An oracle proclaims an ominous message:

Calling for help, something is not right
Justice strikes them down, all in one night
Cry havoc, no one will be left
Run to your homes, downcast and bereft
Kneeling and standing up, one disappears without a trace
In that year this disaster will take place

What year is the oracle talking about?


Each line (except for the last one) contains three elements. The year does not have thousands of digits.


For each line (except for the last one), you just have to start at the beginning and follow the instructions.

  • $\begingroup$ Just to be clear, does "thousands of digits" mean (1) literally thousands of digits, (2) more digits than one would reasonably expect, or (3) a thousands digit? (Perhaps you intended the ambiguity, in which case fair enough.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    May 17, 2016 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan It was in response to paste's comment and a bit joking, but it means that the year doesn't contain more digits than you would reasonably expect (and therefore it also doesn't consist of literally thousands of digits) $\endgroup$
    – Wu33o
    May 17, 2016 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ OK, thanks. (That was my guess at what you meant, for what it's worth.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    May 17, 2016 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ I like this puzzle. Short, clear, and has an "Aha!" solution. $\endgroup$ Jun 6, 2016 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ @DanRussell Tnx! It took some time to get everything in a short riddle without the solution being too obvious, and I'm glad you like it :) $\endgroup$
    – Wu33o
    Jun 7, 2016 at 10:19

3 Answers 3


The three elements in each line are:

The capital letter, a number, and a direction.

If we combine these by

starting at the letter on a QWERTY keyboard, moving in the direction for the number of keys indicated

we get

MMXVI, or 2016.

  • $\begingroup$ Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, yes. Couldn't figure out that third element. Nicely done. $\endgroup$ Jun 6, 2016 at 14:10

Partial answer:

Each line except the last has a direction in it. Starting with the first, they are right, down, left, down, up. It's possible that the first one is not right, though.
Each line also contains a number word or a homophone thereof. Starting at the top we have for, one, one, to, one = 41121 (credit to @f'' for pointing out the for and to)

Possible answer:

If we match these directions to number on a numpad, we get 62428

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are a lot more possible numeric associations too. "Calling for help" = 911, "one" appears three times. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2016 at 20:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And on a keyboard there's a 7 on the "HOME" button (well, usually) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    May 12, 2016 at 21:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ At this rate, the year will have thousands of digits by the time we're done. $\endgroup$
    – paste
    May 12, 2016 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ Your possible answer is not correct, but you are on the right track. Maybe the hint can help. $\endgroup$
    – Wu33o
    May 17, 2016 at 9:23

Here is a wild guess:


And here is my reasoning:

None of these lines are more then nine words long. So we can't have a 6-digit year. I took the place of the word and counted each word until I stopped at the direction word.

Special case for the fourth line:

It it in the word downcast.


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