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One day my sister disappeared. She didn't vanish out of existence, no, she just wasn't seen or heard of for about three weeks.
Until finally, just yesterday, I received a postcard from her. What a relief! But all she wrote was the following line, and I need your help:

NBBLCSNLFPZBKWIOBCCEHGXCJROAERAETEENSRNBEUAZGGKWVPG

What did she do during these three weeks, and where is she now?

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  • $\begingroup$ A typo, as always >< $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 22 '18 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ You mean it's a typo from your sister? Now that's challenging hah $\endgroup$ – Alex Mar 22 '18 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Keelhaul At least it wasn't in the puzzle. $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Mar 22 '18 at 22:42
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Picking up after what @M Oehm found ...

Tracing the path of the destinations looks a bit like nonsense, but if you switch what color you're tracing with every now and again you get something a little more useful:

colored path

... from which it's easy to see that:

Your sister spent the last three weeks travelling
She is now in Oslo, Norway

Happy reunion!


Credit to @PL457 for the map image

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  • $\begingroup$ At last someone saw it! I was starting to question my sanity ^^. It would be nice if you added the resolution of the first part of the puzzle though, in order to have the full answer available in one post ;) $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 24 '18 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Keelhaul Ah, of course! In my answer I actually had speculations at the bottom stating it kinda looks like D, S/5, L, D/O, and I tried to use that same website for airport abbreviations. Yet it's so much simpeler, the first D is an O as well, spelling OSLO... >.> Well done, Rubio! $\endgroup$ – Kevin Cruijssen Mar 24 '18 at 10:07
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Your sister did go ...

... places. :)

More specifically, she ...

... visted several cities in Europe.

The question has a suspicious [not-a-cipher] tag, but the message is in fact a cipher. A quick frequency analysis shows that E is the most frequent letter, together with some As and Ns and a suspiciously high number of Bs. That means that the message could just be scrambled.

The message has 51 or 17 × 3 letters which can be laid out like this:

        N B B L C S N L F P Z B K W I O B
        C C E H G X C J R O A E R A E T E
        E N S R N B E U A Z G G K W V P G
No obvious message appears when we read the message column-wise.

But ...

... the columns can be interpreted in another way: They are three-letter abbreviations of airports:

NCE — Nice
BCN — Barcelona
BES — Brest
LHR — London Heathrow
CGN — Cologne
SXB — Strasbourg
NCE — Nice
LJU — Ljubljana
FRA — Frankfurt
POZ — Poznan
ZAG — Zagreb
BEG — Belgrade
KRK — Krakow
WAW — Warsaw
IEV — Kiev
OTP — Bucharest
BEG — Belgrade

Tracing these cities on a map doesn't seem to yield any recognisable pettern or letters. I did some cursory research to see whether there is a band that has toured these cities in the last three weeks, but didn't find anything useful.

So I think ...

... that your sister just went to these cities in the shown order ad that she is either on her way home or in Belgrade.

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    $\begingroup$ What would you get, if you drew a line from one location to the next one? BEL and NCE are doubles, so there is something off. $\endgroup$ – PL457 Mar 22 '18 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe PL457 is right ;) $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 22 '18 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, it was the first thing I tried (and my answer says so), but I didn't find the resulting pattern very recognizable. In particular, there was no need for the stopovers at Strasbourg and Poznan. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Mar 22 '18 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ @M Oehm You got the first (allegedly hardest) part of the puzzle right, you should really go on with your first idea before someone realizes it is that easy ;) (PL457 never liked it, here's your chance!) $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 23 '18 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your encourangement. I have seen the other answers and your comments. I'm no better than PL457, I'm afraid; I feel a bit thick. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Mar 23 '18 at 18:09
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To catch on where M Oehm left,

After a quick look at the map,

It looks like a closed ring from NCE-BCN-BES-LHR-CGN-SXB-NCE -> O
a weird arc from LJU-FRA-POZ-ZAG -> n (N)
and another closed ring from BEG-KRK-WAW-IEV-OTP-BEG -> O

Here is a messy picture of my map. enter image description here This could also be an airport abbreviation

And it leads to.

ONO: which is Ontario Municipal Airport, OR, USA

Or of course

DND or Dundee Airport in Scotland thx - user46894
Which is much closer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well... No. And I thought it was the easiest part :p $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 22 '18 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I guess the KRK threw me off. Why else would there be a dot in a straight line. But I could've guessed that the answer had to be from the same continent. $\endgroup$ – PL457 Mar 23 '18 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ Did you skip class at "connect the dots" in kindergarten? :D Anyway, to be honest, some "useless" dots were added in order to have a prime number of stops, to ease the arragement of the message in 3x17 $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 23 '18 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ I never liked 'Connect the dots'. They always became spider webs after connecting all the dots with each other. $\endgroup$ – PL457 Mar 23 '18 at 9:52
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There is yet another location (nearby) that could be made from what PL457 has generated:

DND or Dundee Airport in Scotland where she may be going to watch golfing?

