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This is part 54 of the puzzle series Around the World in Many Days. Each part is solvable on its own.


mqoı ugw7qж ,

zqv qw o h6ım v6ınɔ ugwo7 | zo 78վn £þxm εıqm conxnøqxw v8կox h6ımw , დnɔ þn 7დvn vqcv vqψաo7w 7dж , hqnɔ ფ7 £þկ o vqxoxqψ qx cdψox | qվ տp xდm £87u , zo vqxoxqψ h6ım qw վფı vqψաo7w 7dж þxm cþx ფ7vφb աდ վთbxm vgψh8oı qx zo εıqm |

hgxv տp £þկ თqm8xnoվთqm zo v8կox h6ımw qx vn8u hgx , vnıთqc თbn zφbw h6ımw þxm u7øqv zo ıoψøqxqж 78noıw qxnp zo vψფ7oı εıqm dx zo ıთqn | վთqxm ფ7 qxvnoxvqw oկ zo cdψox vqxoxqψ վıdψ աoվფı qx zqv vψფ7oı εıqm | zo ıoψøqxqж 78noıw vu87 თbn zo վთqxo7 þxvoı |

վox8nqc vu87qжw თı աøqvn dx თq uდ øq վფı ovnıøq7տox qжε7qɔ | £თb8կoı , vq7oաo7 վთqxo7 თıw £þկ աდx þmqm np ψøqc qn დwდoı վფı თboı ıφbnqc vuდcqж վı8xmw oıთbxm zo ε7φbա |

nomøq თq £þկ nøqcox ox 67დ ψფıxqж mთqկ nıqu np vდ o կ8ıდ uduտo7oı ɔquı8c vთqn | cþx տp ε8v h8oı თq þψ ?

7gկ , ε7þmqv |

Message in picture format

Word search grid


Gladys will return in Mercury in Centigrade.

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  • $\begingroup$ It has been just like a snorkel to me. $\endgroup$
    – Beefster
    Commented Feb 23 at 23:54

1 Answer 1

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Gladys is visiting...

The USAT Liberty shipwreck (off the coast of Bali)

"mqoı ugw7qж" means...

"Dear Puzzling", and "7gկ , ε7þmqv" means "Love, Gladys". I looked at the previous puzzles to find that notes from Gladys have this stereotyped phrasing. By assuming these words I learned that this is a phonetic substitution cipher, where each symbol stands for a sound instead of a letter. The next words I assumed were "word" and "search", followed by "puzzle", and the rest of the letter completed itself.

mqoı ugw7qж ,
diər puzliŋ ,

zqv qw o h6ım v6ınɔ ugwo7 | zo 78վn £þxm εıqm conxnøqxw v8կox h6ımw , [...]
·is iz ə ··rd s·r·· puzəl . ·ə l··· ·a·d grid ·ə····i·z s·və· ··rdz , [...]

7gկ , ε7þmqv |
luv , gladis .

The letter reads (in English),

Dear Puzzling,

This is a word search puzzle. The left hand grid contains seven words, each at least six symbols long, which all have a synonym in common. If you need help, the synonym word is four symbols long and can also be found somewhere in the grid.

Once you have identified the seven words in step one, strike out those words and place the remaining letters into the smaller grid on the right. Find all instances of the common synonym from before in this smaller grid. The remaining letters spell out the final answer.

Phonetic spellings are based on IPA for Australian English. However, syllable-final R's have been added to make it easier for our rhotic-speaking friends around the globe.

Today I have taken an early morning dive trip to see a very popular shipwreck sight. Can you guess where I am?

Following the directions...

To solve the first word search, I will need to use the substitution key I recovered after deciphering the letter. I have only partly used IPA conventions for the substituted symbols, but it should be good enough for me to find words. (Phonetic ciphers tend to vary from speaker to speaker as each one has their own dialect, their own personal way of speaking, and even their own opinions on which sounds are the same sound and which are different. Vowels tend to vary wildly while consonants are much more reliable.) The key and the substituted grid are here: First word search, substituted

There are an abundance of letters from kors here. Because the directions tell me to remove several copies of a word later on, that word is probably spoken with these sounds. The first word I find in the word search is across a diagonal: CONTRADICT. The second word is CRUCIFIX; the synonym must be CROSS. The other cross-words are TRAVERSE, HYBRID, BETRAY, INTERSECT, and IRRITABLE. I transfer the remaining letters to the second grid. First word search completed, second grid filled

I cross off (not strike out) all of the crosses and find "yu es AI tE lIbərtE", which sounds like USAT Liberty, a very popular shipwreck sight (and site). Second word search completed

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