This image and puzzle comes from Level 18 of a game called Boxentriq.

enter image description here

I have solved the preliminary mastermind puzzles on this level to reveal the sequence of pawns and bishops shown here, which, based on the spacing, I assume to be a 5-bit binary code, giving a 4 letter word. I have exhausted my limited knowledge of binary tools, having tried numerous binary-to-ascii, Baudot, Baudot-Murray, Baconian ciphers. All ciphers I have tried give simply nonsensical (to me) letter combinations in English and every other language google translate has tried. I cannot form any obvious link between the binary code and the image of death playing chess. I am now at a loss on how to proceed.

I assume the code to solve is most likely

10111 01100 10011 00100 or possibly

01000 10011 01100 11011

Can anyone point me in the right direction to try and solve this? I will be able to confirm the correct answer once I have it.

  • $\begingroup$ Does the answer input just take 4 Latin letters? I guess you will have tried XMTE and WLSD. $\endgroup$
    – Sputnik
    Jun 10, 2020 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Sputnik XMTE is correct. This expression means nothing to me, and is unusual not to have meaning, as per all other questions. If you submit this as an answer i can accept. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – long
    Jun 11, 2020 at 3:58
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, glad to hear it worked. The answer is below. I can't immediately see what meaning it has either, though if you're certain the code is meaningful I imagine it should have some link to chess. Edit: meaning added to answer. $\endgroup$
    – Sputnik
    Jun 13, 2020 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


Answer: As noted in your question, this is binary.

A string of length 5 bits in binary can take $2^5 = 32$ values, and since the alphabet is 26 letters it makes sense to try the most direct mapping first: $$ A = 00000 \qquad\qquad D = 00011 $$ $$ B = 00001 \qquad\qquad E = 00100 $$ $$ C = 00010 \qquad\qquad F = 00101 $$ ... and so on. This is not precisely ASCII: if I remember correctly the first 32 ASCII characters are reserved for nonsense legacy characters meant for punchcards and typewriters. The 5-bit code here can be read as a clue to try something different, as even the oldest ASCII versions have a minimum of 256 characters in 8 bits (or a byte).

Using this mapping, the code is XMTE, an abbreviation of the chess term checkmate (an $\times$ symbol can used to check off a list, or also understood as a shape in the context of say, a checked shirt).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And also rot13(gur yrggre K pbhyq or ernq nf n cyhf fvta, juvpu vf purff abgngvba sbe purpx). $\endgroup$
    – trolley813
    Jun 13, 2020 at 14:27

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