the castling notation 0-0 or 0-0-0 as the letter O, the letters can be anagrammed to BRONZE.

Let's fill in the answers:

Stepping down ...

The overall answer is found by taking two adjacent letters of each word, each time staring one more place to the right, thereby forming the "stairs" mentioned in the hint: REPUTATION.

I didn't see that answer until Ankoganit pointed out the solution of the chess puzzle and how to read the answer in the final grid. Thanks!

  • $\begingroup$ The fact that the arrow for the knight isn't straight is likely an artifact of the chess.com editor (which seems to have been used here). $\endgroup$
    – Ankoganit
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ For no.2 use one of online Fouriere transformation apps. $\endgroup$
    – z100
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, you two, for your useful comments. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 6:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ V guvax gur nafjre gb 5 zvtug or oebamr (B sbe pnfgyvat, R sbe ryrcunag), znxvat gur svany nafjre erchgngvba (fgnegvat ng gur gbc yrsg pbeare naq tbvat evtug naq qbja nygreangryl). $\endgroup$
    – Ankoganit
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 8:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh, that's brilliant, @Ankoganit! Why didn't I see that? (Well, I know why: My supposedly clever colouring made the actual answer harder to see. And I also was kind of fixated on another solution, because I didn't see what the arrows meant.) Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 8:25

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