So, some of my RL friends think that I am a mean, arrogant, know-it-all jerk. So, I decided to prove them right. I gave them a note, and told them that it contained something related to my favourite movie. Incidentally, not one of them knew my favourite movie. So, with a smug smile on my face, I handed them the note. It read

“zhr rngpng b vgfvhgbc “ – Now, don’t worry, I will provide you with some hints as to how this is to be solved. You need to be observant though.
The 5 membered-syndicate are dangerous and efficient as well.
You see sometimes the unlucky one can prove to be useful.
One who can really solve this will reserve the right to be a true and trustworthy friend of mine.
And One more- The wise try to speak that which is dead.

Can you find out my favourite movie?


(5,9) (5,5) (1,1) and nothing in the last.

Note- the code can be solved by following the instructions in the order that is mentioned. Do not jumble up the order. And each line is a clue as to how to solve the cipher.

  • $\begingroup$ This for the fortnightly challenge? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Not sure, if we can consider cipher and cryptic-clues as unconventional... $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 17:53
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ 5 membered syndicate $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ "You see sometimes the unlucky one can prove to be useful." Unlucky = 13? ROT13 perhaps. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 15:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Sid Is the cryptic-clues tag definitely appropriate here? Read the tag wiki carefully. If not, it's misleading. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


I think I have it!

The message means

"you couldn't handle the truth"

which would seem to indicate that your favorite movie is

A Few Good Men (in which "you can't handle the truth!")

Thought process, building off Kevin Rock's and Beastly Gerbil's ideas:

The "five-membered syndicate" are probably

the five vowels, A E I O U, in reference to a previous Puzzling.SE question

The "unlucky one" could be

the unlucky number 13 = ROT-13 cipher.
Applying this to the ciphertext gives the extremely vowel-heavy "mue eatcat o itsiutop".
However, in the puzzle about the vowels, the "unlucky" victim is Y.

"True and trustworthy friend"


"Speak that which is dead" could

refer to Latin, the most famous dead language.
A E I O U in ROT-13 are N R V B H. Adding these into the ROT-13'd text can create some valid Latin words: mue → muner[a] "duty", eat → erat "was", for example. But this is a bit of a stretch.

Unusual features of the text:

There's a space after the ciphertext but within the quotes.
The second line mentions the "5 membered-syndicate", not the "5-membered syndicate".
The last line has an incorrect - (hyphen) instead of an – (en-dash). This wouldn't normally be notable, but there is a proper en-dash in the first line.
The last line also has an extra capitalized O.
The two "Ones" likely mean a number somehow, but this could be 2, 11, 7 (5+1+1)...

Regarding the first hint (interpretation debunked by OP):

In a cryptic crossword, (3, 4) would be "a three-letter word followed by a four-letter word". My guess is that the 5-membered syndicate clue gives XXXXX XXXXXXXXX, the unlucky one gives XXXXX XXXXX, the true and trustworthy friend gives X, and that which is dead indicates how all those words should be put together or interpreted.
We also know that one and only one of the first three clues fits the strict definition of a cryptic, due to the tag discussion on the question. None seem to contain the usual clue words, however.

Regarding the first hint (new hypothesis):

As Lukas Rotter pointed out, 1, 5, and 9 are the indices of A, E, and I in the alphabet (N, R, V in ROT13). So let's add these in.
murev eratcart non itsiutop?
These look like reversed words! potuisti non tractare verum
Potuisti is "you were able", non is "not", tractare is "to handle", verum is "a true thing".
So perhaps: "you couldn't handle the truth"? This is stretching the meaning of verum ("truth" would really be veritas), but it fits the theme of a famous movie reference.

  • $\begingroup$ The unusual features are just typos... But you have all the clues except the friends part... there is another word in that line not the one that you mentioned... and your interpretation of the hint is wrong... $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 17:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If A=1 & Z=26, "1", "5" and "9" would all be vowels. Might just be stylistic, though. $\endgroup$
    – user14478
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ Lukas Rotter has got the idea.... $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 5:23

Partial Answer:
5 membered syndicate

As mentioned by @BeastlyGerbil, the 5 membered syndicate most likely indicates that vowels need to be added in.

You see sometimes the unlucky one can prove to be useful.

I'm thinking the unluckly one is probably thirteen. This leads me to using a rot-13. (@Dan Russell commented as I was posting)

The Text So Far:

mue eatcat o itsiutop
(Note: Not sure how/where to add vowels before the rotation)
Might be important that aeiou rotates to nrvbh

  • $\begingroup$ Add vowels, not replace words with vowels.... $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ "The 5 membered-syndicate are dangerous and efficient as well." can mean, only e and i (efficient) can be used. Others are (dangerous). So, probably we need to add e and i to each part of the cryptext text and then do the rotation. May be then some anagrams from it. I could only find a word mneumonic somehow. $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 11:09

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