Many people consider me to be a beast. Something scary, something people are afraid of. However, my family knows that not everything should be judged by the outside.

Today, I came home from school to find a note on the kitchen table.

Hey Mobert!

We had to leave on an unexpected b|usine|ss trip to meet up with Yobert. There s|eem to| be odd things going on around there, most notably h|is gra|ndmother bein|g sudd|enly fascinated by pixel art. We'll be back soon, just make |sure n|ot to burn down the house.

Oh, and we left you a present. It's fun to watch, I'm sure it will be relatable.

Bicycle riders give miniature rice,
a number nine.
soja injection rejuvenates objects,
"ewok look cuckoo" barked hunky jock!
26, the first and the big. 

We put it in puzzle form to keep you busy!

Love, Mom and Dad ❤

Now, I usually love puzzles, but this one felt rather odd. I'm not sure if the random lines in between letters are part of the puzzle, but the very cryptic "present" is intimidating.

I guess I have nothing better to do, time to try solving it.

Hint 1:

The vertical lines in the first paragraph of the letter are not necessary for the puzzle, but it's a huge clue if you figure out what it means.

Hint 2:

Only what is in the blockquote is important, don't overthink it. This is only half the puzzle.

Hint 3:

Music can be hard to read. Sometimes, you just have to go back to the start and work your way down from there.

Hint 4:

You do not need to know anything about music, not even the note names.

Final Hint:

X...... ...... .... ......... ....
X ...... ....
X... ......... ........... .......
X... .... ...... ...... ..... ....
X. ... ..... ... ... ...

Bonus Hint:

Musical notes can be on or off.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Base 26, if we take the first letters/numbers of each of the given lines. $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2018 at 6:02
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like rot13(gur 1fg yvar vf jbeqf jvgu frpbaq yrggre v, gur 3eq yvar vf jbeqf jvgu guveq yrggre w, naq gur 4gu yvar vf jbeqf jvgu sbhegu yrggre x). No idea what that means though... $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Jul 30, 2018 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ @jafe yes, but what about rot13(gur frpbaq naq ynfg yvarf)? $\endgroup$
    – Zimonze
    Jul 31, 2018 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Zimonze rot13(Gur frpbaq yvar unf gur ahzore 9 va vg, gur ynfg bar gur ahzore 26 riraghnyl nyfb gur svefg=1. Cebonoyl fbzr ahzore pbqr juvpu jr unir gb onfr26 gb trg gur nafjre. Va gur grkg ur hfrf gur jbeq "bqq" gjvpr juvpu pbhyq or n uvag. Gevrq pbhagvat gur punef orgjrra gur frcnengbef(v va gur svefg yvar, w va gur guveq naq fb ba..)) $\endgroup$
    – Doomenik
    Jul 31, 2018 at 6:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Shouldn't the last two vertical bars be one place to the right? $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jul 31, 2018 at 12:18

4 Answers 4


The answer is


Continuing from @M Oehm and the final hint.

The final hint (and possibly the third hint) suggests an acrostic in the original poem. Reading down we get Base2.

With bonus hint

There are 10 bars of music for a total of 40 notes. The bonus hint indicates that the notes can be on or off. Combining this with the base 2 clue this probably means that the notes form a binary string. 40 bits make up 5 bytes of data. If assign the notes on spaces to 0 and notes on lines to 1 then we get the following string 00110011 01101000 01110010 01100101 01101011. Converting to ascii produces 3hrek. Which leads to the intended answer of Shrek. I believe the 3 was intended to be an S but there is an error in the second or second and third note.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice. I think being able to read music actually hurts one's chances of getting this! $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Aug 24, 2018 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I had to constantly remind myself of hint 4 $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2018 at 11:56

Partial solution

The vertical bars:

The vertical bars in the first paragraph set off chunks of five letters: usine, eemto, isgra, gsudd and suren. Their middle letters spell imgur, which is where the images on PSE are stored.

The "poem":

Now imgur images are referenced by a five letter code, or rather by a code of five characters, which may be small letters, capital letters or decimal digits. The poem describes these characters:

i — Bicycle riders give miniature rice,
9 — a number nine. [quite literally so]
j — soja injection rejuvenates objects,
k — "ewok look cuckoo" barked hunky jock!
A — 26, the first and the big. [The first of the alphabet, ie the 26, and in upper case]

The next step of the puzzle is ...

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hint 1 says that the vertical lines are not necessary for the puzzle. I don't see how it would have been possible to get this without using them :O $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Aug 1, 2018 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ And I overthink it sure :D Nice work $\endgroup$
    – Doomenik
    Aug 1, 2018 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @jafe I've seen puzzles that require you to draw the conclusion that 5-character string = imgur :3 $\endgroup$
    – Zimonze
    Aug 1, 2018 at 9:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree that hinting at imgur is better than nothing, but hadn't I known about i.stack.imgur.com and imgur-mazes, I wouldn't have found the hint in the first place. And I would probably not have known that I need five characters to identify an image. (There's the more prominent imgur.com, where images are identified by seven chars -- and accompanied by lots of ads.) So relying on imgur always feels like a bit of an in-joke for the initiated. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Aug 1, 2018 at 10:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I like to think that someone, somewhere is currently recording a trombone track to figure this one out. $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Aug 3, 2018 at 18:03

This is a very odd answer, but I can't help think it has something to do with a


And potentially even, a movie -

Jungle Book?

After ages and ages playing with ciphers and definitely overthinking things, I decided to go back to the mention of "beast" and the note saying the present was "fun to watch" and "relatable."

The main thing that kept grabbing my attention was that the word


came up again and again when trying to use anagramming, ciphers, pulling letters from the middle of the letters in the blocks, etc. That word shows up repeatedly.

Am I getting close at all??

  • $\begingroup$ Any examples where the word shows up? I'm not seeing it... $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Aug 20, 2018 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ The first set of 5 letters in the vertical bars are "usine" which is one letter short. Then I took the inside letters of all the sets of letters by cutting off the first and last ("outside") and ursine shows up there. There's more but I don't have my insane notes in front of me because I'm forcing myself to go to bed. $\endgroup$
    – Carley
    Aug 20, 2018 at 11:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Whoa, you're right that "ursine" shows up in a lot of places, but the answer is derived from the sheet music. $\endgroup$
    – Zimonze
    Aug 20, 2018 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ I feel very silly now as I totally missed that the riddle had the tag "steganography" when I first looked at it. I'm trying all kinds of things with the image atm and hope to get the answer soon. $\endgroup$
    – Carley
    Aug 22, 2018 at 8:16

Continuing on from @M Oehm's answer,

I wanted to look at all of the notes which are out of place - ie. those which are accompanied by more than one syllable. Unfortunately the sequence doesn't make sense (G-E-G-E-A-B-G-A-C-B) and doesn't look easily decoded, not even by using rot101 or something.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I guess this puzzle has quite a few irrelevant details... Just stick to simple things. $\endgroup$
    – Zimonze
    Aug 2, 2018 at 1:16

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