# The horrible wordsearch: Can you decypher the word-search puzzle to find the final clue?

This will be a tricky one, I think. The whole puzzle is self-contained in the information between the two horizontal bars below.

The answer to this riddle is a book title of 5 words. The book is rather well known literature and can be legally obtained for free as e-book.

The word search-puzzle comes with a few important clues (see below), but there is no additional information to this puzzle outside the two horizontal bars.

Can you find the 5-word-title ?

The whole puzzle and the book title are in English. Although there are several "stages" to this puzzle, you will need to look at the puzzle as a whole, i.e. the additional clues may not be disregarded. (Or you will not solve this puzzle.)

Words are born as letters, but they reach adulthood when they are six. (And this puzzle is not child's play!)

You find us from East to West and West to East, from North to South and South to North. And in between, can we also be seen. We do not jump, we do not bend, a straight line we form, from start to end.

C E O F K O S D B R P
Y L T O I W G U M S R
J E S P B O U A A K W
W I L U W S D G J T E
A N E A Q L H K G Y N
D N A S Y S C Y L P L
Z O K L O E D T L W Z
N U G S Y C O F A R T
F E H U F D S T L E S
J U P H Z V H R T Y U
W V C X V Y E Y C A D


We meet at Waterloo station.

__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __

B*H***
B***KF***
H****H-*UG
**F**QU***
M*****G*
*********
P**K**
******
U*U****
V******


• I found "FART," but I'm not sure that's in the answer. Did Dickens ever write a book of poo jokes? – tjbtech Nov 30 '14 at 19:20
• Liking it very much! "It was the best of wordsearches, it was the worst of wordsearches". – A E Nov 30 '14 at 19:48
• @Kevin, ah, I see. Given the 'cryptogram' tag I've been assuming that something more complicated was going on. ;) Checked wordsearch for all 25 variations of Caeser cipher, nothing jumped out at me. Is there a Waterloo-related cipher? Or maybe try 'Waterloo' as a keyword for something like vigenere? A cipher used at the battle of Waterloo maybe? – A E Nov 30 '14 at 20:30
• @Victor - If you want to include "A", you should include "I" too! And what's "BSOD" doing there?? – Rand al'Thor Nov 30 '14 at 21:12
• Blue Screen Of Death – A E Nov 30 '14 at 21:15

I have part of the puzzle:

The Arrows:

A <--> O
D <--> R
E <--> S
C <--> T
N <--> L
I <--> Y

The Words:

Behind
Breakfast
Hearth-Rug
Infrequent
Mornings
Occasions
Picked
Seated
Usually
Visitor

(The following text is taken from xnor's answer as he finished the solution. This answer is marked as accepted as the majority of the grunt-work was done by Warlord --Joe)

From there, I simply

This led me to

The first paragraph of The Hounds of Baskerville, a story featuring Sherlock Holmes, which contains these words.

As confirmation as to the answer

the first chapter contains references to meeting at Waterloo Station.

I feel like I disregarded some information in my solution, so I'm curious if this is how it was intended to be solved.

• Man, I've been looking for the right letters to swap the whole day. How did you find the right ones? – Aioros Dec 1 '14 at 20:57
• Yes, perfect first part. Don't forget the clues and you'll get further... +1 from me – BmyGuest Dec 1 '14 at 21:18
• @Aioros Looking at the words list I was all but positive the "B___KF____" had to be breakfast, so I just looked to try and make breakfast appear in the puzzle. – Warlord 099 Dec 1 '14 at 21:26
• Great start! I've been trying to make sense of why those 12 letters are chosen to be swapped (ACDEILNORSTY), 12 are revealed (BFGHKMPQUV), and 4 are neither (JWXZ). They seem far from random: the revealed ones are common letters, but the traditional ETAOIN SHRDLU has a U rather than a Y. I thought of some proxies for commonness, but none of them fit either: Scrabble value, Morse code length, dots in Braille. The last two would also have a notion of complementation. – xnor Dec 2 '14 at 4:07

Warlord 099's answer took me almost the whole way there. It suggests to:

fill in partial words like B***KF*** into words like BREAKFAST, then find them in the grid with a set of substitutions. For example, it becomes BDSOKFOEC, a string found backwards in the top row of the words search, with the substitutions D<->R, S<->E, O<->A. C<->T. Presumably, Warlord 099 found these by looking for snippets in the word search and finding consistent substitutions.

From there, I simply

This led me to

The first paragraph of The Hounds of Baskerville, a story featuring Sherlock Holmes, which contains these words.

As confirmation as to the answer

the first chapter contains references to meeting at Waterloo Station.

I feel like I disregarded some information in my solution, so I'm curious if this is how it was intended to be solved.

