After the flight, I returned to my flat, 221b, Baker Street. I knew that Moriarty was at my place. There were some muddy footprints outside my room. But not just a single person, 2 or 3 people.

I opened the door and said "Hello Moriarty!".

The reply came from Moriarty who was sitting on the chair, "It has been so long Sherlock. A year maybe."

"Any reason for this sudden meet?" I asked.

"Yes. We need to end this."

"I thought you were having fun."

"Yes. I was having fun. I have something else to do now."

"What's that?"

"We'll talk about it at my place. I'll meet you there."

Then as Moriarty left the place from that opened door, I saw a stain of blood on his shirt sleeve. Who did it belong to? Was he on a killing spree, again? I closed the door after he left. While thinking about it, I saw two notes on the table.

The first said:

I won't be in the city for few days. Please take care of yourself.

-Mrs. Hudson

And the second (which looked more like a letter) was:

The door of your flat is locked. You can open it though, by entering a word in the machine near it. But you need to solve something for that word. I have sent you a picture. Look at it. Solve it using the five basic elements of life. Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space. Find Answer To Enter the Door.

What? These elements don't really fit in that. Use the languages, Sherlock.


Now I knew about those footprints of multiple people. They belonged to the people who fit that thing on my door.

I got his message after a few seconds.

enter image description here

Huh? There are no numbers. Only the clues in his note. And where are the "languages"? What is the word that I am supposed to feed in to the machine to get out of the flat?


Moriarty has sent me a message. He's probably tired of waiting. The message is:

Can't you see that image clearly?

  • $\begingroup$ So what was the answer? The accepted answer has multiple options with no reason to favor one over the other. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2016 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkPeters Let's leave it to Sherlock. If not in first then maybe he'll get the word in second try. The puzzle is not about the answer. It's about the method of solving it. $\endgroup$
    – manshu
    May 16, 2016 at 19:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ But the puzzle is not solved if the answer is not known. For the two candidates proposed, there is no specific hint from the puzzle which can tell you which one is more plausible. You can incorporate some directions (not hints) in your puzzle so that one answer is clearer than the other, or that we are going to the right direction. It might be the case that neither of the two answers are correct, then how could we consider it to be solved? =) $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    May 17, 2016 at 7:16
  • $\begingroup$ @justhalf I have added something in the question. I hope it will help. $\endgroup$
    – manshu
    May 17, 2016 at 7:22
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkPeters ^^^ $\endgroup$
    – manshu
    May 17, 2016 at 7:22

2 Answers 2


Here is the crossword filled in:

Original Image with a color change yields this:

enter image description here

Then with words added you get this (unfiltered): enter image description here

How I arrived at those languages:

If you zoom into the image (or change the colors) you can see the languages Welsh, Esperantu, Albanian, Spanish, and Frisian. Translating Earth, Wind, Fire, Air, Space into the language that corresponds to the Language with the same first letter yields the crossword
Espacio -> Spanish for space
Tero -> Esperantu for Earth
Dwr -> Welsh for water
Ajror -> Albanian for Air
Fjoer -> Frisian for Fire

Possible Answers:

Fated -> first letter of each word anagrammed (pointed out by @f'')
Oreo -> The four intersections of the words spell out Orea (pointed out by @Chris Cudmore)


Moriarty wrote in the letter that "Find Answer To Enter the Door". The capital letters are FATED. So it is the word.

  • $\begingroup$ Is there a method to which languages you used, or did you just find a translation for each one where they all fit? $\endgroup$ May 16, 2016 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkPeters I added an explanation $\endgroup$ May 16, 2016 at 19:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If we look at the intersections between words, we get everyone's favourite chocolate and cream cookie. Could that be the word? $\endgroup$ May 16, 2016 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ @GordonAllocman: Ah, ok. Not really about zooming in from my perspective as it is running some image filters on it. Here's what it looks with a sharpness filter applied: i.imgur.com/abgHqt9.png. When I zoom in on the original image all I see is black still. I guess the clue from zooming in would be that it's a PNG and yet there are what look like compression artifacts. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2016 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkPeters yeah, I only noticed it when I zoomed in, sorry for the confusion $\endgroup$ May 16, 2016 at 19:32

This is not an answer but a sample commentaries on puzzle creation

Whenever I create a puzzle, I don't try to make it too complex so that more number of people can enjoy my puzzle. Same such thing happened with my this puzzle: A Letter: When Sherlock meets Moriarty. I love the Sherlock on BBC and hence decided to make a series on Mr. Holmes.

First of all, it was a continuation of another puzzle, so the plot was fixed that Moriarty had to meet Sherlock and something that must happen should happen at 221b Baker Street. So then I needed an idea. My idea was just a compilation of the ongoing Fortnightly Challenge on the tag and Khale Kitha's puzzle on crossword. And the keywords in the puzzle (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space) were something that came into my mind few days before.

So I had the idea and the start of the puzzle. Now all I needed was a story. A story that could ignite the interest of the reader/solver in the puzzle and I also had to introduce the story of sequel of this puzzle.. So I typed every sentence while keeping these fact in mind.

After the story, I thought about some of the comments that readers could post something like "Hey, why didn't Mrs. Hudson noticed that Moriarty is building a new lock at her house". So I silently took care of this highly unlikely and the only possibility (that I could think of). It also worked as some red herring (I hope).

Then I posted the puzzle. But that's not it because you don't learn before posting the puzzle, you learn after posting it, when people give their valuable reviews. So I went into the chatroom and asked for any grammatical mistakes so that I could eliminate any confusion as early as possible. Then Jonathan corrected the address.

Later I surprisingly found out about another possible answer pointed out. So I added a thing to filter out the intended answer.

So, few things to learn:

  • Learn from your mistakes.

  • Don't hesitate to ask help whenever you are unsure.

  • Don't hesitate to make small changes to your puzzle to differentiate to your intended. (This thing doesn't apply if you are gonna make big changes in your puzzle)

  • Review your puzzle atleast twice. Look for the plot holes. I actually tried to solve the puzzle twice by myself after writing the story.

  • Take some ideas from other puzzles too. But don't make that idea the only thing that exists in your puzzle.

  • Make sure that the reader reads it till the end.

I can't think of anymore things that I need to tell about my puzzle or to add in the 'things to learn' list


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