A pattern of lows and highs

In groupings of ones, twos, and fives

And when I appear

The masses may cheer

But those in the know roll their eyes

0 + 2 + 1 + 2 - 3 + 0 - 4 + 2

Or, in plain English: Figure this one out, you @#$%#!@

(Everything above this line is part of the clue)

  • I'd like any solutions given to explain their reasoning because there are multiple clues to arrive at the solution (but only one correct solution).

If I need to post updates or hints (and I probably will, but you never know - you guys are really smart!), this is where they'll go.

Hint 1:

This problem has a very specific answer, so it's not something that just anyone could guess. People within a specific community would understand the intended solution. As a normal, puzzle-loving person, your best bet to make progress is to examine the title of the question, which should give you a head-start!

Hint 2:

I've edited the tags now, since it seems no one's on the right track. The specific subject area is music. Good luck!

  • $\begingroup$ It's been a week, and no one's gotten close yet. I might throw out a couple more hints, but unless someone gets closer, I'll probably post the answer within a week of today. $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 14 '19 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ So should there be a "knowledge" tag? $\endgroup$ – Weather Vane Nov 14 '19 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ Is it related to either rot13(Sbeghangr Fba be Wnmm)? $\endgroup$ – David Robie Nov 14 '19 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @WeatherVane I'm not totally sure about whether the "knowledge" tag is warranted. I considered adding it, but the tag doesn't strike me as a perfect match, and I don't want to throw people off. $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 15 '19 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRobie I'm curious as to why you suppose those two ideas. You can check to see whether the answer is related to those ideas by exploring how those would fit with the clues. If no one picks up on it, that will be the next hint I throw out to you guys (a more specific topic). $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 15 '19 at 6:26

Bit of long shot but here's something.

"The Lick" $\text{ } $("the most famous jazz cliché ever" - Wikipedia)

Here's what I did

I pressed @#$%#!@ on my keyboard without holding the shift and I got 2345312.
I put that number in the google search box and got a number of hits mentioning "The Lick"

If you play it, you'll get a cool tune. (with many highs and lows?)
Don't have any idea how the number corresponds to my guess. They seem totally unrelated.

Edit - See David Robie's Comment!

Louis Armstrong - "If you have to ask what Jazz is, you'll never know!"
Many people Love Jazz but around the 1930s the real jazz faded away after Rock and Roll took its place. The people who have a taste for the old music roll their eyes

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The title is a reference to a quote by Louis Armstrong (famous Jazz trumpeter). You could play the lick in a combination of high, low, long, short, fast, or slow ways. It sounds kinda cool, so a lot of people like it, however people who know jazz know that it is overused, so they don't care for it. Like you said, @#$%#!@=2345312. I also can't quite figure out the other number clue. I tried putting it into notes, but it didn't sound familiar. It's close to a progression I know of. $\endgroup$ – David Robie Nov 15 '19 at 16:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Congratulations! This is the answer I intended. I'll post my own self-answer that explains my own logic on each clue, just for kicks, but you're correct! $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 15 '19 at 18:14
  • $\begingroup$ I think 2345312 is the pattern of the notes, for what it’s worth... $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Nov 16 '19 at 1:29

My answer is a short-circuit



I cut to the chase and looked at

"you @#$%#!@"

and applied a lexicon search for words matching those (unique) wildcards.
A huge lexicon produced 84 matches, a small lexicon only 17 matches.


Assuming that "you @#$%#!@" is an expletive there is one match:


I must admit

there isn't a no-computer tag.

