Foreword: This is a puzzle. I wouldn’t read too much into it… unless it applies to you. Below is not what you might expect from a puzzle. There are no misspelled words, no hidden Morse Codes, no translated numbers. Essentially its perfect. Okay, it might not be perfect but that was the intent.

Although it is your prerogative whether to withhold judgment, or else harass posters on their poor puzzles, please take the occasion to not embarrass yourself or start unnecessary arguments, and instead show acknowledgment that posters have given commitment to this community with indispensable entertainment. Accommodate their attempts, even if the consensus is that the existence of their puzzle is an inadvertent duplicate, or that their riddles are dependent upon information not privileged to readers. Perseverance is necessary, and even with the occurrence of bad posts, anyone can eventually improve. By all means proceed with voting them down, but you do not have license to insult other members. There are times when it is necessary to keep personal opinions separate from what you write.

Well with that rant over, here’s the important part.

•◘ ♦☺ ♪♥ §☺ ☺♦ ►♥ ☼♠ ♥♥ ◙♀ ¶♦ ♀○ ↕♦ ♂♥ ◘♥ ◄♦


There is a direct correlation between the symbol pairs and specific words in the above "rant".

  • $\begingroup$ In my edits I left out a pretty important part of the puzzle from the forward.. I've added it back in. $\endgroup$ – mkinson Feb 9 '17 at 16:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "forward": how ironic. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 9 '17 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ haha, woops. Foreword. $\endgroup$ – mkinson Feb 9 '17 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ (I should say that although I've noticed the Obvious Thing, it's still far from clear to me how to use it to solve the puzzle.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 9 '17 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ And what are we supposed to make of the fact that the foreword contains two punctuation eros — I mean errors? $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Feb 11 '17 at 19:25

The "rant" is full of

infamously often-misspelled words.

Here's a list of

such words therein, in order of appearance, each preceded by an attempt to indicate what error is commonest, represented by a wrong letter and its correction. It's not always obvious whether a word should be considered commonly-misspelled; OP has given me a bunch of hints towards the set they had in mind, and perhaps I've more or less got it now.


- r prerogative [NOTE: this might be "whether" instead; doesn't make any difference which we choose]
- h withhold
e - judgment
r - harass
s - occasion
- r embarrass
- e argument
- w acknowledgement
t - commitment
i a indispensable
- m accommodate
c s consensus
a e existence
a e inadvertent
a e dependent
e i privileged
e a perseverance
- r occurrence
? ? proceed
c s license
e a separate

Now let's take a look at those weird characters.

They are all from the earliest region of the old IBM "code page 437" as found on old PCs. If I've got 'em right, their character codes are: 7 8 4 1 13 3 21 1 1 4 16 3 15 6 3 3 10 12 20 4 12 9 18 4 11 3 8 3 17 4. (The second could have been 2 rather than 8, but it turns out that 8 works and 2 doesn't.) Notice that they fall into pairs where the second number in each pair is rather small, and in particular is no greater than the number of letters in the commonly-misspelled word whose position is given by the first number.

Doing the obvious thing we get


and the conclusion we are clearly intended to reach is that


Note: There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing before reaching the analysis above, whose traces those with sufficient privileges can see in the edit history and everyone can see in the comments below. Thanks to OP for being patient with my fumblings.

  • $\begingroup$ You are extremely close, however some of the words you've selected are not supposed to be there (3 of them to be exact) and there are 3 others you missed. Find those 6 and you're about done. 21 words in total. $\endgroup$ – mkinson Feb 9 '17 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ And kudo's on the codes. $\endgroup$ – mkinson Feb 9 '17 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ OK, I removed (a guess at) the 3 least plausible words on my list and added (a guess at) three runners-up. Right now I'm none the wiser as to what to do with them, but maybe inspiration will strike :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 9 '17 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ I would go back and not remove any of your words. Perhaps focus on adding possible new ones, and then going from there. There should be enough information at that point in order to find what you're looking for. $\endgroup$ – mkinson Feb 9 '17 at 16:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Oh, duh, that's a thing I should have thought of for sure. I think my list of words is still not the same as yours, but that's probably fixable. (Not right now, though; it's ~2.30am local time and I need to go to bed.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 15 '18 at 2:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.