Clark and Albert sat at the same old table they'd met at years ago. As per usual, there was hardly anything to drink, and they'd had nothing but sips between them. Near Albert, there were some scraps of bacon, and an egg, scrambled. It was the same order as always.

After this lazy breakfast, the question, of course, is:

How much does Albert weigh?

Note: the title is inconsequential to the answer

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    $\begingroup$ Beautiful puzzle. So much packed into so little. Well done! $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jun 3 '18 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio Thanks a lot! I was originally making a different puzzle with the same theme, when these breakfast-related coincidences struck me. I added a visual aide to the original question post-solve, I hope that's alright. $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation Jun 4 '18 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Most beautifully written!!! $\endgroup$ – Rapiddagger Jun 5 '18 at 10:17

Albert's seat has number 13, that I know, but he weighs... (insert rummaging sounds from the direction of the tag)

26.982, it seems.

Clark and Albert sat at the same old table they'd met at years ago.

The periodic table

As per usual, there was hardly anything to drink

Out of the 118 known elements, only Bromine and Mercury are liquid in NTP

and they'd had nothing but sips between them.

Si, P, S, as in Silicon, Phosphorus, and Sulphur, the elements 14,15 and 16.

Near Albert, there were some scraps of bacon, and an egg, scrambled.

Elements 5 to 8 (one row up) are B,C,N,O. One row down, there's Zn,Ga,Ge, which scrambles to "an egg".

It was the same order as always.

There were a couple of new cyborgs sitting at the far end of the table though, several superheavy artificial elements were officially accepted recently.

After this lazy breakfast, the question, of course, is:

How much does Albert weigh?

Albert is "Al", or Aluminum (13). Aluminum’s atomic mass is given as 26.982.

And Clark then? Well, I missed two thirds of the explanation myself, but as OP helpfully pointed out in the comments below,

Clark is Chlorine (17), Argon (18) and Potassium (19), or Cl,Ar,K for short.

Oh, if only I could upvote a question twice!

Post-Solve OP Edit:
@Bass answered this riddle perfectly! The context of his answer can be seen here:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ @TwoBitOperation, no, not at all, it was a great question! Also, congrats on managing to send the almighty Rand on a wild goose chase like that :-) $\endgroup$ – Bass Jun 2 '18 at 21:25
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    $\begingroup$ Wow, nice! I was afraid that after what seemed the 'obvious' interpretation of bacon and scrambling was wrong, it might be a "guess what I'm thinking" puzzle, but this is definitely a self-verifying solution once you get the right idea. @TwoBitOperation nice puzzle! Ironic that I was even thinking about scientists before going down the steganography road. You should have changed Clark to Clerk just to make that red herring even bigger ;-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 2 '18 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor thanks! I made it 'Clark' because the next two after Cl are Ar and K, which made for another good hint $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation Jun 3 '18 at 1:33
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    $\begingroup$ Oh wow! I completely missed the ark. The awesome-effect from the solution was already great, but that’s just incredible! Totally editing it in. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jun 3 '18 at 2:21
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    $\begingroup$ @jpmc26 You are absolutely correct, that bit is in there purely for the delightful mental image. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jun 4 '18 at 12:40

I think the answer is



Albert and Clark are pancakes, so part of the meal. They weigh nothing afterwards because they are eaten. "Nothing but sips between them" is syrup. Albert and Clark are names given to the two pancakes on a breakfast menu item. They've been serving the same dish for years, which is how they met long ago.

  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately not on the right track, but a delightful mental picture. Recently added some tags that I hope provide a gentle nudge. $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation Jun 2 '18 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, the lateral-thinking tag is there! +1 then :-) $\endgroup$ – Bass Jun 2 '18 at 21:34

Partial answer

Clues hidden in the puzzle inclued the following:

bacon, a reference to Bacon's cipher; scrambled, a reference to anagramming; and lazy, a reference to I'm not sure what. Possibly the names Albert and Clark are also some kind of clues. I was thinking of Albert Einstein and Clark Maxwell, but it's actually Clerk Maxwell, so no go on that.

So what can we do with

anagrams and Bacon's cipher?

Presumably our answer will be something along the lines of "fifty kilos" or some such - a weight. Given the letter count of the likely form of the solution, and the fact that five ciphertext inputs of two types are needed for each letter of the plaintext output in Bacon's cipher, I'd guess that words rather than letters or sentences will be the things to be classified into two types. There are exactly fifty words, which is promising as it's a multiple of five.

Now how to classify the words into those two types, the "A" and "B" of Bacon's cipher? My first thought was word length: an even or odd number of letters, perhaps. But that would give AABAB ABAAA ABAAB AAAAB BBAAA AAABA BBBAB BBBAA BAABA ABABB, which doesn't translate sensibly via Bacon's cipher.

  • $\begingroup$ On the wrong track. Confession: I don't know much about ciphers. I didn't even know what rot13 was until recently. $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation Jun 2 '18 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Two Well damn. Is any of this on the right track? Surely "bacon" and "scrambled" can't both be coincidences? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 2 '18 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ Both of those words are important, for sure. The word 'Lazy' is not, and I'm already regretting my title choice when I could've wedged in another hint. I'll add a tag that may help in a bit. $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation Jun 2 '18 at 16:34

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