Peptiberg: Hello, friend. Why do you look so pleased?

Tippgeber: My friend just had a change of profession - from a divisive one to a constructive one.

Peptiberg: Was it a smooth transition?

Tippgeber: Yes, but it did involve being eaten up, digested and expelled by a bird.

Peptiberg: A real bird?

Tippgeber: A valid, full-fledged bird. That's what I sed.

Peptiberg: I have to admit I wouldn't expect that method of transition to work in this economy. Can this bird help me find new employment too?

Tippgeber: Probably not. It only works on very particular things, and my friend's vocation was quite niche within the field.

Peptiberg: Well, you seem to think this was overall a change for the better.

Tippgeber: Oh yes, the new job may be old-fashioned, but at least the sign above the door has name recognition in the high-tech Communications age.

Peptiberg*: You're breaking up. I think our connection just got cut off. I'm sure you can no longer hear me, but I wish to ask what the two occupations are! If only I knew what that bird was...


The bird's designation is a full sed program.

Also a hint:

The professions aren't exactly on the top 18 lists. In fact, I've arguably never heard of either one being a profession per se, but they are reasonably within the realm of occupation.

A revival hint:

The puzzle is stated by the German one. @KateGregory has framed most of the solution but the anagrams are just for fun.

*This name is not a hint.

I am not aware of any typos.


3 Answers 3


Perhaps Tippgeber's friend was a

sow-butcher (divisive at least in the sense of dividing pigs into pieces)

and upon treatment by


became a

stitcher (constructive, though rather unspecific).

In case it isn't clear,

snow-bunting here is a command to the Unix sed text-processing tool; the initial s is the "substitute" command; the character after it (in this case n) is used as a delimiter for the "old" and "new" strings -- s[n]ow-bu[n]ti[n]g, so we are turning ow-bu into ti; and the final g means to do the replacement globally, i.e., as many times as possible on the input, which in this case is just once.

Many thanks to

the OP for giving some useful hints, to the authors of a handy Wikipedia page that lists many kinds of bird, and to Mark Owen for his excellent qat tool into which one can enter Aow;buB;AtiB and get a list containing the desired answer :-).

  • $\begingroup$ Good answer! You're using all the clues as intended. Re (1) I suggest keeping pretty permissive about that definition. I agree with (2) - slashes are not in it, but you have so many options to choose from in their place (though the man page may not say so clearly). Keep going! $\endgroup$
    – WAF
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ Hm. So I see I can use literally any character as a delimiter, but the only bird name I can find that has the right structure (I take "full-fledged" to mean that even the final delimiter needs to be there) is "sea-eagle", and I haven't found any good A->AGL word-pairs... $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ Think globally. $\endgroup$
    – WAF
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ oh, you are a much cleverer person than me. That does make sense, of course. (I found a few more -- e.g., shrikethrush, starfrontlet -- but they don't seem hopeful and thanks to your hint I know I can ignore them :-).) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm. There's SNOWBUNTING but while there are a number of words with OWBU in -- e.g., SHOWBUSINESS -- I don't see any that improve on turning it into TI. Still thinking... $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 11:09

I don't have an answer exactly, but I'm looking for

Two professions, one divisive, one constructive, that are anagrams


their names are anagrams


the unix command awk 1 will probably be involved. "bird" and "sed" point to that.

  • $\begingroup$ Keep it a little more literal and direct than that with your 3rd observation to discover the key. That will lead you back to the first observation. $\endgroup$
    – WAF
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ Also, good noticing #2, but it's not a clue! $\endgroup$
    – WAF
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 17:35

Partial Answer:

As it was mentioned that "Peptiberg" is not a hint, it is reasonable to guess that "Tippgeber" is a hint, though I don't know how.


"niche" (instead of "nice") may be a hint, and thanks to @SteveV, "sed" is a hint

  • $\begingroup$ Good job breaking the ice. Your first idea would be helped by application of one of the tags, but it is altogether secondary. Your second one should be taken at face value. And your 3rd is central to the solution and related to another tag. (I didn't tag this "knowledge" because I thought that would be covered more specifically by the ones I used.) $\endgroup$
    – WAF
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 15:33

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