Intelligent Bureau of Puzzle Solvers

It's been almost a year that I have been with IBPS. Oh wait. You don't know it do you? Well, IBPS relates to Intelligent Bureau of Puzzle Solvers. I definitely do not belong here but a friend of mine who has good contacts referred me here. IBPS has several branches globally and has been quite in the buzz recently due to its growing importance. They have been posting these trivial questions and a lot of enigmatic ones; keeping cryptic puzzles on the favorites list, in there local news papers helping people grow awareness towards puzzle solving. And yes, they have been paying quite good rewards as well!

I remember a mission when I was travelling. Having nothing to do, I picked up a local news paper and was glad to see the first page stating headline as -

\$5,00000 Reward from IBPS!!

Killing the two heads of URUGUAY branch Mr. Godin and Mr. Tabárez the gangster took away something very precious which doesn't belong to us. The gangster is wanted alive and hence, shoot on sight option is simply not applicable. The criminal was last seen at Lithgow Small Arms Factory stealing two lethal weapons out of it. Secret CCTV camera images shows that he was heading towards CHILE where he is going to take away the other two heads of the IBPS organization.

Question cited was -

What was the man stealing? Find it and earn the reward!

Note 1 - Only the quoted text matters to find the answer. Rest is just for the sake of story building!

Note 2 - Abbreviation IBPS is only used to shorten the puzzle length. Nothing hidden there.

Hint 1

Hint 2

(4,4)

Hint 3

Update

Removed the cryptic-clues tag as this does not qualify the rules.

• Are the grammatical errors clues or typos? – Sid Nov 23 '16 at 11:32
• @sid, the eternal doubt xD – lois6b Nov 23 '16 at 11:33
• Grammar won't affect the puzzle or puzzle solving. :) – Techidiot Nov 23 '16 at 11:34
• Are you sure this puzzle involves standard cryptic-clues, i.e., cryptic-crossword styled clues with a definition and a wordplay part? – Ankoganit Nov 23 '16 at 12:00

The man stole ...

the MONA LISA.

Killing the two heads of URUGUAY branch Mr. Godin and Mr. Tabárez the gangster took away something very precious which doesn't belong to us.

Uruguay is written in capitals and the capital of Uruguay is Montevideo, and "killing the two heads" somehow seems to indicate to use the first two letters: MO.

The gangster is wanted alive and hence, shoot on sight option is simply not applicable.

The words not applicable are in italics and probably important. Not applicable can be abbreviated as N/A, or NA.

The criminal was last seen at Lithgow Small Arms Factory stealing two lethal weapons out of it.

I guess that stealing two lethal weapons means to take the first letters of "Lithgow Small Arms Factory", LI, but in cryptic parlance, I can't really see how. (I tried to remove the letters of weapons, for exaple Colt or Light Mortar, and then look at the remaining ones, but to no avail.)

Secret CCTV camera images shows that he was heading towards CHILE where he is going to take away the other two heads of the IBPS organization.

Same trick again: Take the first two letters of Chile's capital, Santiago de Chile: SA.

Notes:

These clues don't follow the standards for cryptic clues even loosely. I've solved this with help of the first hints; (4, 4) and Arts lead to the Mona Lisa quickly. The rest was more or less solved backwards except N/A, which I had from the outset.

Addendum: I'll tyr to explain in detail why I think that the puzzle shoudn't be labelled as cryptic clues and I try to make some suggestions. Everything below is an analysis of the indtended solutions, so Spoliers Ahoy!

The problem with cryptic clues is that they cannot just be clues that are written in a more or less cryptic language; they follow strict rules. That's something many people here on PSE get wrong. In fact, I'm wary of any cryptic-clue tag unless the post is by Deusovi or Dan Russell. :)

These rules are outlined in Deusovi's post. They might differ slightly, foe example there seem to be differences in British and American usage, but on the whole, they are set. When you try to solve a cryptic crossword, you know what you're in for. When you try to solve a crossword without knowing the rules, you are usually stuck early and can't make heads or tails of the solution when you look it up. You can't solve (or set) cryptic clues without knowing the rules in the same way you can't play Chess without knowing and following the rules of Chess.

