Can you identify the six things below and determine the final answer?

First thing

  • My first three are the code for a port airport in Malaysia.
  • Next you'll need one of the least-common Scrabble tiles.
  • Finally, don't look in nature for my last two, they were first made in Germany in 1984.

Second thing

  • My first three are broadcast by the USA, but not in the USA.
  • Next, you’ll find the original ObiWan.
  • My last two are where you want to be on a rainy day.

Third thing

Fourth thing

  • I begin with two neighbors who together can make a beetle.
  • My next two are a coin flip in ancient Rome.
  • My last two are a guy on a baseball team. Or on an American football team.

Fifth thing

  • My first three can be found by taking the 5th, 2nd, and 7th of a well-known sequence.
  • Take half of that same sequence to get my last two.

Sixth thing

  • My first four are a bit bloody.
  • My last six are a place of peace and tranquility, or peril.

Final thing

According to all of you (↑), I am vyvjijljifvzzlrk

Hint for the third thing

Hail is used as a verb, but not in the sense of acclaim or glorification.
In the puzzle mentioned, we indeed had to do something, but "thin" is not the right verb for _ _ _ _ K.


5 Answers 5


After solving the sixth thing, Gareth proposed that ...

... the "things" are the names of transformations to which that transformation is applied.

This seems to be true. In particular, the first thing ...

... is ATBASH encoded with the Atbash cipher: ZGYZHS

ZGY is the IATA code of Kuching Port Airport. The Z tile occurs only once in a Scrabble set and scores 10. HS is the chemical symbol of Hassium.

The second thing ...

... is RAILFENCE encoded with the railfence cipher:

    R       F       E
Radio Free Europe or RFE is an US-govermnent funded broadcaster in Europe. ALEC Guinness played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars and when you are at home, or IN, you're dry in rainy weather.

The third thing ...

... is BACKWARD backward: DRAWKCAB.

You can hail a CAB and we had to DRAW K, i.e. follow a series of instructions to draw the letter K, in Alconja's puzzle. The clues to this thing are in backwards order, too, because they put the "cab" before the "draw K".

(This thing was solved by Gareth, with whom I agree that the cab clue should come last, so that the clues in order yield the whole word backwards.)

The fourth thing ...

... is VOWELLESS without vowels: VWLLSS.

Volkswagen or VW for short produced the Beetle. A coin toss is fifty-fifty or LL in Roman numbers. And SS could be a Shortstop in baseball or Strong Safety in American football.

The fifth thing ...

... is ROT13 encoded with Rot13: EBG13.

The sequence in question isn't any numerical sequence, but the English alphabet, whose fifth, second and seventh elements are E, B and G. The alphabet as 26 letters, so half of it is 13. (And it's quite embarrassing how long it took me to find this thing.)

The sixth thing ...

... was found by Gareth Mc Caughan. It is REARRANGED rearranged to RARE GARDEN.

The final answer:

At first I thought that the answer was a word that would be subjected to all transformations and that the final result of these transformations would be vyvjijljifvzzlrk. That can't be true, because when working backwards from that word, the last step is a transposition, which doesn't change the contained letters, and the seond but last step is Rot13, which yields a word with i's and e's. That can't be the result of the fourth step, which is to strip all vowels.

The procedure is to start with vyvjijljifvzzlrk and apply all transformations to it:

Atbash → ebeqrqoqrueaaoip
Railfence → errabqqquaopeoei
Backward → ieoepoauqqqbarre
Vowelless → pqqqbrr
Rot13 → cdddoee
Rearranged → decoded

So the final answer is:

According to all of you (↑), I am DECODED.

  • $\begingroup$ J not Z for your tile. Looking good! $\endgroup$ Oct 27, 2016 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ I've been staring into an alphabet soup for the last hours, I can't tell my Js from my Zs anymore ... $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 27, 2016 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ Ha. I contemplated IGPAYATINLAY too. (Perhaps we both looked at the Wikipedia list of classical ciphers page.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Oct 28, 2016 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ I've vistited that list several times today, but I'm not sure whether I got to to Pig Latin from there or from elsewhere. I'm a bit out of ideas where to look and I'm not very fond of trying to fit keys to match various cipher names to the things. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 28, 2016 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ "Finally the transformations don't have to be ciphers at all." Exactly! I will say that neither part of the third thing has been correctly solved yet, and the middle part of the fourth thing has not been correctly solved yet either. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2016 at 19:41

I bet the sixth is

RARE GARDEN which is an anagram of REARRANGED. (Note that GARDEN is an anagram of DANGER.)

