Mr. Hilbert had enjoyed stargazing ever since he became friends with Mr. Beckley. So imagine his excitement when he saw an exceptionally bright comet trail in the sky one evening, as he was stargazing at the observatory conveniently located just behind the Grand Hotel.

Now further imagine his surprise when he realized that the comet was heading towards him, and shortly thereafter crashlanded a few hundred meters away! It turned out to be a weird ceramic sphere, slightly shimmering in the moonlight.

A depression of the button on the top by a curious Mr. Hilbert opened up the sphere to reveal this message inside:

The message from outer space

"?!?!" said Mr. Hilbert.

Can you decipher the message from outer space?


Why is there a "wordplay" tag?

  • $\begingroup$ How does one say "?!?!", I wonder? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


Extraterrestial greetings from Alpha Centauri. We come in peace

How I got it:

Try and see the white letters on a grey background, easier if you fill in the extra whitespace. enter image description here

And as to how I figured that out, here's the classic that came to mind

enter image description here

As for why the 'worldplay' tag:

With a little help from the comments below: 'outer space' (the ongoing puzzle theme) is what is shown: by removing the bands between the lines, you only see the space between the letters rather then the letters.

  • $\begingroup$ WOW... and i started to count these symbols :-) $\endgroup$
    – Wa Kai
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 10:57
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ So... Why IS there a wordplay tag? $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @LeppyR64 I'll award the green tick once Tim figures it out =) $\endgroup$
    – Hackiisan
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 16:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Actually, it appears to be "extraterrestial" greetings - it's missing the last R. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 18:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Outer Space" refers to the "negative space" effect used to create the cipher in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 3:40

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