This (loosely) follows on from my first puzzle: Master Bomb Defusers

It has been nearly a year since you last heard from the infamous "Mr. 5" and you've discovered there's only so long you can scroll through a puzzle website while pretending to work before you get the itch to create your own mystery.

Maybe that's why supervillains create such elaborate, but fragile, plans? They don't really want to destroy the world or obtain global domination, they're just bored and looking for a fix.

Is hoping for the next potential bomb plot somehow immoral? If you hadn't foiled every one so far, I suppose it would be, but what's wrong with a little excitement if it only potentially risks tens of thousands of lives?

Looking for a way to occupy your mental faculties, you grab the top file off your desk to re-read it for the hundredth time. Ah yes, the "interrogation" of your inside informant, who helped catch Mr. 5's right-hand man (he could be left-handed, but odds are against that).

== Evidentiary Transcript - Date: [REDACTED] ==

[Interrogator]: What have you learned?
[REDACTED]: There are ten working for him, spread all over the world.
[Interrogator]: These ten?

Evidence articles A-01 to A-10 are placed on the table

[REDACTED]: Yes, them.
[Interrogator]: What can you tell me about each of them?

[REDACTED]: I can't say their names, but this one {Evidence article A-01} had a deep voice when we spoke on the phone.

[Interrogator]: What of this one? {points to evidence article A-02}
[REDACTED]: This one seemed to be active across a great number of networks. They always left a calling card on their victims that read, "Here be those brought back to life".

[REDACTED] motions to evidence articles A-03 and A-04

[REDACTED]: I think this one wanted help with putting up shelves? They had lovely golden hair. The other one reminded me of candy though. An attention-seeking candy if urban rumours are to be believed.

[Interrogator]: Him? {indicates evidence article A-05}
[REDACTED]: I had expected them to be good at algebra, but one side always seemed bigger.

[REDACTED] grabs evidence article A-06

[REDACTED]: This one was older than 25. Kind of 26, but more like 25 + 1. He seemed really enthusiastic too.

[Interrogator]: How would you describe this one? {indicating evidence article A-07}
[REDACTED]: A six-sided dice? No, not dice. Flat dice? Six, one-sided flat dice.

[REDACTED] motions toward evidence article A-08

[REDACTED]: They aren't the leader, but they'll definitely be there at the end. By the sound of it, they'll be the end of the hero too.

[Interrogator] picks up evidence article A-09

[Interrogator]: What do you think of this one?
[REDACTED]: I judged them at first, but then I learnt they could almost drink backwards!

[REDACTED] visibly reacts to evidence article A-10

[REDACTED]: Jeez, that name nearly made me jump! I'm just glad you weren't there.

[Interrogator]: So these 10 are all affiliated with Mr. 5's co-conspirator?
[REDACTED]: I have no doubts.
[Interrogator]: Did you learn the name of the co-conspirator?
[REDACTED]: I'm sorry....
[Interrogator]: What do you mean?

[REDACTED] grabs a piece of paper and writes "If I talk they can adopt a worse qɯoq purpose" on it

[Interrogator]: You're safe here, we have the whole building under protection.
[REDACTED]: His name is... [REDACTED]


== Summary Report ==

The name of the co-conspirator, [REDACTED] acted as the trigger for a small explosive device which had been surgically placed inside [REDACTED]. The resulting explosion, which occurred at [REDACTED], killed [REDACTED] agents and an additional 73 civilians.


You sigh as you put the file back down on your desk....

If only you'd been there, it had taken a mere 11 seconds to deduce the name of co-conspirator....

What is the name of co-conspirator?

Hint 1

All ten are fairly prolific PSE users. They all have at least 3,000 reputation and 1 gold badge

Hint 2

A-03 was probably misheard when they mentioned shelves

Hint 3

Perhaps A-06 has evolved in some way?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ooh a sequel... how fun! $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '19 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ This is really cool. I was going to ask what our objective was, and then I saw the enigmatic-puzzle tag, lol $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '19 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ Do we have to know about the prequel to solve this by any chance? Or is this stand-alone? $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '19 at 3:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nope, you don't need any prior knowledge from the previous puzzle. It's just following a similar story-telling theme/characters etc. $\endgroup$
    – Dmihawk
    Jan 30 '19 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ Wait are we finding what the redacted words are? Is the co-conspirator the one that is being interrogated? $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '19 at 3:23

Credit to Omega Krypton who identified the initial theme:

The evidence articles A-01 to A-10 corresponds to the name of users on the PSE

A-01: Deep voice on the phone (Confirmed and explained)

Bass (reference to bass being the lowest male vocal range)

A-02: Active across great number of networks and left calling card saying "Here be those brought back to life" (Confirmed and explained)

Rand al'Thor (more than 10,000 rep on stack exchange sites as per omega krypton. The calling card can be explained perhaps because the character is the "dragon reborn". The saying here be... (is completed with dragons), those brought back to life = reborn.

A-03: Wanted help putting up shelves? They had lovely golden hair. (Awaiting confirmation)

Glorfindel. He's an elf in The Lord of the Rings (Elf rhymes with shelf, fits with hint 2 as well). Glorfindel also had gold hair!

A-04: Reminded me of candy. Attention-seeking candy if urban rumours are to be believed (Confirmed and explained)

Jafe (candy being a jaffa, using the urban dictionary jafe refers to them being attention seeking)

A-05: Expected them to be good at algebra but one side always seemed bigger (awaiting confirmation)

Rhsquared (two possible explanations. RH^2 = square root of (RH), therefore one side is bigger and also terrible algebra? The other explanation is perhaps that squaring the right hand side of something and not the left would leave one side bigger and is also terrible algebra.

