# A man I met at a bathhouse that would have been totally quiet if not for the rain outside

DISCLAIMER: This is a mostly fictional story.

It's been an incredibly busy start to the year, I've barely had time to rest or relax.
So, when I had a free Saturday night a few weeks ago, I went to seek some calm at my local bathhouse, where I met a curious man who asked, out of the blue:
'You like riddles, don't you?'
At first slightly annoyed at being disturbed, and then intrigued by the fact that I may hear an interesting puzzle, I replied 'I do indeed!'
He said, 'Here is one for you.'

Begin with this language without silence.....
Then, a spirit without the beginning of spirit....
Then, finish...
And then, a teacher without option....

He added, 'Perhaps even then you will not understand, but when you see who I am and what you will find me in, you will have no doubt it is the answer.'

I thought about the riddle quietly as we sat there in the steam, but I couldn't seem to make sense of these clues. As we began to leave, I conceded defeat. He gave me no closure, instead telling me that it was lovely to see me around, and that he hoped he would see me again soon.

It's been half a month since I met the strange man, and I think I know now who he is.

...I sometimes wonder why he was at that bathhouse on that cloudy weekend evening.
I suppose that's a riddle for some other time.

• Is the story relevant to solving this? Specifically the part of the story above the riddle? – Techidiot Feb 27 '17 at 11:56
• As per usual, the yellowed text is the only text required to solve the riddle. Everything else (the story parts) is extra, and could help confirm your answer, but is definitely unnecessary to solve the riddle. I just tagged this 'story' because I feel like it is, although perhaps not 100% to the tag description, very appropriate for this puzzle. – TheGreatEscaper Feb 27 '17 at 11:57
• steganography? where? – Kate Gregory Feb 27 '17 at 16:41
• @KateGregory Number of ellipses after a line is the enumeration. – TheGreatEscaper Feb 27 '17 at 23:41

The four lines are ...

... wordplay and each line designates a fragemnt that doesn't have to be a real word:

Begin with this language without silence — ENGLI (English without Sh!)
Then, a spirit without the beginning of spirit — GHOT (Ghost without S)
Then, finish — END (plain)
And then, a teacher without option — MENT (Mentor minus Or)

These pieces ...

... can now be put together to give:

ENGLI GHOT END MENT

This is Enlightenment with God interspersed.

So the man was ...

... God and finding the solution to the riddle is Enlightenment.

• This was my search a few seconds back :) Nice! +1 – Techidiot Feb 27 '17 at 13:45
• @Techidiot: Thanks for paving the road to enlightenment. :) – M Oehm Feb 27 '17 at 14:01

Very partial(mostly the idea and some stretches which could be completely wrong)

Every line looks like a kind of wordplay. Also, the number of dots placed after each sentence see to be the length of the word we need to find.(Idea by @F1Crazy)

Begin with this language without silence.....

This language -> ENGLISH without silence -> ENGLISH -> ENGLI(5)

Then, a spirit without the beginning of spirit....

SPIRIT -> GHOST -> HOST(4) (Suggested by @Silenus) OR
SPUNK -> SPUNK (Without beginning of Spirit) -> PUNK(4)
Other words could be BOSOM(BOOM), SNIFF(NIFF).

Then, finish...

END(3)

And then, a teacher without option....

MENTOR -> MENTOR -> MENT(4)

• Maybe "a teacher without uncertainty" clues the removal of "UM" or "ER" from "teacher" or a synonym. – GoldenGremlin Feb 27 '17 at 12:39
• "spirit without the beginning of spirit" could also be "(g)HOST" or "(g)IN" and probably many other things. – GoldenGremlin Feb 27 '17 at 12:41
• On the right track! Won't confirm or deny any of the answers yet, but I might add the 'steganography' tag since there's a detail which hasn't been noticed yet. – TheGreatEscaper Feb 27 '17 at 12:44
• @Silenus Yeah. Taking synonym's and making a meaningful word gives many possibilities. – Techidiot Feb 27 '17 at 12:44
• The steganography is very minor, just look for the single weird detail about the yellowed text, and then that should confirm/deny some of your answers. – TheGreatEscaper Feb 27 '17 at 12:52

Possibly a bit of a stretch for the second line:

Then, a spirit without the beginning of spirit....

GHOT, or ghost (a spirit) without S (the beginning of spirit). Sounds meaningless, save for the suggestion that, given the correct selection of phonemes, FISH can be spelled GHOTI (GH from cough, O from women, and TI from action). This might then be pronounced 'fit', or might be waiting for an extra I from elsewhere

• Not sure where the phoneme speculation is coming from, but check out Techidiot's answers to the other three, and see if you can spot anything :) – TheGreatEscaper Feb 27 '17 at 13:31