An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #35: Restricted Title 1

My friend worked as a secretary, and she left out of nowhere! I found a few strange notes/messages scattered around her room.

Secretary: Part 1 (notepad on desk)

enter image description here

Secretary: Part 2 (carved on shelf)


Secretary: Part 3 (sticky note on laptop)


Secretary: Part 4 (address book in drawer)


Secretary: Part 5 (notecard in cabinet)

af trem hel tranl homf
X houl *repl lf homl *ciaf tranf

Where specifically did my friend work, and what should we all be afraid of?

  • $\begingroup$ Part 1 is some kind of ROT13(fubegunaq). $\endgroup$ Jun 9 '18 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ I edited just now to fix a mistake in Part 3. It doesn't make a huge difference, so carry on. $\endgroup$
    – Riley
    Jun 9 '18 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ To fit the Restricted Title challenge, should the title be changed to one of the xkcd titles? $\endgroup$
    – noedne
    Jun 9 '18 at 19:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @noedne I had the same concern myself before posting, so I asked it on Sphinx's Lair. It doesn't seem people mind the technicality, as long as it satisfies the overall goal of a restricted title. I don't think any service is done if I renamed the puzzle "Secretary: Part 1", because then it wouldn't be completely accurate, as there are 5 parts. $\endgroup$
    – Riley
    Jun 9 '18 at 20:22

Partial Part 1

The symbols are

words in Gregg shorthand.

My attempt at translation is

help ask listening speak/speech thinking typing hat(e) foray,

with possible alternatives. Several of the words are clearly related, but I have been unable to find meaning in them.

  • $\begingroup$ This reminds me of gur Vagrearg, nf gurfr ner nyy guvatf gung gurl nyybj. "uryc nfx" nccyvrf gb frnepu ratvarf naq sbehzf, "yvfgravat" nccyvrf gb fgernzvat zhfvp, "fcrnx/fcrrpu" vf gur ibvpr argvmraf unir, "guvaxvat" - NV, "glcvat ungr" - boivbhf, "sbenl" - jub unfa'g tbar qbja gur enoovg ubyr ba Jvxvcrqvn? $\endgroup$
    – cpcodes
    Jul 11 '18 at 0:07

Partial Part 2:

The mechanism here seems to be that

each number can spell out a word using a telephone keypad.

I think I have 3/4 of them:

??????? (possibly FACE-something? FACEBOOK with a missing O?)

  • $\begingroup$ This seems to point to Jvxvyrnxf. Nffnatr vf va gur Rdhnqbevna Rzonffl, gur fvgr vf xabja sbe erirnyvat vqragvgvrf (Qbkkvat), naq vg jnf pnhtug hc va gur fbpvny zrqvn nffnhyg ba gur 2016 HF ryrpgvbaf nybat jvgu Snprobbx. "Pbzcner" vf yrff fgebat bs n pbeeryngvba. $\endgroup$
    – cpcodes
    Jul 11 '18 at 0:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.