What word am I looking for?

The cook is fired! 
Decay! The baker's dozen! 
I need a new job.

Hint #1:

The first part includes two elements that must be combined to get to the final word

Hint #2:

Who fires people?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This isn’t a single word, but is the answer related to rot13(Sevqnl 13 Znepu)? $\endgroup$
    – Earlien
    Mar 13 '20 at 11:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Earlien Haha, no, that's just coincidence. Didn't even notice that! You comment does include something related to the answer though $\endgroup$ Mar 13 '20 at 11:17

I get the feeling the word you're looking for is:


Why? Well, (with nods to @hexomino and @LannyStrack for solving parts of the puzzle):

"The cook is fired!" and "I need a new job." are both key phrases in the puzzle. As pointed out by @hexomino, "Decay! The baker's dozen!" naturally interprets through synonyms as 'rot-13' (Puzzling's favourite encryption method: decay = rot, a baker's dozen = 13). We are therefore looking for a phrase based on the lines used in the riddle that translate to a relevant word when its letters are shifted 13 positions along the alphabet.

If the recently fired cook (or 'CHEF' - spotted by @LannyStrack) contacts their Human Resources (or 'HR') department, then this might be an appropriate step forward in their search for a new career position. But they'll need to be proactive to make sure they find work...

In other words not only will they need to contact CHEF HR, they will need to rot13(CHEFHR) this ambition... i.e. they will need to PURSUE it!

  • $\begingroup$ Correct!! Bravo! $\endgroup$ Mar 17 '20 at 9:05

I think the word you are looking for is


The cook is fired!

Pyrex = a hard heat-resistant type of glass, typically used for ovenware.

Decay! The baker's dozen!

This indicates ROT13 ciphering. If we apply ROT13 to pyrex it produces clerk

I need a new job.

Clerk = a person employed in an office or bank to keep records, etc.
This is your new job.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ And there was me wondering what DK13 might mean ... $\endgroup$ Mar 13 '20 at 11:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You're getting there! But this isn't the answer I'm looking for! Here's a hint: rot13("Gur pbbx vf sverq" unf gjb ryrzragf sbe fbyivat guvf chmmyr.) $\endgroup$ Mar 13 '20 at 12:14
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This is still brilliant. $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Mar 15 '20 at 4:48

I think this is worse than my first answer, but I am going to try again.

The cook is fired!

Synonyms for 'cook' and 'fire' are 'chef' and 'prune' (as in "pruning the staff"). So, I get chefprune.


I interpret this as jumbling the letters. Doing that, I get chepunfre.

The baker's dozen!

I interpret this as rot13, giving purchaser.

I need a new job.

The word, and the new job, is purchaser.

Original attempt:

The new job is 'purser'.

cook -> 'chef' fired -> 'red' Decay -> chefre
rot13 -> 'purser'.

  • $\begingroup$ You got the first part! The second part is still incorrect. Hint: rot13(Jub sverf crbcyr?) $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '20 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ Your first attempt was better. No jumbling! Just the cipher method mentioned by others. $\endgroup$ Mar 17 '20 at 9:08

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