Bouncing bulbs are jumping all around the greenhouse. Can you help sort them out and figure out the hidden word?

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(Note: the answer is something from Harry Potter)

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    $\begingroup$ What a great puzzle! :-) +1 and fav! $\endgroup$ – Dooper Mar 22 at 1:39

Each rectangle of letters gives

the name of a Harry Potter character, ignoring repeated letters.

Top row:

ERNIE (Macmillan), VERNON (Dursley), AMOS (Diggory), (Madam) HOOCH, RUFUS (Scrimgeour), MARVOLO (Gaunt, or Tom ... Riddle).

Bottom row:

ALECTO (Carrow), ARGUS (Filch), REGULUS (Arcturus Black), ANTHONY (Goldstein), REMUS (Lupin).

At first I'd thought the dots in some rectangles would be

missing letters, and we'd need to figure out what to add and then make an anagram, but the REMUS in the bottom right was too good not to be true. Funnily enough the top left with an extra F would be FENRIR, and bottom left with an extra M would be CATTERMOLE, but just 1 extra letter wouldn't fit either of those anyway.

Now, what can we do with these words we've got?

Ernie, Vernon, Rufus, Hooch, Amos, Marvolo, Alecto, Argus, Regulus, Anthony, Remus: the letters EVRHAMAARAR don't spell anything. Could be this is another anagram to be solved though ...

Macmillan, Dursley, Scrimgeour, Rolanda, Diggory, Gaunt, Carrow, Filch, Black, Goldstein, Lupin: the letters MDSRDGCFBGL don't spell anything either, nor do they anagram to anything (no vowels).

Another idea is to

follow the order of letters within the configurations given, which in some cases could spell out letters:

try with letter traces

We can clearly see some letters, especially on the bottom row which almost looks like SNAPE, but especially the third one on the top row seems to make no sense.

Thanks to Stiv, this does indeed make sense if we just simplify the tracks a bit:


and the answer is

DEVIL'S SNARE, another Harry Potter thing which would fit in the "greenhouse" as stated in the OP.

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  • $\begingroup$ I found the character name thing too, but that wouldn't be much of a cipher (there is a cipher tag). $\endgroup$ – Dooper Mar 21 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ The first one in the bottom row may be rot13(Nyrpgb Pneebj) .. not sure if that helps any ha $\endgroup$ – Elpharya Mar 21 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ Pretty sure the answer is rot13(QRIVY'F FANER - qenj yvarf orgjrra gur yrggref va gur beqre lbh jbhyq fcryy gubfr anzrf) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Mar 22 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ that's amazing :o $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Mar 22 at 2:52
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    $\begingroup$ Also, you can simplify the 4th one to rot13(PUB), which makes all of them first names :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Mar 22 at 6:07

Each box has the first names of Harry Potter characters scrambled: ERNIE, VERNON, RUFUS, CHO, AMOS, MARVOLO, ALECTO, ARGUS, REGULUS, ANTHONY, REMUS. Tracing the names from letter to letter reveals the letters DEVILS SNARE, a plant from Harry Potter.


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