It was a chilly winter night when I was hanging around with some friends. We were gossiping about the recent kidnapping cases where a few of the people from the town were missing. There was a news about a gang with a long history of crimes. They had a kind of weird style of kidnapping. I say this, because, none of the earlier victims were harmed and they safely returned back home. But of course, it was due to the fact that the FBI was able to track the precise location in a short amount of time. If they hadn't, they could have starved to death!

Some say, these criminals do leave behind some clues once they vanish from the crime scene, and then they will leave the kidnapped victim in some remote place to rot alone until someone comes and rescues them. Bizarre and horrible!

It was already too late when I finally decided to skip the talks and head back to home. It was unusual, I felt something creepy. I hadn't received a single call today from my Uncle John. Something was not right, I guessed.

I was just outside the main gate of my house when I saw the lights were off. "This doesn't look good," I thought. I opened the gate and went ahead to push the bell, when I saw something hanging on the doorbell. It seemed like a torn piece of paper with some weird looking things. I didn't want to go inside the house until I made sure that it's safe inside, hence I decided to have some patience. And yes, I knew, my Uncle John was kidnapped!

enter image description here

With shivery hands I took the paper off the door and started reading the things. It seemed like it was full of clues, but I was clueless as to what it was pointing to? I sat down on the stairs to take a closer look, when I found something interesting in there, and so started working on it. In a few minutes, I was able to get the idea about the note. It was time. I rushed in to see what else was there for me. To my surprise, the room was messy. The tiles were all colored. Yellow, Green, Red and White all over the place.

![enter image description here

There were 4 pieces of notes, again torn into pieces. I picked them up and started reading -

R k s q, yksp sjthn eq kbjk s qn. J kw r dmr y ks dm vn pnm tdna rd eq b mp, h nr i n rn hh y ks rdmr yk sp sj thn e q hkt mrna e j k jn t ksjrpy. R k pnm td rd npn, rd eq weh h u n yk sp bej mh qrn l rk bej a mja up nmg r dn qnp enq k b tk anq.

223->33->30->380->966 968->(Color pattern?)->66 93->975

Dc l t ys qcg m x vf riki cnc fz zxi! M s z u m s Al off w, Zph no .

Can you help me rescue Uncle John?

(Note-Story is a fiction! Images credit - Google!!)


All the information for decoding the cipher & cipher type are mentioned. Just apply knowledge and find it.


What word do you see formed out of the lines connecting SENORITA?


Hint 2 speaks about the cipher being used.

  • $\begingroup$ Are your grammatical errors intentional or can I fix them? $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ Go ahead and fix if you see anything :) TiA $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, hopefully I didn't mess anything up... $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


Partial Answer:

Since these clues were presented in some order, my guess is we're supposed to use those items in that order. Therefore, I've started to look at the piece of paper on the door:

The alphabet in the top left corner is missing precisely the letters "AEINORST", or, "SENORITA". Those letters appear further down the page. I'm not sure what the relevance of the remainder of the alphabet is. Regarding SENORITA, there is a number pattern above that word which follows the same placement pattern as SENORITA, and, when read in the same order as SENORITA, is in numerical order, 013456789 (missing 2). However, the numbers and letters don't match 1-to-1 because where the T in SENORITA is, there are 2 numbers, 7 and 8. Which means there is some other mapping. My guess is that, because the 7 is red and the 8 is black, then the black 8 and 9 together map to A while 7 maps to T. I don't know the significance of the red 5.


When I made the comment above, the OP noted that he missed a digit and added in that digit. Subsequently, the note at the bottom changed. This means that the added digit is related to the decryption key for the note at the bottom.

That's what I have so far.

  • $\begingroup$ I missed a digit there. Your findings are good. But you need to find the reason behind those findings :) +1 for the attempt $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Jan 12, 2017 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ Question: Is the kerning of the alphabet at the top of the note relevant to the solution? That is to say, if the spaces between the letters is increased or decreased, does that affect the ability to solve the puzzle? $\endgroup$
    – Ertai87
    Jan 12, 2017 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ 1. Note at the bottom was changed not because of the changes made to the above part, but due to another reason. 2. Everything you see is relevant to the solution. $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Jan 12, 2017 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ 3. No, the spacing is not relevant. $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Jan 12, 2017 at 16:13

Since it was the only post with this cipher technique, I am going to keep it here as a community wiki and not deleting it. Might serve useful in future. :)

Following is the way to solve it -

The first image has a word saying "VIC" which says, it is using VIC Cipher which is a simple pen and paper cipher


If you know VIC Cipher, all the elements required for solving the cipher are already shown -
1. Normal letters - BCDFGHJKLMPQUVWXYZ
2. Special letters - SENORITA
3. Key shows as a Start - 24513
4. Cipher Text - 716898400042431
5. Blank Positions - Shown with highlighted numbers

Using these elements we can form Straddling checkerboard

enter image description here

Now, decoding it -

We have the cipher text as 716898400042431 and the key as 24513
enter image description here


Applying the Key MUTANT using Keyed Caesar we get
T o u s, your uncle is ofno u se. N ow t hat y ou ha ve rea ched th is f ar, l et m e te ll y ou that yo ur un cle i s loc ated i n o ne c ountry. T o rea ch th ere, th is wil l b e yo ur fin al ste p to fin d and br eak t he ser ies o f co des.
Which when arranged gives -
To us, your uncle is of no use. Now that you have reached this far, let me tell you that your uncle is located in one country. To reach there, this will be your final step to find and break the series of codes.


Taking the last word of each sentence we get - USE COUNTRY CODES

223->33->30->380->966 968->(Color pattern?)->66 93->975

OMAN -> TAJIKISTAN(Color pattern is there national color) -> THAILAND


Connecting these lines on World Map Gives-
enter image description here

Which is


Dc l t ys qcg m x vf riki cnc fz zxi! M s z u m s Al off w, Zph no .

Applying FORCE as a key to the final cipher using Vignere we get
Yo u r un cle i s ho pefu lly al ive! H e i s i n Mu mba i, Ind ia .
Which when rearranged gives -
Your uncle is hopefully alive! He is in Mumbai, India.

  • $\begingroup$ How'd you get ma=force? $\endgroup$
    – user118161
    Apr 5, 2020 at 1:24

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