A very important concept of such clues is given in the first section of Deusovi's post: The clue has a definition, a subsidiary indicator and, and that's important, nothing else. That is, there should not be any filler words. The clue as whole should have a good surface reading: It should read like a meaningful sentence. And the setters are trying their best to mislead the solver. It is usually not clear which part is definition and which part wordplay and the words as used in the surface meaning often don't have the same meaning as used in the solution. A particularly popular device is to make verbs or adjectives appear as nouns in the surface and vice versa.

When you have solved the clue, you should see that all words have been used, either as part of the definition or as indicator for some device (anagram, juxtaposition, insertion, deletion, inclusion) or as fodder for such a device. Occasionally, setters can get away with filler words, but they should brece themselves for criticism on the crossword blogs.

Now your puzzle isn't a regular clue for a crossword. The definition is already given: We are looking for something that was stolen. That's okay. Crosswords sometimes do that as well. ("All down clues are missing definitions, but are thematically linked." That might appear in a crossword on a special occasion or anniversary, where the linked theme is easy to spot.)

And your clues must make sense as a story. And here's the problem: Only very little of your sentences is part of the wordplay. These parts are highlighted with all caps, italics and bold face, but most of it is filler. You've noticed it when people tried to find the solution in that filler text, namely the names of the two Uruguayan heads and the sentence about the arms factory.

And the clues, once you have isolated them, don't follow the rules either:

• Using capital letters seems like a nice trick, but "Uruguay in capitals" isn't the same as "capital of Uruguay". (In cryptic clues, the captal of Uruguay can be Montevideo, but it could also be its capital letter, U.)

• "Killing" would indicate taking away from the solution, so it's the opposite of what you intended.

• It is clear that the third fragment is found in "Lithgow Small Arms Factory", but "two lethal weapons" doesn't mean the first letters. That's quite a strech, actually. If you mean letters you should either use some variant of letters of symbols or characters or just omit a noun and make the solver infer it: "the first two". (But you could remove the two weapons "gun" and "sling" from "gunslinger" to get "er".) In cryptic clues, "found in" usually indicates a hidden answer, for example "word" is found in "new order". It doesn't mean take some letters, and it doesn't indicate to take the first letters at all. And the phrase the wordplay operates on has four words of which the last three are filler.

So the problem with your puzzle is that you present something that isn't really cryptic clues as cryptic clues. You have mislabelled your puzzle and are going to disappoint solvers. (Old curmudgeons like me can still get some fun out of it by criticising it. Ha!)

There are basically two ways to fix this. The first is to make your puzzle a cryptic clue. That would mean to shorten the puzzle text, i.e. the quoted text, significantly. You can stick to the story of the stolen painting, but you could make the clue a classified ad that catches your eye:

Piece of art not available in outskirts of Montevideo, western half of Lima, primary quarter of Santiago (4, 4)

The solution would be

N/A in (M(ontevide)O + LI(ma) + SA(ntiago))

and while the surface reading isn't particularly smooth, it has a South American theme.

You could perhaps try to make the story more natural by making every other sentence a cryptic clue, but make sure to have some indication that only some sentences are cryptic.

The second solution is to make this a wordplay puzzle that isn't cryptic clues. In your puzzle, you use the first two letters of capital cities. You could extend this theme to all four two-letter fragments. Lima would fit with the South American theme. The second fragment could come from Nairobi or Nassau or from the Brazilian state of Rio Grande, whose capital is Natal:

IBPS agents have traced an individual trying to sell a valuable piece of art that was stolen last month. The thief was seen in various South American states where he tried to make capital of his goods by visiting the primary and secondary characters of the local illegal art dealing scene. So far, the thief has been in Uruguay, Rio Grande (Brazil), Peru and Chile.

Well, that's probably not a very good puzzle, but capitals and the first and second letters are loosely hinted at and there is a list to work from.

