Hidden in the ciphertext below is a user name from puzzling.stack.exchange. Who is it?

The intended answer uses all of the ciphertext, not just a snippet that happens to match somebody in some way.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Not to be that guy, but I’ve usually seen this Meta post attached for questions like this, although I may be wrong. $\endgroup$
    – El-Guest
    Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 16:17
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @WeatherVane If you don't think this kind of thing makes a good puzzle, you can express that with a downvote. If you think the community should take a stand against this, you can post on our Meta to gauge others' opinions. It's probably fair to say that such puzzles would tend to exclude relative newcomers from participating in them as they may not yet know the prominent PSEers and so might not recognize when they're looking at the right answer—though assuming the answer is, say, someone on the first page of users by rep, that should be a minor obstacle. But debate on Puzzling Meta please, not here. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio it has already been on Meta as Should we be referencing/using specific users in puzzles? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @WeatherVane (Yes, with nobody taking a stance against it. I concur with the consensus opinion that there's nothing wrong with it as long as you're not being intentionally derogatory with it.) $\endgroup$
    – Rubio
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 8:51

1 Answer 1



Tom - ranked 8th by all-time reputation.

Solve path:

I noticed that letters from the first half of the alphabet formed huge clumps. Highlighting the letters from the second half of the alphabet produces a pixel image showing the text 221 86 1L. The numbers are shaped like those on a seven-segment display, the kind seen on ancient calculators where secret messages can be revealed by turning the device around. So, turn the text around to get 71 98 122. These numbers are within the range of ASCII codes for letters, and they decode to Gbz. There is no user by that name, but Google tells me other users have written rot13(Gbz) on this site. Rot13 gives the name Tom.

More spoilers:

A visual spoiler

  • $\begingroup$ For a puzzle of 255 letters, this one was very minimalist. I wonder if I've missed some other hidden secrets? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ No, you found the whole secret. Nice work on a puzzle that was dormant for almost 4 years! $\endgroup$
    – FlanMan
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 15:35

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