Detective Emmy Gardner stepped into the cool, dry air of the Hotel Cummerbund. The young Checkers Grandmaster Uram Silvestri Stallone Afbaster had been poisoned yesterday, just before his match with William Catcher, the upstart American checkers player who was noted for his massive temper tantrums. Detective Gardner was disappointed; she had been looking forward to the match for the past month. She took the elevator up to room 343, Afbaster's room and the scene of the crime. Her partner Detective Benjamin Pierce was already on the scene with the coroner's report.

"Afbaster was poisoned with fencine, a slow-acting nerve agent," said Pierce. "Victims remain fully conscious and lucid until the end, but become near-unintelligible. Whoever did this really wanted a painful, drawn-out death."

Detective Gardner nodded and stared at the now-empty bed where Afbaster had been found. She noticed the corner of a sheet of paper sticking out from under one of the pillows. Carefully, she pulled it out.

The torn sheet of notebook paper bore Afbaster's infamously cluttered handwriting. With difficulty, she made out the chicken scratches:


Disfigure daily blooming plotted directions, train music. Oily short reality, lil’ daisies kingly clown. "'Monkey blood wine', angry dog fantasizes"- Smart Sigmund.








Gardner eyed the bewildering scrap of paper once or twice, before turning to Pierce.

"Afbaster know anybody named Irving or Largo?," she asked. Pierce shrugged.

Gardner looked at the writing again. A light gleamed in her eyes.

"Pierce, let's get back to the station," she said. "I know the name of Afbaster's murderer."

What was it?

Very Minor Hint:

None of the details except those written on the paper are important.

Hint 1:

Afbaster was famously a great polymath. He was a noted environmental activist and campaigned tirelessly against the Deepwater Horizons spill. He also held interests in biology, roleplaying games and psychotherapy, and was an amateur Joyce scholar. On Afbaster’s night stand was a compilation by a well-known American photographer, as well as a famous horror novel.

Hint 2:

Count the combined number of letters in the names and the sum of the string of numbers.

Hint 3:

“PICTUR” is not just a typo, and the command shouldn't be taken literally.

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe we could make clear what is "in" the paper with a formating process? $\endgroup$
    – Untitpoi
    Jul 10, 2018 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ Hopefully it's a bit clearer what the paper is now. $\endgroup$
    – akr
    Jul 10, 2018 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ Does the answer have to do with the number 29? $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2018 at 20:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ROT13: Abg qverpgyl, ohg gb na rkgrag lrf. $\endgroup$
    – akr
    Jul 10, 2018 at 20:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Mhmd I think he wrote what was it, as in, what was the name. $\endgroup$
    – dcfyj
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


This is a collection of the things i have found, since this riddle seems to require knowledge i do not possess (As hint 1 suggests. It contains references, i don't get all of them, and some of them are very broad.)
A friend of mine helped with this, but I will edit the post for maximum clarity and readability and not bother to credit him, he is okay with this.

Using hint 2:

The number of letters matches the sum of the digit sequence. treating the names as one string and splitting it into parts with the length of the corresponding numbers yields the following (which in parts matches the syllable length): "ar | thur | ap | ril | bo | b | ir | ma | i | r | vin | g | lar | go"

other things i picked up on:

  • The "psychotherapy" and "sigmund" obviously point to Sigmund Freud

  • "kingly clown" points to steven king's clown - "IT". So IT from the "PICTUR IT !!!!!!!" would refer to the novel IT by stephen king, which would be the horror novel at his bedside.

  • daisy is the birth flower of april. (whatever that means)

  • "deepwater horizon" is connected to "oily"

  • PICTUR has 6 letters, there are 6 names.

  • the clue text consists of 3 sentences with 7 words, 7 words and 8 words respectively. The number sequence is 14 numbers long. (With the removal of the 7 exclamation marks, this might be less significant.)

  • imgur (from PICTUR) links are 5 symbols long (lowercase letters, uppercase letters and digits). (thanks to Sleafar for the Imgur reference). Maybe we have to form an imgur link? However that would mean its impossible to solve the riddle on the spot, as the inspector did.

  • Its probably safe to assume that Hint 1 references the clue text. If we take hint 1 apart, maybe the things are even in order? Polymath might be connected to "plotted directions", then deepwater horizon to oil, biology to "daisy" and "monkeys", RPG to "blood wine" and "angry dog fantasizes", then "smart sigmund" to psychotherapy.
    Leaves us with the joyce scholar, the well-known american photographer to use somewhere else.

far-fetched theories:

  • the well-known american photographer could be irving penn (who had a brother named arthur).

  • one of the protagonists in james joyces "ulysses" is called "Bloom", which might be connected to "blooming"

  • in the roleplaying game "monkey island" there is a character called Mancomb Seepgood who reapears in The witcher 3: blood and wine.

probabaly wrong:

"kingly" and "roleplaying games" (and maybe "arthur") could point to the legend of King Arthur, but might also be independent clues pointing elsewhere)
"environmental activist" and "irving" might point to Steve Irwin but im just gonna assume that this is not a typo and this idea is pointless.

something else is odd about this carefully composed (handwritten!) message.
UPDATE: as of your comment, this theory is not relevant and has been moved to the bottom of the post, since the confusing exclamation marks have been removed.

maybe the number of exclamation marks means something? 7 - 4 - 3 - 7 the number of digits is 14, the number of exclamation marks in the hint text is 14 (if we ignore the 7 after the "PICTUR IT" for now. so maybe we can assume that the first 4 "syllables" ( ar | thur | ap | ril ) belong to the first clue line, the next 3 ( bo | b | ir ) belong to the second clue and the last 7 to the last? ( ma | i | r | vin | g | lar | go )

  • $\begingroup$ You've made a lot of good progress! Some of your guesses are wrong but a good number are correct (including a very, very important one!) $\endgroup$
    – akr
    Jul 15, 2018 at 5:32
  • $\begingroup$ You raise some good points, so I've edited the puzzle for clarity. The exclamation marks were not necessary and have been removed. $\endgroup$
    – akr
    Jul 15, 2018 at 17:54

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