# This is why they call me “Book Smart”

So, I was walking alon g, bothering nobo dy one day when, out of nowh ere, this c razy person came out of a bookshop and t hrew a book ca lled 'Tolerance' at me. It broke my sp ine. That's when I lea rned the meaning of the exp ression.

What was the lesson that I learned?

Hint:

The paragraph has exactly 234 characters, plus the final "n" and "." which are extraneous. Does this help?

• All I've got is this ... wrong track? – Rand al'Thor Mar 13 at 12:28
• @Randal'Thor Wrong track. – Chowzen Mar 13 at 12:29
• 444112233....wrong track? – Brandon_J Mar 13 at 12:37
• @Brandon_J Wrong track. – Chowzen Mar 13 at 12:39
• Hmmm...is the book title relevant at all? – Brandon_J Mar 13 at 21:15

The expression is:

WORDS HURT

There are:

nine words that have a conspicuous space in the middle of them. Splitting the story into nine lines, plus two extra characters off the end, yields

Taking the A1Z26 of the location of the spaces in the lines yields:
23 15 18 4 19 8 21 18 20 -> WORDSHURT

• That’s a GROANER! +1 and I wish it could’ve been +2 for you and for Chowzen – El-Guest Mar 15 at 2:48
• Excellent! I'm still trying to figure out why @Soltius wasn't able to follow through; they were on the right track, indeed. I'll start forging a green checkmark for you and will hand it over when it's done. – Chowzen Mar 15 at 3:05
• Congrats ! Wasn't able to come through because it was 1AM in my timezone, had to get up at 7 and extra spaces were starting to dance before my eyes.. – Soltius Mar 15 at 7:52
• FWIW: Partially inspired by this moment from the movie Saved! – Chowzen Mar 15 at 8:15

Partial after hint :

The answer we're looking for has 9 letters, ans the text has 234 characters, which is 26 times 9. 26 is the number of letters in the alphabet.

Moreover,

Extra spaces in text seem to be spaced evently such that the first space is between 0 and 26 position, the second between 26 and 52 etc.

So,

I tried counting the position in the sentence where the spaces appeared (mod 26) and get letters from the positions gathered that way (eg first space appears as 23rd position > W), but it led me no where.

• Feels like you got it. Maybe rot13(Ivtarer jvgu gbyrenapr nf gur xrl?) – arbitrahj Mar 15 at 0:45

I have a few ideas. The following is a format of the question that I think will be useful to us.

SoIwasWalkingAlon gBothering
nobo dyOneDayWhen
outOfNowh ere
thisC razyPersonCameOut
ofABookshopAndT hrewA
bookCa lledToleranceAtMe
itBrokeMySp ineThatsWhen
ILea rnedTheMeaning
ofTheExp ression


My guess is that

The answer consists of nine letters, and is clued by its relative location to the inserted spaces. The first letters before (1B for convenience) the splits spells "nohctapap". Not helpful. First letter after (1_A_) spells out "gderhilierr." 2A - "byrarllne". 3A - "ooezeeees" - fun word, no help. 4A - "tntywdtds". 2B - "obwsdcsex". 3B - "looinkyle" (we technically got "loo in kyle", but I sincerely doubt that this gibberish is the answer.) 4B - "annhaomie".

To conclude, I don't yet have the answer, but I wanted to put my failed tries up for the benefit of future solvers.

Also - to Chowzen - Am I remotely on the right track, at least with the first sentence of the hidden text?

• Yes to "nine," not really to "proximity." BTW, my sister's middle name coincidentally happens to be "looinkyle." :) – Chowzen Mar 13 at 22:10
• @Chowzen drat, I'll keep looking. Also, for the briefest moment I thought you were serious on the last part lol. – Brandon_J Mar 13 at 22:13
• @Chowzen I edited the first sentence on the "not really" part. – Brandon_J Mar 13 at 22:14
• Possibly relevant then that Tolerance is rot13(nyfb avar yrggref)? – Mohirl Mar 14 at 10:55

not it I'm sure, but

A skip in nine breaks spine

But i do wonder

if nine breaks is relevant

• I applaud the effort (+1), but that's more like lateral thinking than steganography. – Chowzen Mar 13 at 13:34