14
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Sometimes a nonsense telegram makes much more sense after a methodical maneuver.
Here’s one for fun:

 - . -.. / ... .... . . - ... / ... . -. - / .... .. ... / .- -. - /
 - --- / - . . -. / ... .... . .. -.- / .. / ... .... .- -. - / .... . -..- /
 ... .. ... - . .-. / ... .- .-.. / .- ... / ... .... . / .. ... ... ..- . -.. /
 ..-. . . / ... .... .. ..-. - / .. ... / .-- . - / ... ..- . - /
 . ...- . .-. / - .. -. / ... ..- .. - / . . -.- / ... .. .-. . -.

 TED SHEETS SENT HIS ANT
 TO TEEN SHEIK I SHANT HEX
 SISTER SAL AS SHE ISSUED
 FEE SHIFT IS WET SUET
 EVER TIN SUIT EEK SIREN

 20 5 4 0 19 8 5 5 20 19 0 19 5 14 20 0 8 9 19 0 1 14 20 0
 20 15 0 20 5 5 14 0 19 8 5 9 11 0 9 0 19 8 1 14 20 0 8 5 24 0
 19 9 19 20 5 18 0 19 1 12 0 1 19 0 19 8 5 0 9 19 19 21 5 4 0
 6 5 5 0 19 8 9 6 20 0 9 19 0 23 5 20 0 19 21 5 20 0
 5 22 5 18 0 20 9 14 0 19 21 9 20 0 5 5 11 0 19 9 18 5 14

 10100 101 100 0 10011 1000 101 101 10100 10011 0 10011 101 1110 10100 0 1000 1001 10011 0 1 1110 10100 0
 10100 1111 0 10100 101 101 1110 0 10011 1000 101 1001 1011 0 1001 0 10011 1000 1 1110 10100 0 1000 101 11000 0
 10011 1001 10011 10100 101 10010 0 10011 1 1100 0 1 10011 0 10011 1000 101 0 1001 10011 10011 10101 101 100 0
 110 101 101 0 10011 1000 1001 110 10100 0 1001 10011 0 10111 101 10100 0 10011 10101 101 10100 0
 101 10110 101 10010 0 10100 1001 1110 0 10011 10101 1001 10100 0 101 101 1011 0 10011 1001 10010 101 1110

What’s that telegram really trying to tell?

Everything you need to know is below and most of the work to be done is above.

     Morse     Binary           Morse      Binary            Morse      Binary

    A  .-     1      1         J  .---   10    1010         S  ...    19   10011
    B  -...   2     10         K  -.-    11    1011         T  -      20   10100
    C  -.-.   3     11         L  .-..   12    1100         U  ..-    21   10101
    D  -..    4    100         M  --     13    1101         V  ...-   22   10110
    E  .      5    101         N  -.     14    1110         W  .--    23   10111
    F  ..-.   6    110         O  ---    15    1111         X  -..-   24   11000
    G  --.    7    111         P  .--.   16   10000         Y  -.--   25   11001
    H  ....   8   1000         Q  --.-   17   10001         Z  --..   26   11010
    I  ..     9   1001         R  .-.    18   10010      space         0     0
$\endgroup$
2
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can you confirm that the Morse, plain text, letter-numbers, and binary do actually match one another? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Apr 3 '17 at 11:52
  • $\begingroup$ All 4 transcriptions are meant to match completely (and have been proofread from many angles) $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Apr 3 '17 at 11:56
11
$\begingroup$

I can see how David Thomas got his answer as I worked it out and got the same answer, but as he hasn't added an explanation (he has now), this is how you get the answer:

The telegram is telling you

THE MORE MIRTH THE MERRIER

TL;DR

The morse code gives binary for the phrase

Detailed Explanation

The morse code represents binary, each dash is a 1 and each dot is a 0.

Converting gives:

1 0 100 / 000 0000 0 0 1 000 / 000 0 10 1 / 0000 00 000 / 01 10 1 / 1 111 / 1 0 0 10 / 000 0000 0 00 101 / 00 / 000 0000 01 10 1 / 0000 0 1001 / 000 00 000 1 0 010 / 000 01 0100 / 01 000 / 000 0000 0 / 00 000 000 001 0 100 / 0010 0 0 / 000 0000 00 0010 1 / 00 000 / 011 0 1 / 000 001 0 1 / 0 0001 0 010 / 1 00 10 / 000 001 00 1 / 0 0 101 / 000 00 010 0 10

Squishing that together gives:

10100 / 0000000001000 / 0000101 / 000000000 / 01101 / 1111 / 10010 / 0000000000101 / 00 / 000000001101 / 000001001 / 0000000010010 / 000010100 / 01000 / 00000000 / 000000000010100 / 001000 / 00000000000101 / 00000 / 01101 / 00000101 / 000010010 / 10010 / 000001001 / 00101 / 00000010010

Removing the slashes and leading zeroes, and also for any word which is comprised of only 0s, replacing it with a / to make it easier to read gives:

10100 1000 101 / 1101 1111 10010 101 / 1101 1001 10010 10100 1000 / 10100 100 101 / 1101 101 10010 10010 1001 101 10010

Now converting from binary using the table, and the / as a space gives the final phrase:

THE MORE MIRTH THE MERRIER

Red Herrings

The red herring that threw me and Gareth in chat off to start:

There are 26 words in the question, which we thought might correspond to the alphabet.

And another red herring which initially convinced Gareth to post an answer is that

The first part of the morse is -.-.. which matches the first piece of binary 10100, however this doesn't work for all the parts.

But the biggest red herring:

Everything in the telegram but the morse code is unneeded!

$\endgroup$
6
  • $\begingroup$ The other red herring that really threw me off: the first "letter" of the binary is 10100 and the first word of the Morse is -.-.. ! $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Apr 3 '17 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ I think you meant to write "26 characters" not words $\endgroup$
    – dcfyj
    Apr 3 '17 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ No, 26 words in the original text. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Apr 3 '17 at 13:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great comprehensive answer, Beastly Gerbil. Yes this was an experiment in red-herrings:actual-effort-required ratio, with the all-but-solved puzzle even beginning with a combination hint and red herring. $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Apr 3 '17 at 18:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @humn you could actually have taken this a step further, and have 'the more mirth the merrier' equal 10010 (tmmtm) and have something to do with an 'r' $\endgroup$ Apr 3 '17 at 20:34
7
$\begingroup$

Looks to me like ...

"the more mirth the merrier": with '-'=1 and '.'=0, there is one binary letter per word (with lots of distracting leading zeros), spelling out this phrase.

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1
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to puzzling! Please could you add an explanantion? $\endgroup$ Apr 3 '17 at 12:21

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