Detective Sherlock, known for his amazing adventures, went through a distressful time in his life. It was like he had lost interest in solving his cases. For straight six days, he was under a lot of discomfort. During the same time, he wrote himself a few letters. He hoped that the letters might bring back his lost interest in solving the cases. He named the letters as

"What am I missing?"


MAR 14 1992, As radical as it may sound, I am a spy. It was just a start of my day. My soul was all lost as if I was sadly absorbing and analyzing things. My skull was spinning similar to a tornado. I was not logy though. I was dizzy. I was looking for a thing. A thing which controls my instincts. No, not drugs. A lot of finding and finally I found it. It was nothing but my Oxford dictionary. I thought this may hold particular basis of my catastrophic condition. But no. Its not. I was wrong in assuming that. Similar thoughts again took on, quibbling in my brain. I am missing much important thing and I can't think...What's wrong? Is it a tumor in my brain or just random thoughts? Or kind of complication? At this point, I just know north and south. Nothing much than this. Argh, I am going mad with this thing bugging. And I am going to find it out. I want you to hold my hand. Show up soon or I might just pass away with this obnoxious thing I am craving for. Awaiting.


Good day Sherlock. Oh, what a terrible day that was. I am glad that I was able to catch some sleep. Oh yeah, I discovered what I was up to. I might fail to tell you. You figure it out yourselves. Just remember that I am ecstatic, expressive plus positive. While the day passed by pretty well, my guts say that the rest of the day will be dramatic. I passed some time just like that. Grabbed a bucket of chips with a movie called Zero Dark Thirty. I got a math book but failed to remember what a = b + c or c = d * x tell me. I am a failure. Complete failure. It was already too late, so I decided to go back to my bed. The time just stopped. It was like I have failed to recollect every little piece of the lost stuff. I was awake all the time. I see the rays of light visited my bed. I feel quite weak as well as disgusted with the lack of sleep. I must start to look for the rest of the part.


Oh, my eyes hurt today. Though most of the day was wretched, let me try to express a few sequence of events. The day as you know, started really bad. The lack of sleep has made me really really weak. Found another part a couple of hours back but now, lost myself once and for all. That's what my senses tell me. Seems pretty bad perhaps. Yes, that's what seems to be lost here. Can't remember any other better events. There was a documentary about some crazy monkeys that showed up on TV today. Spent a few hours on that and that's all. Not a small part of the day went good. To be myself, the smart guy, to start afresh, need to search for the unknown. May the forgotten part of the mystery come back to me. Told myself "Just hold on to your nerves and sleep well Sherlock."


Perfect day. Isn't it? Okay. I am up. Its like a dream made my day. Not sure what I dreamed of, but certainly it was what helped me find my lost interest today. I am more expressive today. Seems like my enthusiasm and zeal have returned back to normal. The rest of the day passed handsomely well until I bumped upon an animal outside the house. Was it a sheep? Not sure. I can't think of its name. I came back in. I was all in with my daily routine. I switched on the T.V and I can see the documentary about the wall the Chinese built. But, can't recollect its name. What the hell? Have I lost my IQ here? Definitely this has to do with the lost cause. I feel just fine and healthy but I can't remember some pretty common names. Its dark. Time to sleep and think about the part I need to find. It seems like distress has made a home in my brain and just don't want to leave it.


I say, Bonjour Sherlock. As soon as woke up, I opened up the drawer of the cabinet. And I found it. Great! Geared up once again. Thanks to the sixth sense I recollected with a fresh start of the day. With that, I also discovered a photo. I was confused a little. I could see dad standing with a lady. Who was that lady? What was she doing with dad? I have zero knowledge of what was going on. But the fact was, I was not able to identify a person. Probably, a very close person. I looked at the watch. Well, question here is, a digital watch? When did I purchase that? And wait...What is the hour of the day? Oh god. Things have started to fall out of place once again. I can't get heads or tails of that watch. I spent the rest of the day doing nothing but just thinking of the last few bits of the thing I have been finding since last few days. I hope to find it very soon. Let us see.


Little bit of love could help me I think. Oh, Hey Sherlock! I feel, you might be very close to discovering the missing thing. This letter should end up your suffering. You will return like the Sherlock you were once. You will be often busy, but remember, whenever you will low, just look for these letters. They will guide you when you lose interest. They will criticize your strengths but will help you solve your problems. They will source you with some struggle, but in the end, you being the eccentric detective need not worry. You will conquer. You will win. This is the end. I might not be here to tell you more. If you figure out my rest of the letters, this should be like piece of cherry. Excuse me for now. I rest my pen here. I now know the thing I missed forever this time. Hopefully, you will find it too.

Can you find what Sherlock was missing?


1 Answer 1


Each entry in Sherlock's diary is ...

... a lipogram: It uses every letter of the alphabet except one. The first paragraph doesn't have an E, for example, and the the third paragraph doesn't have an I.

The missing letters of each paragraph form the word ENIGMA.

Edit: How did I find it?

There's a hint hidden in the diary: If you take the MAR from the first entry and the first letters of the following entries and read them backwards, you get LIPOGRAM.

I didn't see the hint, though, thereby probably annoying Techidiot no end. (Sorry about that!) I was reminded of this older puzzle here on PSE. Uncommon words and expressions like IQ and the use of x as variable stand out, so that angle was worth investigating.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @M Oehm Oh, you jumped over my hint once again :-) Check the first capitalized letters of each letter going upwards. That was too quick. $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:46
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Hints, Shmints! :) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 9:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hah. Anyway, can you add that to your answer? Also can you add a little bit about how you figured out what to do? And thanks for solving :-) $\endgroup$
    – Techidiot
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 10:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yeah the hint was the first capitalize letter, or set of capitalized letters, in each entry say LIPOGRAM going upwards $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 11:59

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