Perhaps each of the six things is

a word describing a means of transformation, transformed by that means. So e.g. one might be CAESAR with each letter moved forwards three places: FDHVDU. Alas, none of our things seems to be that, nor does it look as if any of them is likely to start with any shift of CAE. (If our Malaysian airport is JHB and our Scrabble letter is J, a shift of 2 yields KICK IT; if JHB and Z, a shift of 19 yields CAUSAL; I think these are coincidences. I haven't explored Caesar shifts of anything else.) ... Dan's recent edit indicates that actually the airport probably isn't JHB.

In comments MOehm finds that

if we take the Malaysian airport to be ZGY and the Scrabble letter to be Z, we get ATBASH atbashed, which seems like confirmation for this theory.

A few other notes that haven't led me anywhere much so far:

The Malaysian port airports seem to be: ZJT ZMK ZJR ZJB ZGY ZLW ZWR. Presumably the last two letters of #2 are IN. I agree that #3 seems to be SOSTHINK. Perhaps with a bit of stretching the Roman coin flip in #4 could be ALEA (CAPUT AUT NAVIA seems too long). Or maybe it's a Roman coin name backwards; SA, perhaps. The "final thing" has a lot of structure to it; it looks as if the letters come in pairs, suggesting maaaybe some sort of 5x5 grid, but then it's surprising that we have both I and J. Perhaps the grid is missing Q or Z. Or perhaps it works in a completely different way.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ After you got the foot in the door with your first answer I've been thinking along similar lines, especially "things are word transformations the clues have been transformed with", but I haven't gotten anywhere, so thanks for posting your thoughts. If vyvjijljifvzzlrk is the answer transformed six times, one of the trafos is rearrangement and the other trafos are simple letter substitutions the answer could be a word with the same distribution of letters, eg "counterintuitive". (But that's a stretch; there are only so many one-to-one substitution ciphers.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 27, 2016 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yup, possible. But look at all the letters repeated with spacing 2 in that VYVJ thing -- surely that isn't just coincidence? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Oct 27, 2016 at 15:34
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Ha! The airport is ZGY - thanks for the updated list! - and the Scrabble letter is Z, which gives ATBASH. Maybe it's time to reverse-engineer some common ciphers. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 27, 2016 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ Oooo, you clever clever person. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Oct 27, 2016 at 15:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ But, but! The dry place is indeed IN, the original Obi-Wan is, of course, ALEC and the American radio outside America is neither VOA nor AFN, but Radio Free Europe: RAILFENCE encoded with itself. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 27, 2016 at 17:23

The first seems to be

KUL(J/X/Q/Z)HS (Kuala Lumpur)(Scrabble)(Hassium) KUL could also be any of PEN,BKI,KCH,JHB,LGK

I think the third is


The fourth may be

VW(NAC?)SS(Volkswagon)(navia aut caput?)(Shortstop/Strong Safety)

I notice that none of these appear to be actual words, I wonder if I'm way off target, or if the cipher applies to more than the Final Thing.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm unsure whether we are looking for real words as well $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2016 at 20:01

Second thing:

VOA AG ???


Voice of America is a US propaganda radio broadcast outside of the US. The original Obiwan Kenobee in Star Wars IV-VI was played by Alec Guinness.

  • $\begingroup$ Please can you edit this answer to include more explanation? $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2016 at 20:59

The fourth seems to be

VWCNSS - (Will be 6 characters if this is wrong)


VW = VolksWagon
CN = Capita vel Navia
SS = Short Stop

Take the first letter of each word (initials/acronym)
(I still don't know which cipher is used)

  • $\begingroup$ Sconibulus already offered this. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Oct 27, 2016 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio Yep, you're right. I don't know how I missed that. $\endgroup$
    – Neon612
    Oct 27, 2016 at 20:39

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