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    $\begingroup$ Or she may just be attacking the darkness. $\endgroup$ – Trevor Powell Mar 23 '18 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ It certainly could support 3 weeks of being hidden away and not being seen. $\endgroup$ – user46894 Mar 23 '18 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ Not it either... $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 23 '18 at 9:39
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Really going out on a limb (and making my first guess):

She went to Walt Disney World, as the image, if completely connected (including the second NCE to LJU and ZAG to the first BEG, appears similar to Cinderella's carriage from the classic Disney movie, and Cinderella's (Disney) castle is at WDW in Orlando, FL, USA.

Or I could be just confused since I was there this past weekend myself.

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This is a long shot, but is she currently at

Madrid?

Because:

Using @MOehm's answer and order given, and @PL457's idea of connecting the dots, we get:

enter image description here

Since I also couldn't find any recognizable pattern in it, I noticed the following two comments of @Keelhaul.

"I'm quite baffled by how everyone is making this so complicated ^^. I literally said what to do in the comments :p"

and

"Did you skip class at "connect the dots" in kindergarten? :D Anyway, to be honest, some "useless" dots were added in order to have a prime number of stops, to ease the arragement of the message in 3x17"

So

Skipping the prime number stops 2,3,5,7,11,13,17 we get the orange path:

enter image description here

Which looks a bit like:

NM

Using the same website for abbreviations of airports that was provided in @MOehm's answer, we get:
Air Madrid (Airline-Code)

It's most likely wrong, but I couldn't find any recognizable pattern after the original connect the dots (green path).


Some speculation / ideas:

- Instead of letters, the connect the dots might be circles around certain countries (first being France, others I'm not sure)?
- The green path kinda looks like D, S/5, L, D/O

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  • $\begingroup$ I... I... No... >< $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 23 '18 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ I'm starting to think I'm the only one to see it because I made it, but I promise that when you'll see it, you won't see anything else and wonder why you didn't saw it before ^^ $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 23 '18 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Keelhaul When I know what it is I probably will indeed see it, but for now I don't see anything useful in it unfortunately. Ah well, mainly posted so there is an answer with a correct 'connect-the-dots' map. ;) I knew the rest was most likely not correct, but couldn't find anything better.. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Cruijssen Mar 23 '18 at 21:54
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PL457's map looks, to me, like

a pentagon, a triangle, and a square.

Converting these directly to an airport code gives PTS: Atkinson Municipal Airport in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Or, counting the sides, we have five-three-four, for FTF, which isn't an airport.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm quite baffled by how everyone is making this so complicated ^^. I literally said what to do in the comments :p $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Mar 23 '18 at 15:36
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Trying to maybe bring something : OP said to "connect the dots". When you connect the dots, it is in an alphabetical order if we talk about letters. So I tried to with the tags :

enter image description here But as you can see, It doesn't really represent something

And I tried ordering by name:

Blockquotewith those values:

Barcelona
Belgrade
Brest
Bucharest
Cologne
Frankfurt
Kiev
Krakow
Ljubljana
London Heathrow
Nice
Poznan
Strasbourg
Warsaw
Zagreb
Note that I took "London Heathrow" and not "Heatrow".
And as always, nothing comes to my mind when I see this.

This theory works with the fact that OP said that some of the tags were useless : " in order to have a prime number of stops"

There is only 2 duplicates in there : NCE & BEG:
And they indeed are useless if we order it by alphabet. Another idea would be to connect them by the exterior (just like wrapping around them). But I do not have the time now..

I just tried to help and bring something. And sorry for the formating. Still learning how to use it.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (... so how does this contribute toward a solution? As this stands, it's Not an Answer, not even a partial one. Having fragmentary thoughts on aspects of a puzzle might be comment-worthy, but you probably want at least a germ of an idea that seems to lead forward before you should post as even a partial answer.) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Mar 23 '18 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ You're right, but I tried to comment and I told me that I couldn't because I needed reputation (or something like that). But now I can answer your comment so I do not understand how it works. But yeah, totally a comment-worthy thought. I agree (Edit : I just retried to comment another answer and it seems that I need 50 reputations :s) $\endgroup$ – Aexar Mar 23 '18 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Aexar You can comment on your own answers, but you need 50 reputation before you can comment on questions and other people's answers. You can earn that rep quite quickly by providing high-quality answers. I'm afraid Rubio is right on this one - you've done some brainstorming on what the answer isn't, but haven't made much progress regarding what it is. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Mar 23 '18 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ You are both right. Sorry I'm new and didn't know ... It is better that I delete it ? Because yeah, it doesn't add anything :s Thanks for the help tho $\endgroup$ – Aexar Mar 23 '18 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to delete it, feel free to. You won't be penalised for it. In the meantime, you can take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about Puzzling.SE and what's expected from questions and answers. Hope you stick around! $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Mar 23 '18 at 17:45

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