• That's correct! The line says "The criminal was last seen at Lithgow Small Arms Factory stealing two lethal weapons out of it" And hence the two letters out of the factory name. Regarding the capitals - the idea was taken from here (puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/45822/…) Let me know where I could have improved. – Techidiot Nov 25 '16 at 4:02
• .. I guess I made many doubts clear in my Notes. – Techidiot Nov 25 '16 at 4:08
• @M Oehm That's a nice update! Will definitely help - As a matter of fact, I made a little better one here – Techidiot Nov 25 '16 at 8:35
• @Techidiot: Thanks. It's good to see you making more puzzles. I didn't want to discourage you, just point out what I didn't like about this one. (I still don't think this here is a completely bad pzzle. I quite like the framing story.) – M Oehm Nov 25 '16 at 8:44
• That was a lesson learnt. Thanks for the inputs. :) – Techidiot Nov 25 '16 at 8:49

I feel like the story contains more than one cryptic clue, probably one for each highlighted word (bold, italics, capital letters).

So let's look at each of them:

Killing the two heads of URUGUAY branch Mr. Godin and Mr. Tabárez the gangster took away something very precious which doesn't belong to us.

"Killing" the two heads of URUGUAY might simply make it

UGUAY - or killing the two heads of the IBPS may make it PS..

The next line is:

The gangster is wanted alive and hence, shoot on site option is simply not applicable.

The only thing i can find here is the word:

tap (which i am not sure if it could be interpreted as shoot on site (im not native, i just heard of "double tap"))

Next:

The criminal was last seen with at Lithgow Small Arms Factory stealing two lethal weapons out of it.

Which makes me think we need to find two words in it (maybe anagrams), and those should probably be weapons:

GAS is in there.. but yeah.. probably something else.

And the last line:

Secret CCTV camera images shows that he was heading towards CHILE where he is going to take other two heads of the IBPS organization.

so maybe take the head of CHILE (C) and/or the heads of IBPS wich could be IB or maybe even PS (if we assume the first two heads are still gone)

Maybe these thoughts will help some actually clever person to figure something out.

• You have partially identified something worth here. So +1 it is. To be precise, you have identified the thing about heads correctly. – Techidiot Nov 23 '16 at 13:09

Killing the two heads of URUGUAY-Clearly means to take away the first two letters of Uruguay and we end up with UGUAY.
"Lithgow Small Arms Factory" stealing two lethal weapons- Probably means to remove two words from the given word. I am not sure, which words to remove though.
CHILE where he is going to take away the other two heads- Again means to remove the first two letters and we end up with ILE.
So, we end up with UGUAY ILE and two other words. Probably need to anagram them but I don't see any "cryptic clue" for that

Now, I am not sure about the "don't shoot at sight" remark because there must be something about the "applicable" part as it is highlighted in italics.
Note-These are just some random ramblings from me. Any smarter mind can take it up from here.

• Well this is more of an extended version of @Timme's answer. So +1. Right track but not leading the right way. – Techidiot Nov 23 '16 at 18:02
• @Techidiot That "applicable" part is important,right? – Sid Nov 23 '16 at 18:08
• Indeed it is. :) – Techidiot Nov 23 '16 at 18:09

A first guess:

Diego Godín and Oscar Tabárez are captain and manager of the Uruguayan national football team, so possibly something football related? Maybe they were stealing the Copa América? Chile are the current cup holders..

• No lateral thinking. Sorry. Names viz. Uruguayan names were just shamefully copied and pasted to make the story look good. – Techidiot Nov 23 '16 at 11:48

I doubt this is the correct answer, since it's not really cryptic but

Technically it is states, "The criminal was last seen with at Lithgow Small Arms Factory stealing two lethal weapons out of it." So he did steal the two lethal weapons which he did or will use for the killings.

• No. Not correct. Again, its not lateral thinking. And obviously not as simple as that :) – Techidiot Nov 23 '16 at 12:26