I'd like to tell a story,

This might be a good place to start

but there isn't really one here.

  • 3+4+5=6

There's just a cryptic puzzle

  • 6 1 4a 7 4d 9, 3 2 5 8.

all mixed up in itself.


There are several steps,


but just one solution in the end.

hlc f 

So good luck,


as all I want to know is

  • Escorted by Grips
  • Italian sequencer Decay/Input
  • Not just a Cipher reversed
  • DNA scrambled Piano lever
  • On a slant

What value do we place on truth?

  • Small hint: The image is the best place to start, and it's not trying to trick you.
  • Slightly larger hint: You can't solve a crossword without clues, but if you look you'll find them in the end.
  • Today's hint, from Levieux's answer:

    enter image description here

  • Hopefully final hint: Cross+Roads=Danger

2 Answers 2


Edit based on Tim B's new hint:

The clues (including their answers) are:
1 Escorted by --> WITH
2 Grips --> HOLDS
3 Italian sequencer --> FIBONACCI
4a Decay --> ROT
4d Input --> READ
5 Not just a --> THE
6 Cipher reversed --> DECODE
7 DNA scrambled --> AND
8 Piano lever --> KEY
9 On a slant --> DIAGONALLY

The filled out puzzle then looks like:

Filled out puzzle

And the message reads (based on the clue 6 1 4a 7 4d 9, 3 2 5 8):

Decode with rot and read diagonally, Fibonacci holds the key

The diagonals of the grids are:





 hlc f



So we have to:

Decode these diagonal parts (xifsf, ku, wkh, ywzym) with ROT(X), X being the corresponding numbers that are found in the grid (as found by Tim earlier on).

And it leads to:

xifsf (ROT 1) --> where
ku (ROT 2) --> is
wkh (ROT 3) --> the
ywzym (ROT 5) --> truth
So the solution is: Where is the truth

New update:

The latest hint suggests to use alphametics to solve the puzzle. Since we're given the clue 3+4+5=6, we probably have to sum, the words found in the corresponding grids.

This means:

WHERE+IS+THE=TRUTH, which has the following solution: 69404 + 81 + 794 = 70279. So the value we place on truth is 70279.

Previous update: (going in the wrong direction)

Apparently this is not yet the solution to the puzzle, nor is the number 5 or 6 (the rotation used for the last (truth-)grid/the number found written in the last grid).
I'm not sure whether the hint 3+4+5=6 still needs to be used at this point..
Another way to go could be to start looking for the truth, since that's what the previous part actually suggests. Obviously the word truth was found in the fourth and last grid, which also has the word "six" in it, but we already discarded that possibility. Maybe we should go by the saying "the truth lies somewhere in the middle", leading us to the centre part of the grids/crossword, but that's just guessing and it has no logical basis.
The latest hint seems to suggest looking at the crossings of the crossword puzzle, which would be the letters H R T D O E A D I Y, but that doesn't really help either. Maybe we should focus just on the only real crossroads, the one where 3d and 6a cross around the letter O, but I have no idea what to do with that..

N.B., something that does add up nicely:

F(6)+F(7)+F(8) = 8 + 13 + 21 = 42 :P

Previous answer:

I haven't made any real progress on this one, but I'll give you my two cents. Maybe someone else can make sense of it.

First of all:

The question is about "extracting the value" from the puzzle, implying that we're searching for a number here.
The clue 3+4+5=6 seems to be supporting that view. I've tried plugging in values into the grid to match this equation, but there's no solution, so that's not the way to go.
seventeen + two + one = twenty is the closest I could get, but seventeen and twenty don't line up correctly.
Since OP suggests to start with the image, I also tried changing the link (https://i.stack.imgur.com/K6ckx.png) to https://i.stack.imgur.com/K345ckx.png, but no luck there.

Then there's the numbers Tim found in the grids:

Maybe we should add those grids somehow, but I've tried this in lots of different ways and it doesn't work either. OP also changed one of the grids at some point to remove a red herring, so most likely the letters in these grids don't bear any further significance, other than the numbers inside of it.

About the five clues:

Are they even the clues??
They are capitalized weirdly, is EG IDI NC DNAP O perhaps a message? It's an anagram of ENCODING PAIN, but now I'm probably just seeing stuff that isn't really there...
Could the Italian sequencer be Fibonacci?
Second hint tells us that the clues to the puzzle can be found "in the end". So maybe in final letters of any of the words?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We have a winner, nicely done. I hope you liked the puzzle. I think I needed to put in a few more clues as to the direction to go in a few places but overall it seemed to work :) $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Nov 30, 2016 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB: Thank you! It was challenging indeed, but I really enjoyed it, keep them coming! :) $\endgroup$
    – Levieux
    Nov 30, 2016 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ I've posted this puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/46245/… asking for feedback :) $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Nov 30, 2016 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ Since you asked me to keep them coming, here's my next one :) puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/46765/… $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Dec 15, 2016 at 21:35

Just observations.

6 1 4a 7 4d 9, 3 2 5 8

The first thing I notice about this part is

The presence of 4a and 4d point out that these are simply the answers to the crossword, since 4 is the only word that goes both down (d) and across (a). The comma would also indicate probably two words, I'm guessing two words that are formed by putting together the first letter of each crossword answer in the order indicated by the numbers. So this is likely a two word clue that can only be formed once the crossword is filled out.

In the cryptic text I noticed

Some number words sort of hidden:



 kruof  (four backwards)


 hlc f
(five backwards, diagonally)

and lastly

 kszfe (six)


The hidden words spell out three, four, five, six. This appears to correspond in some way to the equation 3+4+5=6. It could either be a clue as to how to decipher the cryptic text, or simply stating the order they need to be read, and perhaps that a correct reading would mean that together, the first three blocks would yield the same result as the last.

Another observation:

The crossword boxes are segmented into boxes of two characters by extra-thick lines, and any odd-length words have an extra single-letter box at the end. I feel like this may be an important clue towards filling them out, since we have the hint to start with the image (the crossword) first.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Tim-ception ! $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2016 at 17:37

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