Inspired by Engineer Toast's "The Hyper-Modern Kidnapper" series, and NextTimeDW's "Great Puzzling Trophy" trilogy, I've decided to have a go at creating my own story-based puzzle series. I hope you enjoy it.

It's another uneventful afternoon at the Bureau. With no major crimes to investigate, you're stuck filing paperwork and trying not to fall asleep. Being a senior detective in the FBI isn't as exciting as the TV shows make it out to be.

As you stamp yet another form, an anonymous fax comes through. Curious. Who sends fax messages these days? Well, whatever it is, it's probably more interesting than these forms. You tear the piece of paper from the machine and read it:

Greetings, detective! So, I'm sure you and your friends at the Bureau have been wondering why you haven't seen me around lately! Oh, I've been busy with this and that... but first things first, detective, I'd like to play a game! Can you thwart my latest, greatest heist? The key is in my name!

Usually I don't hand out hints like this, but I'm sure you'll agree, detective, things have been far too... boring lately. So why don't we spice things up a little, with a nice game of Cat-and-Mouse?


You're puzzled at first, but as you read the message's signature, your hands ball into angry fists, crumpling the sides of the paper. El Gato is the most infamous jewel thief in the country; he's struck a dozen times, and each time he's gotten away cleanly, leaving nothing behind but a taunting, cryptic message, much like the one you now hold in your hands.

But this is the first time El Gato has left a message before committing a heist. He really must be bored of running rings round the Bureau. Perfectly happy to put his running to an end, you push your half-finished stack of paperwork to one side and lay the fax message out neatly on the desk. If he's challenging you to thwart his next heist, then he must have hidden some information about it somewhere in this fax...

Where is El Gato planning to strike next?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nice little puzzle :-) +1 $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 8:24

3 Answers 3


"Fire up the jet boys, we're hot on the tail of El Gato! We're heading to..."



"first things first" - Collect the first letter of every sentence. = GSOCTUS
"The key is in my name!" - Decrypt the phase using a Vigenere cipher with key "ELGATO"

Carry-on luggage only please!

  • $\begingroup$ Perfect! Nicely done. "The key is in my name" seemed to trip people up more than I thought it would. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:03
  • $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy They were both new users, don't worry that thought. Everyone approaches puzzles differently. Someone will always go the wrong way. If everyone messes up then you can bring them back later with a hint. No rush on the hints. Make sure everyone has lots of opportunity to work on it. $\endgroup$
    – LeppyR64
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 9:24

First time poster, so hopefully I've formatted this correctly.

I think that he will strike at the Bureau. El Gato means The Cat, and the detective is challenged to a game of Cat-and-Mouse. This means that The Detective is going be The Mouse in this game.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! Why does that make you think the Bureau is the right answer? $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome! Sadly that's incorrect - technically, El Gato is actually the mouse in the game, since he's the one being chased. Nice thought, though. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:07

Not a full solution but I think I have most of the easy stuff

El Gato is a Spanish cat burglar, cat = gato. Cat burglars generally steal from tall buildings, that is how the name came about, so likely some tall building with lots of jewels (or maybe one big one). And because he is sending the message to the FBI it is probably a safe bet he is going after someplace in the USA.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, you're right about it being someplace in the USA, but the rest of your reasoning is pretty much irrelevant to the solution. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ I better but my thinking cap on then $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ NB. a cat burglar is adept at entering and exiting places without notice; high buildings are not a requirement of this trait. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 20:17

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