A Quick Note

I am having a hard time picking a topic for my next story riddle and have decided to make a new puzzle. Today I have combined a multitude of puzzles into a single larger puzzle to make something truly fun!

The Puzzle

Yesterday was quite odd; while out for my run I came across a note nailed to a tree:

Pier at the prefix, across the sea; add seventeen, just to find me.

Accept that the infix, is just an arc; reverse it, subtract it, add one more part.

Reverse to the suffix, it's where we began; you'll find it, you see, in the palm of your hand.

Take them together, but be advised; the fun isn't over, a word from the wise.

It was quite odd to find a riddle such as this in the woods; but I was intrigued, so I took the note and began analyzing it. After a while, a snake slithered by and I decided it would probably be a good idea to head back to the house to get dinner started. On my way back, I noticed there was something carved into my favorite tree branch:

$1, 3, 5, 6, 9$

$$ab + \frac{6b}{c} - d = 1$$

I wasn't sure what it meant either, but it was strange because I've run this trail hundreds of times; and I jump over that branch every time. I aim for it, and I have never seen this carving. I took a mental note of it and continued home.

After arriving at home, I noticed a note on the front door from the post office, but it was all scrambled up! Why would they play mind games with me? Was it a shipping number?


I called the post office and they stated they had no record of the odd note. The mail man had no mail for me today.

All of this weighed heavily on my mind; but I decided to get some rest and tackle it again in the morning after a run and some coffee. So the next morning, I woke up, and went on my usual run. While I was out I encountered another odd note:


I finished my run and went back to working on deciphering these odd notes. What did they all mean?

Bonus Reputation Opportunity

The answer is actually the originally intended title for this puzzle. I will award $150$ reputation bounty to whomever gives the most creatively correct answer! A complete and thorough answer does not count as creative. The first complete and correct answer will receive a $50$ reputation bounty regardless of creativity. So there is a total of $200$ reputation up for grabs here. The initial $50$ reputation will begin as soon as possible after acceptance, and the $150$ reputation will be awarded two weeks after the answer has been selected. Should I award this based on up-votes, or on my own decision?

An example of a creative answer would be to tell a short story that gives the answer. A basic example with a fake answer:

As I started my car this morning, I heard a strange noise in the trunk; it came from a


I was terrified and I called the proper authorities to handle the situation. While waiting for them to arrive, I noticed a patch of


They were quite bright and they made me forget the noise in my trunk, even if only for a brief moment. As the authorities arrived, they handed me a piece of paper that

contained the word flower written vertically.

I thought this was rather odd, but I let them do their job, and went on my way.

Notes and Hints

Note: If you're unable to decrypt using desktop tools, or if you're having trouble decrypting, use this website. The encryption method and the key are here, you just have to find them. Also, leave the mode on CBC.

Hints: I'm not sure if people are overthinking the Riley portion or not, but the encrypted text has been solved. The math has also been solved (though not with the intended values) and is enigmatic in nature as to how it relates to the rest of the puzzle. Below you will find hints for the Riley and for the math.

Riley Hints
The word that you seek, is already given; as with all of my riddles, it is well hidden.
Search if you dare, but keep a sharp eye; for the word yes indeed, can make you die.
This riddle is broken, into three parts; the key that you needed, it seems it was TARP.
Look to the left, to the left I do say; the answer is hidden, but placed the wrong way.

Math Hints
The math it would seem, has been answered as well; and just like the Riley, on letters you dwell.

Additional Tags: rhyme cipher mathematics enigmatic-puzzle

What is the original title for this puzzle?

  • $\begingroup$ I guess snake points us to the encryption method.. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ I would also guess, the Riley might have a suffix rot13(yvar). and if it is the word from wise I think it can be rot13(qvfpvcyvar be vaqvfpvcyvar be fhoqvfpvcyvar be zhygvqvfpvcyvar be thvqryvar.. V nz zber vapyvarq gbjneqf gur jbeqf gung raq jvgu qvfpvcyvar, fvapr vg pbagnvaf 'qvfp' juvpu pna eryngr gb gur vasvk -'Npprcg gung gur vasvk, vf whfg na nep; erirefr vg, fhogenpg vg, nqq bar zber cneg.' ) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ You're correct in your first comment, but you're heavily overthinking the Riley. I'll be giving a hint today. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand how the extra bounty thing works $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ If you give the most creatively correct answer, I’ll award an additional 150 bounty. I’m even thinking of raising it to 200 lol $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 23:30

6 Answers 6


Being new here, I've learned a lot so far from this puzzle and the associated posts already, so thank you for that. I still have a ton of questions, but let's start out small. As far as I can tell, a lot of the work has been done but there isn't a complete answer posted yet, correct? At the very least, it looks to be still open for the creative answers.

Either way, there are some things I'm looking at and I'm curious if I'm on the right track, and if any of it is a progressive contribution. So I'll just leave this thought on a popular Star Wars scene and hope that some piece of it means something: We got a clean shot of Admiral Ackbar's face as the realization of their error was setting in and he announced "It's a trap!"


While I feel pretty secure about puzzles one and three, I'm still uncertain as to puzzle two, so here are my thoughts:

I'm functioning under the idea that the process of solving puzzle two is fairly independent from the others, and that it's just the answer that relates. I'm also assuming the number values 1, 3, 5, 6, 9 represent characters A, C, E, F, I respectively. With this in mind, I'm looking for a four letter word (possibly with repeated characters). So far, my most favorable results that satisfy the function (apparently the same as Luke's answer) give me E, A, C, F. Thus, after some scrambling, I'm getting two words: FACE and CAFE. I'm personally leaning towards FACE at the moment.

