This morning I received an email from Santa Claus himself. He wanted to tell someone about the problems he’s facing and chose me. When I read about his problems I was worried because I like my Christmas presents. I tried to make sense of what he’d written and failed. That’s why I’d like you to try and have a go at it. Here’s Santa’s email, reproduced word for word.


I’m beset by problems and I need your help. These problems are so bad that if I don’t fix them there won’t be any Christmas presents. Unfortunately, all these problems have puzzles in them. Hope you can solve it for me. Anyway, here’s how my catastrophic day went.

1] As I went into the elves workshop, I saw a disastrous occurrence – the elves were on strike! I stood in the doorway, flabbergasted, when an elf came up to me. He handed me a paper and went back. I read it and groaned. I should never have given them free internet access. They had gotten hooked to this website which they call PSE, and started using puzzles as a method of communication. The darn paper had riddles in it!

As you can see we’re on strike. We demand some things from you if you want us to continue working. The things which we want are as follows –

1](A needle pulling thread + H) gives you a word. Just behead it and make it’s head its tail. Then behead it, AGAIN.

2]100 & vertical axis

And in case you’re wondering what we’ll do if we don’t get these (other than continuing our strike) , we’ve gotten another job offer.

Yesterday, when you were taking your nap, a guy came to us. He didn’t tell us his name but said he wanted to hire us. When we told him we were not the people he wanted, he laughed and said he didn’t need magic, he needed our mass production capabilities to bring about the end of the world. When we told him we work for you, he said that you knew each other. Both of you had been born from the same people (yes he said people). But we didn’t really believe it. What I know of him is that he inhabited something which actors used to wear and completely changed a guy's personality when he wore it. He also invaded Earth with the …..uh something which was like (the beginning of chicken + plural of the bull)

Can you help me find out what the elves want and also who my competitor is?

2] After this, I went to the kitchen for a hot cup of coffee to calm me down. Unfortunately for me, I dropped some on my coat! I tried to wash it and managed to remove the coffee stain, but now my coat was wet. I can’t go out with a wet coat and so decided to put it in front of my heater. I wanted it to dry fast and so increased the temperature of the heater to a very high one. It didn’t increase.

Suddenly, a keypad came out. I remembered that I had put a pass key on the heater so that my house wouldn’t burn down. But I couldn’t remember the pass key. Fortunately, I remembered that I had kept the pass key behind the clock in my room. I went there, took out the paper and saw…….. my first (and only) Uber ticket's printout.

Can you help me remember what my pass key was?

3] I was now feeling tired (who wouldn’t after all I’ve gone through) and sat down in my armchair. Then I remembered that I had to check on my reindeer. I sent for an elf and one turned up. I told him what I wanted him to do. He nodded his head, went out, checked how my reindeer were faring and came back.

The first thing he did was tell me that one was missing. I was surprised. My reindeer are very well behaved. I asked him who the truant was and he smiled devilishly and gave me this rebus. Curse PSE!!


Then seeing my confused face he drew -

rebus addition

Now can you help me know which of my reindeer is missing?

4] I was feeling so bad. These problems were ruining me! To calm down I decided to see what was in the letters that people sent to me for their Christmas present. As I started reading, I smiled to see such innocence. I almost forgot about my troubles. Then I came across a letter sent by ‘The members of Puzzling Stack Exchange’. The entire thing was in a cipher! Curse them! At least I found out what this PSE is……..

Hello Santa!

We want something very special from you. But first, you’ll have to decode this cipher.


Patience! The key is the date after the date of your arrival. But first, we must tell you that the month is decaying.

I can’t solve a cipher to save my life! Also, I can’t leave even one present behind. I’ll have to take everything in one go.

Can you help me solve this cipher so I know what PSE wants from me?

Just so you know, unless I solve these puzzles, I can’t give anyone their presents. So if you want to save Christmas, you’ll have to solve these.


I tried to solve them but I can’t make head or tail of them. That’s why I’m handing this over to you. You have time only till Christmas before Santa gives up. Christmas is in your hands.

Just so you know you have time till midnight on Christmas Eve.

P.S. Please don’t tell Santa I told this to you. He doesn’t like people getting proof that he exists.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not sure if the lateral-thinking is applicable here. It’s for the second one. I’ve put since I’m not sure. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2017 at 15:56
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Santa Claus doesn't exist. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2017 at 15:59
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ 😱😱😱😱 Wow! I seriously did not know that! $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2017 at 16:01
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If Santa doesn't exist, then how did he send an email to Napolean of Puzzling? You're not calling him a liar...are you?? $\endgroup$
    – A.B.
    Dec 22, 2017 at 16:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good thing I have 11 months to figure it out! lol $\endgroup$
    – Riddler
    Jan 30, 2019 at 23:17

4 Answers 4


Partial Answer

Puzzle 3

The meaning of rebus:

CAKE - C (100 in roman numeral) + L (50 in roman numeral) = LAKE
KEY + N(3) + A(5) -> Insert N as 3rd letter and A as 5th letter = KENYA


With addition, maybe the missing reindeer is:

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer


One lake in Kenya is named Lake Rudolf (now it is Lake Turkana) in honour of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria by dicoverer.


Partial Answer

Puzzle 1

The competitor is...



In "The Mask" (and probably other folklore) Loki inhabits a mask ("what actors used to wear") which "completely changed a guy's personality when he wore it" and in Avengers, he invades Earth with the Chitauri (beginning of chicken = "chi", plural of the bull = "tauri")


1.2: 100 & vertical axis

100 = C
& = AND
vertical axis = Y


The answer of the cipher is


From scrambled letters



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