This puzzle is part of the ‘Twelve Labours’ series. Previous instalments can be found here: Prologue | 01
His first labour now complete, Hercules made his way up the street to the storage depot for Lernaean Hydration, a wholesaler of alcoholic drinks. The owner, Minos, met him on the threshold with a sigh of relief.
“Thanks so much, Hercules,” Minos gushed, clearly very grateful. “We’ve had a big shipment for the local bars and pubs, but my assistant, Theseus, has called in sick. He normally deals with the distribution, so I really appreciate your mother’s offer for you to deliver a few crates around the neighbourhood for me. In return I said she could have the free gift that comes with the crate of wine.”
“Okay, no problem I guess,” said Hercules, inwardly cursing his mother and her willingness to volunteer his services without consulting him first. “So what’s the free gift?”
“Oh, I’m sure you can figure that out... I’ve unpacked the crate over there...”
Hercules followed his gaze. Forty-nine bottles stood arranged in a square on the table. Looking at the bottle caps from above, Hercules could see that each of them had a letter of the alphabet printed upon it.
“Originally,” continued Minos, “the bottle caps spelled out a promotional message from the wine merchants, Dionysus. If you can reconstruct it, that will help. You can do it in fewer than ten moves.”
Hercules frowned. “What do you mean, ‘moves’?”
“You’ll work it out. Oh, and you’ll need this.” Minos handed Hercules a bottle with a white cap labelled with an ‘X’. “But I’ll want it back at the end...”
TASK: Deduce how to reconstruct the promotional bottle-cap message. Identify the item which has been promised to Hercules' mother.
Bottle-cap text reproduced below for copy-paste purposes:
BTYUCOA LYEEFIR NISTSDE WGNOSAR DDEFANA AOBUEWD FORARLE