I was given the following number by an analyst for the government.

He is a bit of a riddle buff and figures he should make my pursuit of a certain disturbance in my production line a game. He says that the number represents a phrase. A phrase said twice, once by a person of interest and the other time to. He also says, if I can figure out the phrase he will tell me who the person was talking to each time.


Hint 1: He has put a timer on the game.... But he may have given us a hint along with it.

20 minutes down, 47 to go. There may be a twist in the number but you may never know.

Hint 2: Oh no 40 minutes down.

Time ticks down and with it the sun. Soon the man transforms and our communication must stop.

Hint 3: Oh no 57 minutes down.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock. The person of interest died in two but the disturbance "survived" three. While the original speaker was only there for one.

Hint 4: The last hint. Contains the second time the phrase was captured. Also encrypted.


Hint 5:

Time is up. No more hints shall be given but communication may be reopened when he no longer flutters about.

Hint 6:

For the cryptography buff, you only need the number, Hint 1 and 4.
For the movie buff, you only need Hint 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Hint 7: Alright boys and girls, my contact has reached out again. He insists the hints are enough to solve the phrase but leaves us with this.

You may hunt the man but to find him you have to use the clues better than he.
O and for the number crunchers n%t=0.
These clues are already too much and I have left myself too open. No more contact until an answer is seen.

No Points Cryptographer Bonus: Do you know who the "certain disturbance in my production line" is?

  • $\begingroup$ Are there supposed to be some end of lines in your question ? If so, add 2 spaces after each end of line. $\endgroup$ May 11, 2016 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ Just an observation: every 2 digit number appears here except for 00 and 40. $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    May 11, 2016 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ @KoA including the hint ones? $\endgroup$ May 11, 2016 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Peanut no, I posted that before the post was updated. This only applies to the big chunk of numbers at the top $\endgroup$
    – KoA
    May 11, 2016 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ @KoA I checked, and there are four instances of 40 and none for 00. $\endgroup$ May 11, 2016 at 22:21

2 Answers 2


I'm going to tackle this from the movie side

From the initial story:

I gather that we are looking for a vigilante or cop, leaning towards vigilante but I'll get to that, because of the disruption in the pipeline comment
Our vigilante said the phrase once and then the phrase was repeated to him, or vice versa.

From Hint 1:

The phrase may have been said at 67 minutes in the movie, or hassomething to do with 67 as this is a weird number for the timer.

From Hint 2:

This is where my vigilante theory comes from, I say vigilante because they normally patrol at night. And the clue says the sun goes down and the man comes out.

From Hint 3:

Possibly a trilogy, where the POI dies in the second but wasn't in it.

From Hint 5:

Flutters about... A vigilante that flies around at night, may be actually flying.


We are looking for a phrase uttered by a flying vigilante in a trilogy, to someone that dies in the second but was not in it.

  • $\begingroup$ Your answer and the hints definitely make me think of Rachel's death scene in Dark Knight. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2016 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe... But what's the phrase, my good man? $\endgroup$ May 17, 2016 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ I'm guessing it's (rot13)"Lbh rvgure qvr n ureb, be lbh yvir ybat rabhtu gb frr lbhefrys orpbzr gur ivyynva". $\endgroup$
    – DylanSp
    May 17, 2016 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ I also think that "the original speaker was only there for one" might refer to Rachel's recasting between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. $\endgroup$
    – DylanSp
    May 17, 2016 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry @DylanSp, that is not the phrase. I like where your head's at though. $\endgroup$ May 17, 2016 at 20:06


From Batman Begins:

It's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you.

Cipher method:

Replace each letter of the plaintext with its ASCII value. Subtract 32 from the value, then reverse the order of the digits. Insert six more arbitrary digits, two before, two in between, and two after. The result will have eight digits for each letter of the plaintext.

Char   ASCII    ASCII-32   Reversed    Padding     Padded
I      73       41         14          xx1xx4xx    12134456

Solve path:

Identify that the cipher has a period of 8 using the periodic Index of Coincidence. Alternately, assume from Hint #1 that the length of the plaintext is 67, which divides evenly into the length of the ciphertext (538) to yield a factor of 8. Write the cipher on a width of 8. Since Hint #4 provides us with a second ciphertext for the same plaintext (an "isolog" in the old days), write both of them one above the other. Note that the digits in the third and sixth positions are always the same in both ciphers.

  |  |
  |  |
  |  |
  |  |
  |  |

Extract only the third and sixth digits from each group of 8.

14 48 70 38 00 87 97 48 00 78 27 97 00 98 97 58 00
56 28 96 00 58 87 86 96 28 87 96 56 48 27 21 00 37
48 70 38 00 78 27 56 48 00 98 97 58 00 86 97 00 48
27 56 48 00 86 96 07 37 87 96 38 00 98 97 58 41

The 00 group is frequent enough and in the right places to be a word space. Solve as a simple substitution to recover the plaintext and this key:

   '  ,  .  I  a  d  e  f  h  i  n  o  r  s  t  u  w  y
00 70 21 41 14 56 86 96 07 27 37 87 97 28 38 48 58 78 98

Notice the ascending sequence 28 38 48 58 below rstu and reverse the digits, recognize 65 = a as 32 less than the ASCII value for lowercase a (97), and decipher again with this formula to confirm the key.


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