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One morning, a criminal was found all tied up in front of the police station. Next to him, this cryptic piece of paper:

TINOAQBPAKU  
OWZOFSCNUSG  
FHOWLEMIEAF  
IRBIURAPGDV  
DBYFNEIPIVB  
SEDETIACCET  
SOFLNQISRCA  
URWLZLEMUBO  
OVISUAWMAQP  
GNMNIYKTRMX  
EYHENJACTTN  

Who arrested the villain?

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    $\begingroup$ Having seen The Dark Knight a decade ago with a scene resembling this, I'm going to go out on a limb and say... Batman. $\endgroup$ – Phylyp Feb 14 '18 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't it a trope for most superheros? $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Feb 14 '18 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Phylyp ... so the message is: "Deliver this to Gordon". $\endgroup$ – ibrahim mahrir Feb 14 '18 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ The police. Someone tied him up and left him at the station, and left that note, but he wasn't arrested until the police did so :D $\endgroup$ – sirjonsnow Feb 14 '18 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ @sirjonsnow That would be an answer, but sadly there is no lateral-thinking tag^^ $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Feb 15 '18 at 10:03
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The text is an 11x11 square, which made me think to check the diagonals. From top-left to bottom-right reads TWOINIIMAMN, which means nothing, but from top-right to bottom-left reads USEPIINLINE - "use pi in line".

From there,

I took the 3rd letter of the 1st line, the 1st letter of the 2nd line, and so on, using the digits of pi. This gave me NOWINCOLUMN - "now in column". Repeating the process with the columns - the 3rd letter of the 1st column, the 1st letter of the 2nd column, and so on - yielded FIBONACCIAB.

Nicolas Budig and Schmalls, with a little help from the OP, found the next step:

Using the Fibonacci sequence, splitting the double-digit numbers into single-digit numbers, take the nth number from each row. The exact sequence is 1,2,3,5,8,1,3,2,1,3,4, and this yields TWOUPSFROME - "two ups from E".

This means we need to

Find each occurrence of the letter "E" and take the two letters immediately above it. This spells out SQUAREBRFIVDIAGONS - "square bottom-right five diagonals".

From there, spaniol6 and Joe found the final step:

Create a 5x5 square using the letters in the bottom-right corner, then highlight the letters on the diagonals, like so:

I S R C A
E M U B O
W M A Q P
K T R M X
A C T T N

Who are you, mystery hero?

"I AM BATMAN"

Thanks to everyone who helped crack this, and thanks Keelhaul for making such a well-constructed puzzle.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If you take the first letter of the first row, the second of the second, the third of the third, the fifth of the fourth, and the eighth of the fifth, it says "TWOUP", or "TWO UP". Might be a thing, might be a coincidence. $\endgroup$ – Nicolas Budig Feb 14 '18 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Nicolas Budig is onto something... $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Feb 15 '18 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ If you do 1,2,3,5,8,1,3,2,1,3,4 (splitting the double digit numbers over each line (AB?)) you get TWO UPS FROM E. $\endgroup$ – Schmalls Feb 16 '18 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ @spaniol6 just read left-to-right, top-to-bottom and only pick out the letters on the diagonals. It reads I AM BATMAN $\endgroup$ – Joe Feb 16 '18 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ So In fact, Phylyp did found the solution. $\endgroup$ – dna Feb 16 '18 at 17:07

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