McGraw said in grinning eerie manner,
Rowland diabolically wins biannually every tenner,
which he achieves carrying black spangled banner
during which stubbornly bringing home dinner.

enter image description here
What is the hidden message?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If it helps anyone, I recognize that the rot13(frpbaq vzntr va gur gbc ebj vf Ybat Vfynaq, AL; gur sbhegu vzntr va gur gbc ebj vf gur Sbhe Pbearef zbahzrag ng gur vagrefrpgvba bs NM, PB, AZ naq HG; naq gur friragu vzntr va gur gbc ebj vf qbjagbja Znaunggna, va gur ivpvavgl bs Pvgl Unyy.) $\endgroup$
    – SQLnoob
    May 27, 2022 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


The hidden message is:


An interesting observation:

The grid has four rows with seven images each. Some images are repeated. Now that was rather obvious. A more interesting observation is that the poem has four lines of seven words each, if we treat each punctuation as a separate "word".

That means that every word can be related to a certain image and vice versa. If so, all three punctuation marks correspond to the same image.

An assumption:

Let's assume that each motive represents a number that indicates the index of a letter to extract from the corresponding word. Perhaps the motives themselves give an indication of what the number is, but we can also work it out by reasoning about the word lengths: 1 is clear from the punctuation and 2 from the short word "in". There are two possibilities for 3 and 4, but if we take Long Island as 3 and the sand-coloured desert near the Four Corners Monument as 4, it doesn't look half bad.

After a bit of fiddling, we get these letter indices:

        6   3   2   4   5   6   1
        3   7   3   5   1   6   1
        4   1   4   1   5   7   4
        1   3   8   7   4   6   1

The grid:

McGraw   said          in          grinning    eerie  manner    ,
     W     I            N              N           E       R    ,

Rowland  diabolically  wins        biannually  every  tenner    ,
  W      I               N             N       E           R    ,

which    he            achieves    carrying    black  spangled  banner
   C     H                I        C               K        E      N

during   which         stubbornly  bringing    home   dinner    .
D          I                  N          N        E        R    .

Alternative approach:

OP has confirmed that the images relate to the number somehow and the and tags support that. So the intended way to solve the puzzle is probably to identify the images to get the numbers.

The images are (top 1–4; bottom 5–8):
the used image "alphabet"

I find it very hard to identify many of the images, even now that I know what I'm looking for. (I assume that all eight locations are in the USA.) Other PSE denizens are better at identifying the satellite views, though. Thanks to their help, I have found:

1: One World Observatory, New York (@SQLnoob)
2: (unidentified (sub-)urban area)
3: Tri-State area between NY, NJ, CT (@cloudy7)
4: Four Corners Monument, New Mexico. (@SQLnoob)
5: (unidentified, but has a "5" shaped path in it.)
6: (unidentified urban area with park)
7: (unidentified rural area with fields)
8: (unidentified rural area)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ wow. great job! 2 years 8 months later. reminds me of this one, which was solved in 2 yrs 7 months. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Jul 24, 2022 at 21:06
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Oh, well done! I can't tell you how many times I have looked at this one and never even got close to getting something out of it. Would love to know (like you say) if there is anything systematic about the mapping in your third spoiler block - particularly how the last images on lines 1, 2 and 4 work, given they also map to letters elsewhere... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jul 24, 2022 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, you two. I had also spent some time with this puzzle (and on Google maps), on and off. I also half-expected to see "1 new answer: This one is actually very simple [...] @Stiv" when typing up the last paragraph. :) The last images in rows 1, 2, and 4 correspond to the commas and full stop, which are one-letter/-character "words". (At the moment I hide the exact steps behind "After some fiddling", a variation on "left as an exercise to the reader".) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jul 25, 2022 at 4:51
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Gur ivrjf ner bs fbzrguvat gung eryngrf gb n ahzore) $\endgroup$
    – Gur Trezna
    Jul 25, 2022 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ Aha, @GurTrezna, thanks for confirming that. I'll go hunting a bit. (I think I've already found one.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jul 25, 2022 at 10:13

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