  • $\begingroup$ Figure this out, you "croc!" $\endgroup$ – WhatsUp Nov 7 '19 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ Loved the presentation. $\endgroup$ – Weather Vane Nov 7 '19 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ Not the answer I intended (I'm assuming "short-circuit" here is referring to the answer being drawn from one clue?), but I like your style of problem-solving. Keep trying! $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 8 '19 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ A new hint is up, if you're stumped :P $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 14 '19 at 18:30

It sounds to me like the answer is

a Jack in the Box with the music Pop Goes the Weasel

A pattern of lows and highs

Turning the crank on the music box in a circle has your hand going from up to down repeatedly - also grouping (0) + (2 + 1) + (2 - 3 + 0 - 4 + 2) as (0)(3)(-3) which looks like sort of a wave pattern when graphed repeating as the y coordinate per, say an increment of 1x. (hard for me to describe without a picture, haven't learned how to do that yet on this site)

In groupings of ones, twos, and fives

The rhythm(beat) of the song only goes in groups of 1, 2, and, 5 beats in succession at a time

And when I appear

The clown or puppet starts out hiding in the box

The masses may cheer

the kids whom it's designed for will all jump up with joy when it pops out

But those in the know roll their eyes

the parents who know it's coming get tired of it quick

  • $\begingroup$ On-track with the music stuff, but not the intended solution. A couple of clues within the post point away from your proposed solution. Main issue is that everyone knows "Pop Goes the Weasel", whereas I'm talking more obscure references. Good luck! $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 15 '19 at 6:23

My answer:

"The Wave" at a football game!

A pattern of lows and highs

People stand up and sit down waving their arms up and down

In groupings of ones, twos, and fives

One person will be waving two arms with five fingers on each hand

And when I appear The masses may cheer

The crowd cheers when the do the wave

But those in the know roll their eyes

The players on the field don't care about the wave, roll their eyes

Or, in plain English: Figure this one out, you @#$%#!@

The fans next to you had too much to drink and are getting unruly

  • $\begingroup$ Huh, this actually fits my clues pretty decently. The only thing left to address is the numbers. +1 for originality $\endgroup$ – user45266 Nov 16 '19 at 2:34

Hey, I'm OP. Below is the intended solution, with my own logic for all the clues. Congratulations to User SmarthBansal and additionally to User David Robie.

The answer:

"The Lick", an infamous jazz cliché melodic phrase. The most common set of notes used as an example of this is D E F G E C D, but this can be transposed into all 12 keys and used in many contexts.


"If you have to ask what the answer is, you'll never know!"

The title, as David Robie noticed, is a reference to a famous quote by Louis Armstrong, famed jazz trumpeteer ("If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know!"). This is the way I figured that you guys would be able to narrow the topic down to jazz culture.

A pattern of lows and highs

The lick, as a musical phrase, obviously contains "lows and highs".

In groupings of ones, twos, and fives

A clever (if I do say so myself - and this is my post, so I do in fact say so!) reference to the common ii-V-I jazz chord progression, ubiquitous within the genre and one of many possible harmonisations of "the lick".

And when I appear / The masses may cheer

Really, the lick sounds pretty good if you've never heard it before. It can be used pretty well, and it sounds nice,

But those in the know roll their eyes

Any jazz musician worth their salt rolls their eyes at anyone playing "the lick", because they've heard it so many times that it's become hackneyed and is no longer original. It can still be used as an ironic joke, though, as evidenced by a lot of the more popular music channels on YouTube right now :)

0 + 2 + 1 + 2 - 3 + 0 - 4 + 2

This is another numerical representation of the lick, but starting from a root note, it represents the number of semitones between each note. The 0 in the middle was supposed to represent the rest, since no semitones change on that beat of the lick.

Or, in plain English: Figure this one out, you @#$%#!@

As observed by Smarthbansal, @#$%#!@ is 2345312, which is "the lick" in scale degrees (starting on the supertonic degree, because that's a more common representation of the lick, for whatever reason).

Also, I know I said the clues were only above the line, but I'd be impressed if anyone had

checked my user profile and seen that my highest-rep SE site is Music.SE, deducing that the topic could have been music.

I realised after the fact that that was possible, so if you did that, kudos to you.

Bonus image: I made this from the knitting part of SE last winter when we had seasonal hats!

Knitting the Lick


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