• I will add a small missing part here (it doesn't feel right to post a new answer since you two did the biggest part of the job): the letters to be swapped compose the words TRAINS and CDOYLE. Damn, I was so close yesterday, I wa trying something generic like trains and people. Well, great job anyway. – Aioros Dec 2 '14 at 8:43
• Oh, and just a small petty correction: the title is "The Hound of the Baskervilles". Otherwise it wouldn't really be a 5-words title :) – Aioros Dec 2 '14 at 8:50
• @Warlord099 Well done all of you, between the 3 of you (Warlord099, Xnor, Aioros) you've solved the complete puzzle. It is hard to attribute the sole victory in this case, but I'm tempted to accept Warlord's solution if he edits the title in with reference to Xnor. Would you agree? +1 on the comments and posts of all three of you. I'm also going to post "my" answer, because I want to explain the deductions route I thought would lead to the solution. – BmyGuest Dec 2 '14 at 9:11
• @BmyGuest I think Warlord099 should get the accept for doing the brunt of the work -- I just Googled his results. Please do post your solution. I'm very curious how it goes. – xnor Dec 2 '14 at 9:13
• You googled the words? Sadly, I never would have thought of that.... I was looking for a pattern out of the remaining letters in the puzzle... – Warlord 099 Dec 2 '14 at 14:08

This is the solution as intended. The puzzle has been properly solved in a somewhat joint attempt between Warlord 099, Xnor and Aioros. I feel I should post this solution here for completeness sake:

# The hints:

The first two hints are auxiliary to narrow down the word search. They were edited in after I realized that the possibilities of the word-search might have been too many, if "anything allowed" has to be assumed.

Words are born as letters, but they reach adulthood when they are six.
(And this puzzle is not child's play!)


Simply a hint to disregard words with less than 6 letters in this puzzle. This is valid for both the word-search and then the book-search

You find us from East to West and West to East, from North to South and South to North.
And in between, can we also be seen.
We do not jump, we do not bend, a straight line we form, from start to end.


Another clarification hint to narrow down the puzzle a bit. Indicates that the word-search is a standard 8-direction-straight-line-no-steps search in the grid.

The next hint is a critical one for the book-search. I think it is a real key-hint.

We meet at Waterloo station.


Who is we? Well, what meets at a station? Trains. The word is needed further down. Waterloo is a smaller hint towards the geographic area but it is not really needed. Central Station would have been as good, but I wanted it a bit more themed. (Aioros figured that hint out. Well done.)

## The word-search

This really was a crypto-word-search, so the additional clues needed where:

__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __
__ <-> __


6 letter pairs are switched in this puzzle! Find those 6 pairs, and you've nearly solved it.

B*H***
B***KF***
H****H-*UG
**F**QU***
M*****G*
*********
P**K**
******
U*U****
V******


Those where the 10 words actually hidden in the word-search. I thought it would be pretty obvious, but it turned out, that many thought in a different direction. The * indicate letters which where of the switched pairs while the "fixed" letters are given.

The idea was...

...that one could still find the pattern in the word-search, which would then give 10 words with mangled letters (sometimes more than one alternative, but never too many), and one could then solve this like a simple replacement cypher. i.e. the last word could only fit in two places of the puzzle and could only have been one of the following according to the word search: VYEYCAD or VDCESLS.

The way to find them...

It is potentially easiest to first highlight the letters which are not changed, i.e. BHKFUGQMPV.

This gives:

Next:

If you match the pattern, of the given words, there are really only very few places they would fit. Some letters appear very rarely, and the space is limited. For example, there is only one place where the pattern B*H of the first word fits.

Example:

If you follow this through, you'll find all words:

You now have to solve the replacement-cypher with a bit of 'feeling' for English words. This gives you all 6 letter-pairs as discovered by Warlord 099. (Although he seems to have started out with the word breakfast regardless of the word-search!).

If you'd sort in alphabetic increasing order, this would give:

But now you need the word found from the important clue, giving you:

Which brings you to the final part of the puzzle:

C.Doyle is a rather known author and 'father' of Sherlock Holmes. The words found in the word-search appear an odd choice? Well, those are the first 10 words (of more than 5 letters) of one of the Sherlock books.

i.e.

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before.

## The solution

The title of that book: The Hound of the Baskervilles

## CONCLUSIONS

In the spirit of this site, I would like to invite others to comment (in this answer) how they like the puzzle; how deductive they think it is; if they could solve it, and if so because of what clues; what could be improved etc. etc.

• First of all, this was a fun and well thought puzzle, which is actually still rare on this site. I think I might have gone with the "pattern recognition" if only I hadn't failed to notice the Q and the U that were diagonally close. For some reason I couldn't for the life of me see them, so I thought there was some kind of scrambling around, too. I think the hard thing about this puzzle (for me) was the fact that it is - as you said - a whole, and not really a sequence of separate parts. But it was definitely doable, and well constructed. – Aioros Dec 2 '14 at 10:52
• Wow, great puzzle! And great teamwork from the solvers too. I think this is one of the best puzzles on the site, personally. It's original, it's solvable - fab. – A E Dec 2 '14 at 11:52
• Actually the word starting with a 'V' could have been anywhere in the puzzle since 'V' potentially could have switched with any other letter... – Warlord 099 Dec 2 '14 at 14:12
• Oh I see... You would have to make the assumption that the letters given as clues are not subject to be changed. I did not make that assumption. – Warlord 099 Dec 2 '14 at 14:14
• That assumption was not obvious, but could be noticed: once you recognize "breakfast", "hearth-rug", "infrequent", you may realize that the hidden letters are the same in all words. I think it was a fair step. – Aioros Dec 2 '14 at 14:22