You are an evil overlord planning to take over the world.

You have many minions working for you. You also have enslaved a scientist to work on your new evil plan to destroy the world.

Your scientist researched for 10 months the proper ratios of ingredients to mix in order to have the maximum effect of destruction.

However, after he finished his work, he refused to cooperate and give you his formula. You threatened him, tortured him and tried every method you tried in the past but with no luck; he knew how much damage would happen if he gave you the formula. You knew you can't get information from him in any way.

You know that the formula is very simple. It is a combination of two ingredients with different proportions. In your scientists lab, however, there are five different ingredients: red, yellow, blue, green and black. The formula can be a combination of any of the two in any different proportion. You only care about which ratio is the ideal for your plan. For example: 5 yellow 3 black.

When you look at your scientists computer you find only one file, labeled: secret formula. However, when you open it, you only find this text:

Call me Yshmael. Oome years ago--never Uind how long Arecisely--Raving little or Eo money in Ly Ourse, and nothing particular Oo interest me Kn Ihore, I Nhought G would sail about I Nittle Tnd see Hhe watery Eart of Whe Rorld. It is O way N have of Griving Dff the spleen and Iegulating the circulation. Rhenever E find myself growing grim about Che Touth; Ihenever it is O damp, drizzly November Mn my soul; Ahenever I Sind myself Tnvoluntarily Eausing before coffin Rarehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

It appears to be an excerpt from moby dick with some modifications. You think that the scientist has hidden the secret formula somehow in the text. You tried to interrogate him again, but he was very stubborn. So, you decided to work on this on your own.

Can you figure out the correct ingredient ratios to destroy the world?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If I were a real evil overlord I would have captured the scientist's beautiful daughter, too, and be threatening her to get him to cooperate. $\endgroup$ Mar 3, 2018 at 19:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @RupertMorrish you tried that, didn't work. The scientist knows how much damage his formula can do and is ready to sacrifice everything to keep safe. $\endgroup$
    – Mohammad
    Mar 3, 2018 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Is the puzzle limited to the file or your whole Question? I got an Idea but I dont want to chase a red herring the whole day $\endgroup$
    – Gimli
    Mar 4, 2018 at 9:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So the incorrect letters give us ismphnmptostialatptwaidowitmwaiwficw initials of sentences or a cipher? $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 14:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Kit-Ginevra You are close to the first clue I found but on the other side 😉 Maybe write it as very very partial answer with spoiler tags $\endgroup$
    – Gimli
    Mar 4, 2018 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


I figured out the first clue instantly:

'You are looking in the wrong directio master' which we obtain by taking the replacing letters

But for the next step I am stuck.

As we should only look at the file and it states 'You are looking in the wrong directio master' I believe the letters replaced or their words are holding the information

Things that came to my mind but didn't seem to be right the way I tried them are (I feel like I am completly off track):

The replaced letters might be in ceasar cipher (maybe the difference between the swapped letters will give useful numbers), capitalisation or use of vocals might be in morsecode or binary

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's probably a good idea to look for the binary/bacon cipher/non-spaced morse code/otherwise-encoded message in the changes disguised as the red herring you found, along the lines of "changed word = 1, unchanged word = 0". That would be because I don't see any other changes to the text, and I don't think Melville would have written a text exceptionally suitable for hiding messages otherwise. $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Mar 4, 2018 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ Likewise. I wonder if November has significance or not. It is N in direction but an unmodified word. $\endgroup$
    – Sentinel
    Mar 4, 2018 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ Is directio a ref to Direct IO? $\endgroup$
    – Sentinel
    Mar 4, 2018 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ It should be direction. Sorry about that. $\endgroup$
    – Mohammad
    Mar 5, 2018 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe thats a hint that the spacing Matters $\endgroup$
    – Gimli
    Mar 5, 2018 at 7:08

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