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A sequel to: Batman and the grid and Batman and the piano


$ > \large\ Incoming\ communication... $
$ > \large\ receiving..... $
$ > \large\ Analyzing..... $
$ > \large\ copying\ to\ allies\ at\ PSE..... $
$ > \large $
$ > \large\ Message\ Follows.... $


Greetings Batman!

Riddle me this?

What is deep, but empty,
surrounded, yet alone,
and brutal, while ineffective?

Give up, detective?
It's *you*!!  Hah!

Too obvious?  Fine!  Let's try something a little harder, then.

The hidden sequence is solved with your brain
The method to solving it, split up in twain

There's no point, however, to feeling deflated,
This riddle, dear Batman, has me feeling elated.

The first 5, when flat, establish the key.
Perhaps, listen closely, you'll finally hear.

To end you must add the survival of B(ruce),
It's part of why, to this city, he's dear.

Now listen up.  
The next part's going to be significant.  
Let's see if you can figure out this bit, at least.

Can you figure out where I'm hiding?

Message attachment:
A calling card

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Looking, as the text suggests, at

the least significant bits of the pixel values of the image

turns up a whole lot of what looks like random uselessness except that

at the beginning we have a substantial string of ASCII codepoint values, which being decoded run thus: "Hinxozsyc mcweubmbg, xmeey! Kghs n qmooeb. Imifi G'mp tuooy lss nsrh, uxr eeehid jaygusc. - Vrhdvbm Rhubvd"

After a little work, this turns out to be

the result of applying Vigenere encryption with key BEADGMONEY to the message "Genuinely observant, today! Have a monkey. Cause I'll trick you more, old ragged gumshoe. - Unhappy Edward".

And

the first letters of this spell out GOTHAM CITY MORGUE, which must be the answer to the final question.

So, where does that key come from?

"The first five, when flat, establish the key": the first five "flat" notes in a musical key signature are Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb. If you have exactly those flats in your key signature you are in D flat major or B flat minor, and the word "deflated" in the verse -- which is not a million miles from "D flat" -- is probably meant to gesture in this direction.

And then

(I am indebted here to others who know more about Batman than I do) it turns out that Bruce Wayne (= Batman) uses his fantastic wealth not only to kit himself out with superhero equipment, but also for philanthropic donations to Gotham City. Hence "It's part of why, to this city, he's dear". (I still don't quite understand the bit about "the survival of B(ruce)"; so far as I can make out he's neither more nor less dependent on money for his survival than anyone else.)

It may be worth noting that

Edward is the first name of Batman's adversary Edward Nigma = "the Riddler". Perhaps the message is from him.

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  • $\begingroup$ Where did you get the other half of the key? $\endgroup$ – Matt Feb 6 '17 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ I confess I got it by looking for something that made the Vigenere come out right. (I found something that surely had to be "I'll" or "I've", and then I looked for other positions where the Vigenere offsets to make those gave plausible results, suggesting a key length of 10, and then I looked for keys that made other things fit.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 6 '17 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ I guess the stuff about the "survival of B" was meant to clue MONEY somehow. I don't know anything about Batman, but he's meant to be terribly rich; maybe that's why? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 6 '17 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, okay. I figured "after a little work" alluded to some brute force techniques. Your final answer makes sense, though. $\endgroup$ – Matt Feb 6 '17 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think "MONEY" comes from "It's part of why, to this city, he [Bruce] is dear". Bruce Wayne, when he's not being Batman, is a well-known philanthropist who donates millions to Gotham City. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Feb 6 '17 at 17:48
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Some first steps to maybe help others along:

The first 5, when flat, establish the key.
Perhaps, listen closely, you'll finally hear.
To end you must add the survival of B(ruce),
... Now listen up.

All imply

The answer has to do with listening to music

so

The musical keys that have at least 5 flats are Db/C#, F#/Gb, and B/Cb. "Survival of B" makes me think we're dealing with something in the key of B/Cb, perhaps encoded in the provided image?

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    $\begingroup$ Bit of a Gimme - 'B' was just to finish the rhyme, because I broke it with some changes I made. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha Jan 10 '17 at 20:53

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