A-06: Older than 25. Kind of 26 but more like 25+1. He seemed really enthusiastic too. (Confirmed + explained)

Excited raichu credit @Omega Krypton. Pikachu is 25th pokemon and Raichu evolves from Pikachu, thereby being 25 + 1.

A-07: A six-sided dice? No, not dice. Flat dice? Six, one-sided flat dice (Confirmed and explained)

Hexomino as per Omega Krypton. Hex is 6, and omino is an n sided flat object

A-08: They aren’t the leader, but they’ll definitely be there at the end. By the sound of it, they’ll be the end of the hero too. (confirmed and explained)

Omega Krypton themselves! (They'll definitely be there at the end - omega is the last letter in the greek alphabet. It'll be the end of the hero - krypton is superman's greatest weakness)

A-9: I judged them at first but then I learnt they could almost drink backwards (awaiting confirmation)

DEEM??? Judge as in I deem you fit to.... Deem backwards is meed which sounds like mead which is a fermented honey drink.

A-10: Jeez, that name nearly made me jump! I’m just glad you weren’t there. (wrong and still working on)

JonMark Perry (I'm just glad you "U" weren't there. Jump without the U is JMP which could stand for JonMark Perry?

Finally to try to now solve for the name of the co-conspirator:

I think only the phrase we're given is relevant. I couldn't find any correlation to the 11 seconds mentioned at the end. There are 10 words in the phrase If I talk they can adopt a worse qɯoq purpose which pairs up with the 10 evidence files. If pairs with A-01, I pairs with A-02, Talk pairs with A-03 etc. The length of the words in the phrase gives you the place of a letter in the corresponding name. For example to get the first letter: If pairs with Bass (2nd letter = A). Doing this for each word gives ARREST HAMK. As the word bomb is upside down (penultimate word), M is the punultimate letter flipped is W. So the co-conspirator was HAWK as in DMIHAWK!

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE! 3/4 correct, great progress :) It might be helpful to other users if you include the reasoning for each answer $\endgroup$
    – Dmihawk
    Jan 30 '19 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Nice! They seem like very viable answers. Also, welcome to Puzzling SE! $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '19 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you kindly. Nice to have a crack at a puzzle $\endgroup$
    – Robinchwan
    Jan 30 '19 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Robinchwan I think that the 25 + 1 may be a reference to Rot13(onqtrf - bar fvyire naq 25 oebamr?) $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Jan 30 '19 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Oh wow, great thinking @Brandon_J! That also sounds really plausible $\endgroup$
    – Robinchwan
    Jan 31 '19 at 0:26

Combinations of different answers with credits:

The ten people:

were users of PSE.

A-01: [correct, confirmed]

@Bass, (deep voice) (credits to @Robinchwan)

A-02: [correct, confirmed]

@Randal'Thor? very active in various netwoks, with 10k+ rep in 4 of them (wow!!!)

A-03, A-04: [V1] [wrong]

@Chowzen and @ManyPinkHats, question-setter and answerer of Do I Work with an Orangutan? putting up shelves--> library; lovely golden hair --> orangutan

A-03 [V2] [wrong]

@Desouvi? putting up shelves = ?, lovely golden hair: go see his avatar ;)

A-03 [V3] [wrong still...]

@PerpetualJ? golden hair: avatar; shelves:?

A-04 [V2] [correct, confirmed]

@jafe candy-->jaffa. urban rumours= urban dictionary attention-seeking--> jafe (in UD) (credits to @Robinchwan)

A-06: [correct, confirmed]

@ExcitedRaichu 25, 25+1: Pokemon index: 25-->Pikachu, 26-->Raichu; hint: evolved from Pikachu to Raichu; enthusiastic: Excited

A-07: [correct, confirmed]

@hexomino Six, one-sided flat dice. six --> hex, one-sided dice: n-mino (eg domino)

A-08: [correct, confirmed]

@Omega Krypton !?? It would be such an honor for me to be part of this, but I doubt if this is right... (credits to @Robinchwan)

A-10: [wrong]

@Spyderscript That name nearly made me jump --> nearly a spider... (credits to @Robinchwan)



1 correct in A-03, A-04 [V1] and A-07


3 correct in A-01, A-07, A-08, and A-10

3 (based on 2)

as A-10 has only less than 200 rep at the moment, which contradicts with the Hint. Therefore A-01, A-07, and A-08 are correct, A-10 is wrong

4 (based on 1, and 3)

A-07 is correct from 3. Therefore A-03 and A-04 [V1] are wrong

Something important, but don't know what to do with the puzzle:

The informant writes the word 'bomb' upside down in the middle of his note. He obviously know about it. (Credits @Mohirl)

  • $\begingroup$ Ohhhh that's really clever $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '19 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ Calling it right now, the co-conspiator is rot13{qrhfbiv} $\endgroup$ Jan 30 '19 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ Very clever indeed... one of those answers is correct... I shall say no more... $\endgroup$
    – Dmihawk
    Jan 30 '19 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton I'm partially joking, but everyone loves qrhfbiv yet is super jealous so is sometimes the butt of these kind of stuff lol $\endgroup$ Jan 31 '19 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ A-03 is wrong, A-04 (v2) is correct and A-10 is wrong. Your final note is correct, but you don't need the information that clue provides just yet $\endgroup$
    – Dmihawk
    Jan 31 '19 at 23:53

Not even enough to be considered a partial answer, but it's a bit odd that

The informant writes the word 'bomb' upside down in the middle of his note. He obviously know about it. As a total long shot, is the whole thing a red herring? The informant is warning about the bomb, so is it the Interrogator who triggers the bomb?

  • $\begingroup$ My story-telling skills need some work, but no, it's not a red herring. +1 for your outside-the-box lateral thinking though! $\endgroup$
    – Dmihawk
    Jan 30 '19 at 18:35

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