Four boys at school are playing football and one breaks a window. No one owns up to doing it but someone gives the teacher an anonymous note saying:

hE iS thE CuLpriT?

The four boys were:





Which boy was the one that did it?

A friend of mine gave me this puzzle, and after I spent hours trying to solve it I couldn't come up with a reason as to who the culprit is. I'm unsure if this question can be solved through logical deduction or not from the information that is given. Any help would be much appreciated.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ As mentioned in the question, "One breaks a window". Hence it must be the boy whose name is one. $\endgroup$
    – Yanko
    Dec 7, 2018 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ @deepthought hahah :P $\endgroup$
    – Mr Pie
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:57
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Are any of the answers correct? If yes then please mark the correct answer. If not either answer yourself or give another hint please $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Dec 8, 2018 at 20:41

6 Answers 6


Here's my interpretation.



Let me tell you why.

Observe this ==> hE iS thE CuLpriT?

With my logic, the mix and match of the upper and lowercase has nothing to do with this. But, the "?" does. What's "?"? Question MARK.

Now read the entire line.

he is the culprit, question Mark.

Now the teacher knows whom to inquire.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks @gsamaras.. but i don't actually know if the mixed upper and lowercase letters mean or add on anything to this... $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2018 at 8:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I interpreted @ShomariMills-Legerton comment "as yes, that's it, I confirmed with my friend" Rai. If that's not the case, then Shomari, please, let us know! $\endgroup$
    – gsamaras
    Dec 6, 2018 at 8:54
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Possibly make sense if the letters were cut from a newspaper, like ransom notes sometimes were... $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Dec 6, 2018 at 12:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For the upper/lower cases: ROT13[rfrpyg vf na nantenz sbe fryrpg (fb fryrpg naq dhrfgvba znex)]. Perhaps? $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2018 at 15:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually the best argument for this answer is that question isn't a question. $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2018 at 6:28

The culprit is:



If you take the indices of the capital letters in the alphabet and look up the corresponding verses in each of the biblical books:


Matthew is the only one whose verses deal with breaking stuff:

Matthew 5:19: Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments...
Matthew 12:20: A bruised reed he will not break...

Matthew 5:3 has nothing to do with breaking stuff and was made intentionally irrelevant to this breakage theme so you could selectively ignore it. This was done to reflect an idea he must've had about religious texts. That those who convince others about truths and meaning in them often pick and choose only the relevant parts that support the argument they are trying to give, whilst ignoring contradictions in other parts of the text that would weaken their assumptions. Hence the specific references to biblical books names. If you think about it, this was the real meaning of the puzzle your friend was trying to reveal to you, and the premise of a puzzle was just an allegory. The way he hid it truly reveals his ingenuity. This might sound a bit far fetched but if you had more faith you might agree.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Even if this isn't the intended answer it would be excellent material for a puzzle :). $\endgroup$
    – Mixxiphoid
    Dec 7, 2018 at 9:27
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Interesting conclusion, but definitely reading too much into it (which is what English Profs do for a living, so good on you for staying in character). $\endgroup$
    – GreySage
    Dec 7, 2018 at 20:30
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ That the four names are the four evangelists cannot be random chance. It's either a clue, or the biggest red herring I've ever seen. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Dec 9, 2018 at 9:30

I think it is:



I accept the "Question Mark" answer as the correct one. However, I concluded that Luke was the culprit. I did this by translating letters into numbers and numbers in to even and odd values.

h E i S t h E C u L p r i T ?
8 5 9 19 20 8 5 3 21 12 16 18 9 20 0 0
1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0

L u k e
12 21 11 5
1 0 0 0
1 0 0 0 = "HE IS"

Any of the other names dont match inside the 1 & 0s from the clue:
1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0

0 0 1 1 1 0 0

1 0 1 1

0 0 1 0


Four boys are playing football. One breaks a window.

By elimination

The four boys were: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. So it must be the fifth boy. Since "the four" were playing football. Strict interpretation would be that there are 4 + 1 boys.

  • $\begingroup$ But, as I child I would remember countless times us (almost) breaking a window by accident.. $\endgroup$
    – gsamaras
    Dec 7, 2018 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's meant that one of the players broke the window by chance with the football. $\endgroup$
    – Edheldil
    Dec 7, 2018 at 8:36
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think so to, but if there is room for interpretation in a puzzle I'm gonna exploit it :) $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2018 at 9:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't see a lot of wiggle room in the title "Four boys are playing football and one of them breaks a window". $\endgroup$
    – benj2240
    Dec 7, 2018 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ @benj2240 good eye, OP's title statement and the puzzle conflict. The puzzle doesn't include "of them". $\endgroup$
    – BruceWayne
    Dec 8, 2018 at 3:54

I think it is:


Here's my take:

Apply a simple 0 based count to each letter starting at A.
Add the values for each set, then do some subtraction of the two main character sets.
Lower case letters: hithupri = 101
Upper case letters: ESECLT = 58
Matthew = 83
Mark = 39
Luke = 45
John = 43
101 - 58 = 43


Adding to @Rai's wonderful answer...

...here is to perhaps explain the capital letters:

An anagram of all the capital letters, ESECLT, is SELECT.


Perhaps you have to select the question MARK?


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It sure does add sense to the capitalized alphabets.. $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2018 at 8:27

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