I've just received this strange email from my boss at work. It's funny, because while he hasn't shown up in a couple days, I've never said anything about, like, kidnapping (honestly, it is a rather silly idea). It's also written not in his usual style at all. I'm not sure what to make of it. Maybe you can help me figure out what's going on here?

Dear Mith,

How are you doing? I know you’ve been worried about me this week. Don’t. Really I’m perfectly all right, it’s not like I’ve vanished off the planet I received an email from Mr. Gerbil today bright kid, I like his writing style

He said that you had expressed a fear that I had actually been… kidnapped Honestly isn’t that silly?

I’m disappointed. You really should know better. People don’t just get kidnapped – you’ve been watching too many Hollywood movies. Perhaps you should take a break, if you’re becoming paranoid like this.

I can understand why you jumped to that conclusion, however – disregarding correctness. I did disappear suddenly, indeed – I should’ve told you. But I’m just taking a much-needed beach vacation, nothing to worry about. Delightful.

Now. Yes, that silly prank letter from my friends was not really acceptable. I’ll talk to them about it. Promise.

But really, no need to worry – despite that letter demanding a ransom from the company’s many wealthy members. Pay no mind to it – as I stated earlier, it was just a practical joke. I don’t want you to pull out that white beard over me, dear Storm Crow. And hopefully I haven’t confused you too much in writing this letter here.

(I’ll be back by 20-3. Don’t worry.)

Mr. A. B. Mow

  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure paragraphs 5 and 7 are correct? $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Dec 3, 2017 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi - reasonably sure, yes. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Dec 3, 2017 at 21:27

3 Answers 3


The word count of the sentences translate to


and there is

the numbers 20-3, which are catching my eye

so he is probably being held in the

Diamond Bell Inn (L[ima]os A[lfa]ngeles), Room 203 (http://www.diamondbellinn.com/) (could also be Room 17, if its 20 - 3, depending on how the rooms are numbered)

And as Sid pointed out,

the bold interpunctations (dash and dot) make up the morse code for CA (California)

Someone call the police!

  • $\begingroup$ To help you get everything, the Morse code till the bolded things is CA.(which is California). Lima and Alfa are NATO Alphabets. One of the others is Hotel. Thus, we have Diamond Bell Hotel Room 203 which should be your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Dec 4, 2017 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid Ah, didn't get the morse code thing, good find! $\endgroup$
    – Ctx
    Dec 4, 2017 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ Hey! Would you mind adding a step-by-step explanation here, so that I can accept this? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Dec 10, 2017 at 11:05

Work in progress:

If you count the number of words in each sentence starting from "How are you doing?", and convert each count into a letter based on A1Z26, it says "DIAMOND BELL LILA AKFA SOOM".

Not sure if on the right track here, but...

I tried to take it literally, making a diamond out of the 4 fragments to get

        L   E
      A   I   L
    S   K   L   L
      O   F   A
        O   A

Sorry for the horrendous formatting; I don't have the time to make it look nicer right now. Would really appreciate any help with the edits, and also hoping this helps put someone out there on the right track.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ if you count much-needed as two words, then you get something else. Also, there is probably an error in the puzzle for the fourth word. $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Dec 4, 2017 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, you pointed out a couple mistakes - you may want to see the edited version. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Dec 4, 2017 at 15:13

It occurred to me that there are a lot of dashes in the email, which led me to suspect

Morse code

but that requires some letter separator.


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