This is part 2 of There's Been a Kidnapping, the ongoing saga of our intrepid hero, Mr. Alfred C. Bacon

The police have finally ponied up and gone to Mr. Jordan T. Mortz's house! They scoured every corner of it, and found scant incriminating evidence, beyond a single handwritten piece of paper, in the handwriting of none other than our beloved puzzler, Mr. Bacon!

Listed on the piece of paper are a few sites:

Carlsbad Caverns + 0
Graceland - 0
The Alamo + 0
Clemson University - 0
Wrigley Field + 1 
Zion National Park - 1
Pearl Harbor + 1
Bourbon Street - 1
Multnomah Falls + 0 

Because of the nature of the last puzzle the befuddled our detectives, they have wasted no time in once again returning to you, the denizens of puzzling.se! They will continue to scour the home for any further clues, but if they have any hope of finding Alfie, it will reside firmly in your hands.

Can you find the name of the famous place to which Alfred has been spirited away by Mr. Mortz?

Hint 1: The police believe that

the location of the sites may hold the key to the puzzle.

Hint 2: The police have handed you an evidence bag. They believe that it may have been helpful in creating the riddle at one point. This is the what's in the bag:

Nokia 3310

There are no fingerprints besides Alfie's on it.

Hint 3:


I don't *think* this puzzle is as difficult as the last one, but it still is a bit of a riddle, I'm sure. There's definitely not as many misleading clues. It will, of course, require some outside of the box thinking, but I believe it should be doable without any further research. There will be one hint late this week/early next week if no one has solved it by then, but I don't think more than that will be required.

Edit: Just kidding. I'll give the hint above now, and then next week, I'll give a couple more as necessary.

  • $\begingroup$ Anyone interested in another entry in Mr. Bacon's adventure? $\endgroup$
    – phroureo
    Jan 4, 2018 at 19:40

3 Answers 3


You will find Mr. Bacon at:

Mount Saint Helens

My process:

Hint 3 indicates that the +/- 1 states should be replaced with the next/previous state alphabetically. The +/- 0 is effectively a red herring. This results in a state list:

NM+0 = NM
TN-0 = TN
TX+0 = TX
SC-0 = SC
IL+1 = IN
UT-1 = TX
HI+1 = ID
LA-1 = KY
OR+0 = OR
From Hint 2, converting these states from T9 predictive text back into a number yeilds:
Running the first few digits through Barker's T9 Engine I got:
66868 = MOUNT
668689 = MOUNTY ?
668689 724689 = MOUNTY SAINTY ?
At this point it became clear that '9' is being used as a whitespace character, and the entire message reads:
66868 72468 435 67 = MOUNT SAINT HEL NS

Side note: It's possible that the intended answer is
indicating Mt. St. Helens, Oregon - but since the volcano is actually in Washington my guess is that's as close as Mr. Bacon could get to writing out the whole word with only 2-character state abbreviations.

  • $\begingroup$ Apparently, I had a 9 instead of a 3 for the last E. Nevertheless, well reasoned! (Although there is no state abbreviation that meets the 53 of LE, so let's all pretend it was intentional. :) $\endgroup$
    – phroureo
    Dec 5, 2017 at 19:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Well done, freon! But I can't help thinking that Mr Bacon's messages are death wishes rather than helpful hints to the police. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Dec 6, 2017 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ Does anyone know a good psychiatrist? ;) $\endgroup$
    – phroureo
    Dec 11, 2017 at 17:25

[This is only a partial answer.]

The places on the list ...

... are locations in the United States. The first hint tells us that the location is important (and not, say, the first letters of the places). This could mean that the coordinates are used, but some of the places are quite extensive.

I think we need to find the state each site is located in and then take its two-letter postal code. The name of the kidnapper, Jordan T. Mortz, hints at Morse code. The addition or subtraction of either 0 or 1 could be a hint at binary representations.

So, convert the staes' postal codes to Morse, then replace dots with zero, dashes with one. Then either append a digit or remove the last digit. (The subtractions explicitly tell which digit should be removed, and in all four cases it is the last digit of the binary Morse representation of the state. That makes he hopeful that I could be on to something.)

