We all know it can be difficult to find a needle in a haystack, but in this puzzle you have to

#Find the NEEDLE in the network! Needle in the network puzzle

A bit more detailed:
Somewhere in the network pictured above hides the word Needle encoded in a rather well known cipher. (You will find examples of the used cipher on Puzzling SE in several other puzzles.) The task is to find it (and the used cipher).


  • The image alone constitutes the puzzle.

  • It is visual and no information is hidden in its digital representation.
    (If you want, you can draw the same image by hand.)

  • The solution requires a cipher to be applied, i.e. the word "needle" is encoded not just visually hidden or obscured.


2 Answers 2


I noticed that four of the nodes of the graph have a quarter missing, and each of those four is missing a different quarter.

These missing quarters can be used to designate those four nodes as the four corners of a 7 by 6 grid of nodes like so:
enter image description here

With this...

Each row of the grid has 5 cells, which can be assigned a 1 if the diagonal goes from lower left to upper right or a 0 of the diagonal goes from upper left to lower right. Using this method, the rows have binary values of 01101, 00100, 00100, 00011, 01011, and 00100. In base ten, these numbers are 13, 4, 4, 3, 11, 4.

Though many people might convert these numbers into letters starting with A=1, this would result in the nonsense word "mddckd". All C programmers know that we should start with A=0, which means the numbers convert to "needle".


Is this possibly what you are looking for?

enter image description here

  • 12
    $\begingroup$ Very nice and +1 for visual solution, but no, it is not the solution I'm after. Reason: There is no cipher involved in your solution. But you clearly have found a needle in the network. Nice. $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 16:15
  • 37
    $\begingroup$ You've found a neleed! $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 8:48

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