Find the hidden message.

You may need a little help to get this message: :)

cheat sheet


You may need to fill in parts of the songs "Who let the dogs out?" and "What does the fox say?"

PS: I have used https://composing.studio with ABC-notation to create this piece of music. You can find my source here (and you can even play it :)). However, this is a public site, please don't change the source code, cause it will change for everyone.


1 Answer 1


The first thing I noticed was

the icons in the rows of the given boxes. The first is clearly indicating "flat", then we have "apple", five blanks, and "grape"... and the last one seems like "knife", but it also could be something like "sharp".

That means the rows could be "♭, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, ♯"! So each row is (part of) a music note, then.

Okay, but what about the columns? Well, that's a speedometer, so it's reasonable to assume that it's measuring how fast the notes are played - their length.

So, the grid suggests to me that

each "type" of note - based on length and letter - will fill one box. (Plus a separate box for flat and sharp notes, which may reuse information - I'm not sure just yet.)

blank grid, rows and cols relabelled
It seems like it's probably a good idea to go slowest-to-fastest rather than shortest-to-longest, because the column header clues 'speed' rather than 'duration'... but just to double-check, the correct black notes are indeed missing. (That is, there are no whole or half note Cs, but there are quarter, eighth, and sixteenth- note Cs.)
grid with note counts
And this does tell me that I shouldn't use flat and sharp notes as their note values, but just as 'flat' and 'sharp': otherwise, some of the black cells would be 'hit'.

After this, I consider some of the properties of the grid:

- There are extra 'sharp' and 'flat' rows, which is musically unnatural but would make sense if necessary to make a 9-word message.
- Some cells are black, but not all unoccupied cells are. This means something should probably be filled into the unoccupied cells, even though it's not directly given by the word.

So I want to fill in a word in each row of the grid. The colored cells probably represent repeated letters, with gray-green-red being THE (or maybe FOR, or some other common word). Time to solve this as a cryptogram!

Now for some decoding. (I've cut out some false paths and several trips to Qat and quipqiup.)

message 1
Let's start with the assumption of THE. It's unlikely that the barlines correspond to spaces (the top-right one only yields UNWEDDEDLY for a single-word option) - I'll have to figure out word divisions myself.

There's an E__E_pattern in the top row with all of those blanks being the same letter, [d5]. That's probably either S or D, which means it's the end of a word.

Next after that is a TH_T... pattern, and I know the blank is not an E. The most sensible option there is an A, then, making the word THAT.
message 2
Okay, now what comes next? There's _H__H... there aren't any 3-or-4-letter words that I really like, and with 5 or more letters the only plausible option is WHICH. I like "...THAT WHICH..." as part of the message!
message 3
With a bit more work, I get a few more letters, until I look back over at the left grid and facepalm. It's just "THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG"! final message
(In retrospect, I could've noticed this by counting things - under my assumption that colored cells are the same letter, that would give 26 distinct letters, and that number would immediately set off alarm bells.)

And now, the actual message can be read off:

This is a quote by Victor Hugo, explaining the composer "Hugh Viceroy"'s name.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (I saw the hint, but it didn't actually help me - it instead briefly led me down a rabbit hole of considering "Mo-o-o-o-o-o-rse".) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented May 17 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ +1 good puzzle and great explanation! $\endgroup$
    – dhuang
    Commented May 17 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Very good @Deusovi! Great to read the explanation and your thoughts throughout this puzzle. 100% correct. And excuse me for the typo in "impossible", apparently it was impossible to get that word right :) $\endgroup$
    – Lezzup
    Commented May 17 at 21:07

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