5
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ONE DAY, YOU WERE SCROLLING ON YOUR PHONE WHEN, YOUR MOM TEXTED YOU. READ THE STRING OF TEXTS:


MOM: Hi honey! On the counter, I have put a list for you to do. But, keep in mind that one step is missing. This list might not be what you think, but, remember to trust your guts and I have faith that you'll figure it out in the end.

YOU: What does that even mean?

MOM: You'll soon know.

YOU: Okay? But, why don't you just keep the step in there so I don't have to figure it out.

YOU: Mom?

YOU: Are you there?

ALL OF A SUDDEN, A LOUD BANGING SOUND COMES FROM THE KITCHEN. "MOM! IS THAT YOU?!" BUT, WHEN YOU GET TO THE KITCHEN ALL YOU SEE IS A PAPER NEATLY FOLDED ON THE COUNTER LABELED, 'LIST'. YOU UNFOLD THE PAPER AND COMPLETE THE LIST STARTING WITH NUMBER ONE.


LIST:

  1. ANQM HM SGD T.R. (16)
  2. YPC WMS QSPC RFGQ GQ Y EMMB GBCY? (12)
  3. X JLKPQBO. (7)
  4. BNEHHU. (4)
  5. VNNZHWGDIB OCZ WPIF. (12)

This one was described weirdly, so, I changed it.

  1. IB, NBUN GUEYM MYHMY! (7)
  2. ZXM KXOXGZX HG ABF. (10)
  3. ESMJG ESCWK EW KWDX-UGFKUAGMK. (18)

ESMJG isn't meant to be a person. This one doesn't make that much sense, but, it's pretty simple.

  1. R XIZVMRETV. (9)
  2. WEET BEEAI CUQD DEJXYDW. (16)
  3. P NDJCV STHXGT. (12)

WHAT DO THE STEPS MEAN? AND WHAT IS THE MISSING ONE?

There should be 12 steps, but, one's missing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just so you know... the title isn't meant to be mean or to draw people in. I hope it makes sense when you solve it! $\endgroup$ Mar 19 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ The one you said was described weirdly and changed was the only one I understood. Besides 7. $\endgroup$
    – MacGyver88
    Mar 20 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah.. sorry, I'm very new to this stuff. It's hard to give clues without giving it away :D $\endgroup$ Mar 20 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ And.. how'd you get 7? $\endgroup$ Mar 20 at 20:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ rot13(Vg'f abg nyy whfg flabalzf. Fbzr ner ernyyl pybfr gb flabalzf gubhtu.) $\endgroup$ Mar 21 at 16:02

2 Answers 2

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You probably don't have the courage to solve this:

What you need is Guts - an album by Olivia Rodrigo

Why?

As others spotted very quickly, each item in the list is a simple Caesar shift cipher (shifted by the number of the clue).

Deciphering them gives us some crossword-style clues, the answers to which are tracks from the album:

  1. ANQM HM SGD T.R. (16)

BORN IN THE U.S.
All-American Bitch

  1. YPC WMS QSPC RFGQ GQ Y EMMB GBCY? (12)

ARE YOU SURE THIS IS A GOOD IDEA?
Bad Idea Right?

  1. X JLKPQBO. (7)

A MONSTER.
Vampire

  1. BNEHHU. (4)

FRILLY.
Lacy

Missing item here.
Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl

  1. VNNZHWGDIB OCZ WPIF. (12)
    (was WPDGYDIB V KGVXZ AJM TJPM AGJRZMN)

ASSEMBLING THE BUNK or BUILDING A PLACE FOR YOUR FLOWERS
Making the Bed

  1. IB, NBUN GUEYM MYHMY! (7)

OH, THAT MAKES SENSE!
Logical

  1. ZXM KXOXGZX HG ABF. (10)

GET REVENGE ON HIM.
Get Him Back!

  1. ESMJG ESCWK EW KWDX-UGFKUAGMK. (18)

MAURO MAKES ME SELF-CONSCIOUS.
Love Is Embarrassing

  1. R XIZVMRETV. (9)

A GRIEVANCE.
The Grudge

  1. WEET BEEAI CUQD DEJXYDW. (16)

GOOD LOOKS MEAN NOTHING.
Pretty Isn't Pretty

  1. P NDJCV STHXGT. (12)

A YOUNG DESIRE.
Teenage Dream

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  • $\begingroup$ Well found. Clearly at some point you sussed what was going on and were able to make all the necessary associations to get to the source material - what was that moment for you? What was your 'in' for that part? (Just curious to know, thanks!) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Apr 26 at 12:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ... Rot13("Thgf" va Zbz'f svefg grkg, juvpu fgbbq bhg orpnhfr vg jbexrq jvgu gur dhrfgvba gvgyr, (naq ghearq bhg gb or gur svany nafjre), juvpu nybat jvgu "znxvat gur orq" naq "ynpl" jnf rabhtu gb unir gur pbeerpg nafjre ng gur gbc bs zl frnepu erfhygf.) $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Apr 26 at 13:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good answer! A minor criticism of this puzzle if I may. I think this puzzle relies too heavily on a lucky google search or being familiar with a niche topic to give the whole thing away as opposed to one or a series of perspicacious insights that one has to infer hidden within the puzzle that you either don’t need google and/or can’t use google for. The clues and their answers without google as an oracle don’t actually make the answers self affirming in the slightest especially in their original state. Tldr- all you need is one lucky search and it’s trivial otherwise it’s impossible. $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Apr 26 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ That does not make for a good puzzle imho. But please don’t take it the wrong way I just want to help 😃. $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Apr 26 at 14:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also why the use of the Caesar cipher? What is the point of it? It certainly doesn’t add any difficulty to the puzzle, what’s its relation to the subsequent steps leading to or the final answer itself, it just seems a little unnecessary imo? $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Apr 26 at 14:30
1
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Partial answer:

If you encode (not decode) the lines using the caeser cipher with the key being the corresponding number (e.g. 1st task: key = 1, 2nd task: key = 2, etc.) then you get:
ANQM HM SGD T.R. -> BORN IN THE U.S.
YPC WMS QSPC RFGQ GQ Y EMMB GBCY? -> ARE YOU SURE THIS IS A GOOD IDEA?
X JLKPQBO. -> A MONSTER.
BNEHHU. -> FRILLY.
WPDGYDIB V KGVXZ AJM TJPM AGJRZMN. -> BUILDING A PLACE FOR YOUR FLOWERS.
IB, NBUN GUEYM MYHMY! -> OH, THAT MAKES SENSE!
ZXM KXOXGZX HG ABF. -> GET REVENGE ON HIM.
ESMJG ESCWK EW KWDX-UGFKUAGMK. -> MAURO MAKES ME SELF-CONSCIOUS.
R XIZVMRETV. -> A GRIEVANCE.
WEET BEEAI CUQD DEJXYDW. -> GOOD LOOKS MEAN NOTHING.
P NDJCV STHXGT. -> A YOUNG DESIRE.

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3
  • $\begingroup$ Or you could decode with rot(number of task).That's how intended it to happen. $\endgroup$ Mar 15 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ But, yes you're getting closer. $\endgroup$ Mar 15 at 21:05
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Technically, the "rot" in "rot13" implies the method is symmetrical. Encoding and decoding rot13 are the same operation, which is its own inverse. Likewise for rot47 and rot8000. But when you use shifts other than 13 for a Caesar cipher and call it "rot", you start to get into disagreements about whether you're encrypting or decrypting and whether "encrypt with a shift of 1" and "decrypt with a shift of 25" are distinct operations. $\endgroup$ Mar 16 at 4:04

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