Looking at my inbox one day, I found a very strange email in the junk section. It read as follows:

From: p$1$[email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Tin of the decks stair

I will keep this brief, I just need you to lend me your ear. I hope that you will help me, I am broke.

It is not that I am poor, just that all my money was stolen in Fiji. I was on holiday with someone I thought was a friend. But when I was asleep he ran off with my bank card. He knows my pin as well. Please help me.

Then I lost my job. I was to be replaced with someone though I don't know who. Now not only do I not have any money I do not have a job too. I have had very bad luck.

So here I am and for money I have a plea. Please help me out.

I am here still. If you do decide to help me out then you will have to send the money to Fiji, which I know will be expensive but I really am out on a limb. They should catch the thief soon as he can not have gone far; he left his visa. But any money would be the biggest help ever. To lend me some money please reply.

I was going to discard it as a scammers plot, but something about the email address and subject made me pause. That bit certainly isn't part of a scammer's plot. Maybe there is a secret message.

Can you find the secret message?


1 Answer 1


The solution is


To find it,

take the last letter before every punctuation mark.

I thought of this because of the unusual words "Fiji" and "plea", which were clearly significant -

"Fiji" might have been included because of the J, but "plea" was clearly included because of the final A, and then it becomes clear that "Fiji" was included because of the final I.

Also in the title of the email,

"deck stair" ~ "dexter", which means right - as in the right-hand end of a word or clause.

Apparently the email address and title were meant to be a hint towards

“A Pickle for the Knowing Ones; or Plain Truths in a Homespun Dress by Lord Timothy Dexter (or "tin of the decks stair"), a book which includes no punctuation - therefore we should be looking for punctuation in the email. But I solved it without needing this :-)

  • $\begingroup$ This is correct but you've missed some stuff. See the email address and the subject $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2016 at 11:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Try typing the email address online and saying the subject quickly $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2016 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ ^^ for someone lazy $\endgroup$ May 30, 2022 at 15:07

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