Regardless, my followup questions then are:
1. Does the narrative of the puzzle impact the title of the puzzle, or is it primarily there as a structure for/way to represent giving the puzzles?

2. Is the title three words or are there conjunctive words like "the" and "a"? Or maybe there's more words involved, possibly sourced from the sub-puzzles.

So far, my best guess:

Face setting a trap

Feel free to edit, or inform me of proper etiquette in case I should do something differently.

Latest Edit: Well then, I have to go with:

Setting a trap


I'm still trying to work out how this one results in A. The equation equals 1, so either 1 = A or one as in vernacular singular, thus "a", etc. Or, because in all the solutions (at least that I have so far) to solve it, 1 is always used. I dunno, but I'm still gonna work on this part until I figure it out for sure.

Creative Answer: I'll come back to this one

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE! You are definitely onto something with your quote! As I stated, the answers are all here and the only thing left is to relate them together properly. The bonus opportunity is still there! $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer literally contains the answer! You're overthinking puzzle 2. To answer your question; there is a single conjunctive word, and three words total! :) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ The intended solution for the math contains several ones, and is equal to one. This relates to A = 1. The bonus opportunity is still up for grabs if you'd like to take a crack at it! An additional $+150$ on top of the $+100$ you just got! Congrats! $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 17:24

Partial answer:

OP's comment on @Shahriar Mahmud Sajid's answer says to try all combinations, hinting at the other anagram of PART, TARP.

Using the Serpent algorithm (as hinted by the snake) and TARP as the key, the third message is decoded into SETTING.

I think the next step is solving the riley, but idk.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very good find on both of these! The Riley is more simple than most think. I'll be giving a hint today. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 16:57

New edit

$$3(1) + \frac{6(1)}{6} - 3 = 1$$

  • $\begingroup$ You don't have to use all of the numbers provided, the answer for $x$ will help with the final answer. I updated the math to make it a little more simplistic to give newer members a chance too. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ Also, I forgot to mention, no; the answer for $x$ is wrong there, in terms of solving the puzzle. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 20:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I updated the math, if you'd like to give it another go. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ I will look again, and thanks for editing my answer :) $\endgroup$
    – Goose
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 20:29
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    $\begingroup$ No problem! I figured it could use the updated syntax. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 20:30


For the key, last part said to look to the first. probably pointing at the riley, it says to rearrange what you see, first thing i see is the acrostic which says PART, if we rearrange it we get TRAP. But using that as key had no positive effect on the encrypted note though,so may be it isn't the key,but we have to use the acrostic to find the actual key or something like that.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You were on the right track for the key. Always make sure you try all possible combinations. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 23:04

Some thoughts on the Riley

The math problem has three solutions (assuming numbers from the number bank can't be repeated). But based on PerpetualJ's comments I think the solution is $a=5,b=1,c=3,d=6$


I think each hint in the riley is pointing to one value fore a or b or c.

For example

"Pier at the prefix, across the sea(C); add seventeen, just to find me." This could mean, take the answer to C and add 17. That gives us 20. That might mean the prefix is the 20th letter of the alphabet (T)


"Reverse to the suffix, it's where we (B)egan; you'll find it, you see, in the palm of your hand." This could mean take the answer to B, which is 1. This could mean the suffix is A, which is found in "palm" and "hand" EDIT: This could also mean "W" (where "we" began")


"Accept that the infix, is just an (A)rc; reverse it, subtract it, add one more part." I'm probably still over thinking this but I think this means, take A ($5$), reverse it ($2$), subtract it ($5-2=3$) (C) and add one more part. (O)

This leaves us with

TOW which doesn't mean too much to me, even combined with "Setting" and "TARP"

  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't say barking up the wrong tree, but you seem to be overthinking some of it. Now for feedback! +1 First of all! For the prefix, you have the correct thinking on the letter there, the problem is, your math doesn't add up. Adding 17 won't give you what you found. You added 20. Next for the suffix, think more literal for this. You're on the right track for the infix, and the add one more part is a play on words. Literal thinking is again needed. I would love to give more, but I fear that I'll give it away completely. Keep up the good work! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ I also just made a final update to the math to ensure a proper answer is chosen. There are several answers that will give you what you need there, but only a few (roughly 5) that will make it obvious. Feel free to utilize a computer and brute force it if you'd like. I didn't say no computers lol $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ Accept that the infix is just an arc. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ @PerpetualJ No! I can't accept that, apparently! It has to be more complicated! :P $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ LOL I've been feeling like I should tone down the difficulty of my Riley riddles, but then people like @QuantumTwinkie solve them in seconds lol $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 18:24

I think the solution to the math problem, based on the answers from Luke C. J. Currie, QuantumTwinkie and comments on those answers by PerpetualJ is:

$$a = 1, b = 5, c = 6, d = 9$$

This relates to the Riley as:

Pier at the prefix, across the (C)sea; add seventeen, just to find me.
C= 6 + 17 = letter number 23 = W
Reverse to the suffix, it's where we (B)began; you'll find it, you see, in the palm of your hand.
B = 5(Fingers) = letter number 5 = E

So the word:

Should start with W and end with E

  • $\begingroup$ So this is back to where Luke started, The math doesn’t actually relate to the Riley; each piece to the puzzle is solved on its own and each alone are enigmatic in relation to the others. However, since I have asked a single question you know how they relate. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 12:55

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