This is my first puzzle, but strongly influenced in style by the type of puzzles you see monthly at Puzzled Pint. If you are fortunate enough to live in a city where they are hosted, I would really recommend going. Depending on how this one goes, it is planned to be the first of a series along the (deliberately clichéd) theme of a treasure hunt.

This story begins like any good treasure island story, with a cliché!

Your widowered father is aging, and the family have decided to move him to a retirement home so he can get the care he needs. He has been living by himself for the past decade and has accumulated a lot of various items - to be brutally honest, mostly junk. Being the most limber you volunteer to clean out the attic. While scrambling around - being carefull not to put your foot through the ceiling - you come across an old backpack which contains a collection of paraphernalia one might expect to see for an old-timey exploerer, such as a gas lamp, rope, hard hat, and a scrap of paper. The paper catches your eye. You pocket it and head down for an explanation.

"What's this?" you ask.

"That's an old treasure map." He says, somewhat matter-of-factly.

"Go on..."

"It is back from when I was in the navy. We found this map, found the island too. Scoured it as best we could, but only had a couple of weeks we could spare. It was abandoned, but we certainly weren't the first there. Rumour was that a treasure of some fantastic nature was hidden somewhere on it. I was putting together a few things to go back and search for it, but that is when your mother passed and my priorities shifted a bit. Then I guess I just lost the enthusiasm."

You examine the map closely. It contains a coded message which might give some clue as to location or nature of the treasure. Or it might be meaningless twaddle, but it is a good a place as any to start. The treasure map

Question: What is the message?

The handwriting on the map is not great, so a transcription of the coded phrase is given below if required.


  • $\begingroup$ The transcription is missing a second C as the last letter of the second group. $\endgroup$
    – JeffC
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ Whoops - thanks @JeffC, I've corrected that now. $\endgroup$
    – Johnson
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


The message is:


The way to reveal it:

Each subset of letters leads to a location. A single A is A1, AA is A2, etc. Each respective square on the map refers to a letter: A1 is P(hilips), A2 is R (Arr!), A3 is E (Echo) and so on.

  • $\begingroup$ Wowzas, that was rapid @Braegh! Correct of course, and clearly I need to address my difficultly level (or lack of it) :) $\endgroup$
    – Johnson
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ Difficulty level is not necessarily low, it's just that this site attracts hidden geniuses! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ True - @GeorgeMenoutis, good point - and I meant no disrespect for your solving skills @Braegh! $\endgroup$
    – Johnson
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Braegh - For completeness, care to point out how you solved each letter in the answer? $\endgroup$
    – Johnson
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 20:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sure. A1 is (P)hilips End, A2 is "Arr!" (R), A3 is NATO phonetics for E, B1's crossbones are shaped like an X, B2's Twin Peaks form a M-shape, B3 is K because 2.2lb = (very close to) 1kg. C1 is Tea, C2 is shaped like an S, C3 is a Sea (and, could argue is shaped like a C). D1 is A (NATO: Alpha), D2 is (O)llys Head, D3 is H (NATO: Hotel) $\endgroup$
    – Braegh
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 20:38

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