A new club has recently opened downtown. You're not usually a clubbing person, but what catches your attention about this one is that apparently, instead of having to present your ID to get in, you have to solve a puzzle. Intrigued by this prospect, you decide to check it out.

When you arrive, there are two men already queuing up outside. The first man approaches the bouncer who, instead of asking for ID, hands the man a small piece of paper. The man takes the piece of paper, mulls it over for a minute or so, then declares, "Pagoda". The bouncer lets him in.

The second man is also handed a piece of paper, and looks thoroughly baffled by whatever is written on it. It takes him quite some time and a little note-taking to work it out, but he eventually exclaims, "Oh! 'A German am I'!" The bouncer lets him in.

Curious as to what the puzzle could be, you approach the bouncer for your turn. You see that he is wearing a name tag reading "BOB". He wordlessly hands you a piece of paper with the following note:


What do you say to bouncer Bob?

Bonus: What was written on the other two pieces of paper?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What do you say to the bouncer Bob: 'Let me in, pretty please?' :) $\endgroup$ Feb 15, 2017 at 12:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I half-expected someone to suggest that... no, that would not work. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Feb 15, 2017 at 12:56
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ "You're not usually a clubbing person, but what catches your attention about this one is that [...] you have to solve a puzzle." I think you've nailed the PSE demographic there ;-) $\endgroup$ Feb 15, 2017 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


I say:

Nine men, I nod.


The first answer, "Pagoda," fits after the phrase "A dog, a panic in a" to make it palindromic.
The second answer: "I man, am regal. [A german am I]"
The question posed is "Do nine men interpret" via what looks like a substitution cipher. The answer is the phrase that creates a palindrome out of the phrase on the paper.


I can only go as far as "A dog, a panic, in a" and "I man am regal." I can't definitively reconstruct the substitution cipher text because the cipher that I do have is missing A, G, C and L.

But, as OP says, this substitution cipher is actually a keyword cipher using the word "palindrome" as the key. Using that, here's what the first two sheets said:

Special thanks to

Bob. Not only is his name a palindrome, but the Weird Al song of the same name uses only palindromes for lyrics, and all three of these are included.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Obligatory plug for this excellent puzzle and its solution. $\endgroup$ Feb 15, 2017 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ Nicely done! Since you got the bonus anyway, I'll tell you: it's actually a keyword cipher, with "PALINDROME" as the key. And @rand al'thor, that is definitely an excellent puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Feb 15, 2017 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ Nice! +1 Two palindrome solutions in 2 days :D $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Feb 15, 2017 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Added the cipher text into the answer for completeness $\endgroup$
    – Matt
    Feb 15, 2017 at 14:44

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