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I found an envelope with a photograph inside a couple of days ago. There was no name or address on the envelope, and the photograph just showed some toys.

It must be my husband's doing. My kids and I have been out of town, while my husband has been home, going door to door (or rather stable to stable), trying to attract new customers to his new horse grooming business.

He's not good with words, and unfortunately he knows the L85 better than the alphabet. I know he's really stressed with bookkeeping lately, but I can't imagine what made him take this photograph, and to whom he's planning on sending it.

Do you have an idea? And what does he mean by SEOI?

enter image description here

Hint 1:

I suspect there's a "system/pattern" where the yellow in the top row represents the same as the blue in the second, green in the third etc.

Hint 2:

He persuaded me into watching The Imitation Game again yesterday, saying he loved old school military communication. Is it possible that the Legos are some sort of "army code"?

Hint 3:

I think he's filled with re-morse after forcing me to re-watch that movie.

Hint 4:

He just told me an accountant he was in the amateur radio club with in college is coming over for tea. I don't think they've had any contact for twenty years. I think it's business related, since he specified that he's an accountant...?

Hint 5:

I just realized the heart is upside down...?

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    $\begingroup$ Would you like to explain what "L85" means in the text here? (I see it's the name of a type of rifle; is that it?) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 18 '19 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it's a rifle. $\endgroup$
    – CG.
    Dec 18 '19 at 19:54
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No offence intended, but your husband has got problems... In particular, he's got problems with:

Filling in the self-employment pages of his tax return.

How do I know?

Firstly, the photograph shows a message in Morse code, spelled using Duplo bricks. In each row, consider only the bricks of the predominant colour (other bricks are word separators), and consider a standard square brick as a dot and a double-size rectangular brick as a dash. HOWEVER, note also that (as per hint 5) the photo is upside down. Turning the image the right way up and applying the Morse code translation results in the following message:

A
P S
H E L
N T N*
R S A
D E A

However, note that a read of the edit history reveals that the letter marked '*' is a typo, and should instead read 'A' (.- instead of -.).

There's still more, though. The letter blocks are also a part of the message...

Consider the letters 'SEOI' upside down - these then resemble the characters '103S'.

Putting all of this information together gives us the complete message:

1 0 3 S
A
P S
H E L
N T A
R S A
D E A

What do we make of this?

Simply reverse the line order, reading from bottom to top, and we see:

DEARSANTAHELPSA103S

Or separating the characters into words:

DEAR SANTA HELP SA103S

So your husband is writing to:

Santa! And why? For help with form SA103S, which in the UK is the paperwork that must be filled out when recording 'self-employment income on your SA100 tax return if your annual business turnover was below the VAT threshold for the tax year'.

This makes sense to some degree, since lately your husband has been stressed with his bookkeeping and is consorting with an accountant. It also makes sense of why the message is written using toys - it's what Santa knows best! Plus who better to turn to for support than a fellow worker with stabled animals (albeit reindeer rather than horses)...

Now choose your own ending!!

Happy ending:

Santa delivers (as always), help arrives, the form is filled out and sent off, and it's business as usual! Everybody smiles!

Sad ending:

He receives no reply. The form is not submitted, the tax goes unpaid, your house is repossessed, your husband winds up in jail for non-payment, and you file for divorce. But most upsetting of all, his faith in Santa is shaken... Oh Santa, where were you?!

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    $\begingroup$ I'm hoping for the happy ending. I enjoyed reading the answer, it was well written :-) I somewhat regret the edit about the A/N error. I think it was on purpose when I made it, hence the part about him struggling with the alphabet. Anyway, well done. Hope you liked it :-) $\endgroup$
    – CG.
    Jan 2 '20 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, one of those deliberate mistakes that teachers do on the chalkboard ;-) It didn't ruin the puzzle (and the edit history really just confirmed a suspicion I had, so no harm done!). Really nice idea for a puzzle (+1), using the Duplo. It's given me an idea of my own... Watch this space! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jan 2 '20 at 21:27
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    $\begingroup$ @CG. In case you were interested and haven't seen it already, here is my puzzle inspired by yours and finally put together and published :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Mar 5 '20 at 13:54
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I'd like to share my progress so far, because I don't know whether I am on the right track or not.

With the help of the hints:

I managed to translate Morse code into a 3x4 block:
H E L
N T N
R S A
D E A
I was about to give up just before third line but after encountering "RSA" I continued. Looking for suitable numbers which would be keys for that encryption, I realized that the word "SEOI" upside down, "IOƎS", is very similar to number 1035. Unfortunately prime factorization of 1035 (3*3*5*23) didn't seem promising. The 'heart' block interested me. I tried to find similar looking numbers for both "HEARTH" and "┴ɹ∀ƎH" but could not. Then tried the same thing with "LOVE" which is similar to (upside down ƎΛO˥) 3407, which is prime. Curiously, concatenating both numbers (as they are next to each other) gives 10,353,407 which is also prime.

I have not been able to move an inch from there and I think I am lost.

Note: I tried to comment this but apparently there is a reputation limit for that.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! Interesting to follow your thought process. However, your Morse translation doesn't match what I got when I did it... For example, I make the top line 'NEU' when focusing on just the predominant colour in the row. Which bricks did you focus on to get that initial 'H'? Not sure if I'm going mad or if there's an alternative way to read the bricks to the one I thought I'd spotted... Thanks! :) EDIT: Oh, hang on, I've just seen Hint 5...! Right, time for a rethink... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 30 '19 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @Stiv, glad to be part of such a creative community! You're right, I interpret it upside-down, focusing on just predominant colour. $\endgroup$
    – user83074
    Dec 31 '19 at 0:02

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