The result is:

    Carlsbad Caverns NM    -. --       10 11     + 0 : 10110
           Graceland TN     - -.        1 10     - 0 : 11
           The Alamo TX     - -..-      1 1001   + 0 : 110010
  Clemson University SC   ... -.-.    000 1010   - 0 : 000101
       Wrigley Field IL    .. .-..     00 0100   + 1 : 0001001 
  Zion National Park UT   ..- -       001 1      - 1 : 001
        Pearl Harbor HI  .... ..     0000 00     + 1 : 0000001
      Bourbon Street LA  .-.. .-     0100 01     - 1 : 01000
     Multnomah Falls OR   --- .-.     111 010    + 0 : 1110100
There are 48 bits on the right. Concatenating them yields:

1011 0111 1001 0000 1010 0010 0100 1000 0001 0100 0111 0100

The subdivision into four-digit blocks is purely cosmetical. The bits lend themselves to be interpreted as blocks of six or eight. I haven't found out what these digits represent yet.

Eight bits could mean ASCII, but some of the bytes have to top bit set. That bit is clear in ASCII. It could be UTF-8, but I doubt it. Six bits could mean Braille (in vertical or horizontal aggangement) or base-64 characters. The messahe might even be a regular Bacon cipher with three excess letters, but given the meticulous digit tampering, I don't really think it is.

Perhaps concatenating the bits is wrong. The different lengths of the code for each line doesn't really suggest reading column-wise and the wide range of results when the code in each line is interpreted as binary (1 to 116) doesn't look promising, either.

But wait! Why were these exact location chosen?

Hmmm, perhaps we should sort the list alphabetically first:

      Bourbon Street LA  .-.. .-     0100 01     - 1 : 01000
    Carlsbad Caverns NM    -. --       10 11     + 0 : 10110
  Clemson University SC   ... -.-.    000 1010   - 0 : 000101
           Graceland TN     - -.        1 10     - 0 : 11
     Multnomah Falls OR   --- .-.     111 010    + 0 : 1110100
        Pearl Harbor HI  .... ..     0000 00     + 1 : 0000001
           The Alamo TX     - -..-      1 1001   + 0 : 110010
       Wrigley Field IL    .. .-..     00 0100   + 1 : 0001001 
  Zion National Park UT   ..- -       001 1      - 1 : 001
This arrangement gives:

0100 0101 1000 0101 1111 1010 0000 0001 1100 1000 
I can't find anything useful here, either.

  • $\begingroup$ I thought it would be trite/cliche to re-use binary after my last puzzle. Good try though! (And you do have at least ONE important element in there!) $\endgroup$
    – phroureo
    Nov 13, 2017 at 16:25

Some thoughts based on the new clue and M Oehm's answer:

The phone seems to indicate the cipher will use the letter/number relationship on a phone keypad. Specifically, the choice of a Nokia brick (one of the greatest phones of all time) suggests T9 predictive text may be an option. Specifically, I think we should be using the state abbreviations M Oehm suggested in conjunction with the predictive text.

As for the +/- 0/1s:

For T9-predictive, 0 indicated a space, so the + 0 could be indicating the end of words. However, as the list is currently laid out, that would make a lot of very short words at the beginning and a long one at the end, so I think M Oehm is also correct that the states should be put in alphabetical order by location. This would give us with T9 predictive:

 5266      JAMO, JANN, KANO, KAON
 4489      HITZ
 4588      GLUT  
Which doesn't stand out to me as meaningful, but we still haven't looked at the +/- 1s. In T9-predictive, 1 was punctuation (at least on my old phone), but that seems like too much punctuation for such a short phrase. I considered that the +/- 1s might be literal, but that would make the second number a 1, which doesn't make much sense for translation.

  • $\begingroup$ You're on to something! You're missing what the +/- 0/1 means, though. :) $\endgroup$
    – phroureo
    Nov 14, 2017 at 22:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.