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You’re an agent for the very secret PSE – Protection against Stupidity Establishment. The agency tries to prevent people doing stupid things, before they do them. You’ve been given a random email account and been told to wait for your next instructions, which you know will be hidden.

Finally, the email arrives, from an anonymous sender:


Anyone who watches this show, wil get a heap more smart really fast, grow your mind, teach yourself new facts! For it prevously was thought ony humans quie young brains could grow, but now we know teens and grown ps do as well! Time we use it now for good, and use it before we take it, this knowledge away. Even you can do it, simly send us a letter and it allows us access, so we can swiftly add yor name. Relax and enjoy it, all for you at last, life an be unlocked and it can be enjoyed! The show is not al, get real knowledge you can get great expert real views on it, so sign up now for amaing episodes!

LU – Leading Uniqueness, L for lower and U for UPPER. Call as soon as possible!


From experience you know that there is always the following hidden in these emails:

  • a date for the mission
  • a time it should be carried out
  • a code name for you
  • a location nearby
  • an operation name for the mission
  • mission instructions
  • an explanation of why this mission is necessary

Can you extract all the mission details in time?


Hint for the image:

n UP1 would equal m. M DOWN1 would equal N.

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  • $\begingroup$ Should be more of a fun one, the steganography tag is probably a bit of a giveaway already, but I’m sure you guys have already seen why it’s there :P $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 18 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ My most recent edit may be a small hint for the second part of rands answer. Location, instructions and explanation found so far $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 19 at 11:14
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Another partial.

The mission instructions are

Charges phone in bath: Steal all chargers!

We get this from the clue

"After T" (first letter of each sentence), which tells us to take the first letter after every "t".

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  • $\begingroup$ Correct! That’s location and instructions down :) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 19 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ (Also the explanation as well) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 19 at 10:07
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Here's what I've managed to find, starting from the most obvious and getting progressively less so.

Location

The italicised letters in the message spell out TEN ENIGMA STREET. This must be the location.

Date / time / codename / operation name

The missing letters (L from will, I from previously, L from only, T from quite, U from ups, P from simply, U from your, C from can, L from all, Z from amazing) spell LILTUPUCLZ. Using the note about lower and UPPER, this becomes itPCz, which leads us to an Imgur image as follows:

enter image description here

Now, from this,

modify uNdER by the indicated amounts backwards and forward in the alphabet to get eSqRX and this image, which gives the date as 25/04/20 and the time as 12:00.

And modify oNTOp by the indicated amounts backwards and forward in the alphabet to get gMUIk and this image, which I suppose indicates where to find all the information. I'd already figured out the date and time, but this seems to mean your code name is Beastly Gerbil and the operation name is "hidden in plain site".

Time instructions / explanation

The first letters in all sentences spell out AFTERT. I guessed "after tea" is the time of the mission, but @Jens found the correct solution here.

Other ideas not used

  1. The last letters in all sentences spell out SLYEDS. Not sure if that's significant. Could it be the operation name?

  2. The number of words in each sentence is 20, 23, 17, 22, 18, 24. As letters that would be TWQVRX, which doesn't seem helpful - it's also not a Caesar or Atbash cipher of anything meaningful. I thought it might be the date, but none of the numbers is small enough to be the month.

  3. The number of words in each subsentence (between punctuation) is 5,8,3,4; 12,11; 7,7,3; 5,10,7; 4,5,9; 5,12,7. As letters that would be EHCD LK GGC EJG DEI ELG, which doesn't seem helpful. Even putting it together with TWQVRX as a Vigenere key doesn't work.

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  • $\begingroup$ On the right track, I recommend looking at 2/3 again :) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 19 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil I've gotta be honest, my enthusiasm about this puzzle waned after finding the image. I was impressed that you could pack so much information into just a short paragraph of text ... but now it seems like you didn't, and there's extra information that you had to hide on Imgur - not only that, but information that, even once found, it's not obvious how to interpret the instructions given. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Apr 19 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ I can understand that the imgur maze idea is rather out done. I’m not usually a fan of them, but this puzzle has a nice ending I’ve had in my head for ages and it’s the only way it works. I’m actually trying to work on another puzzle atm where I pack as much as possible in to steganography, but sadly not in this one, hopefully the end won’t be too disappointing, there’s only one/two steps left to complete here, and the image isn’t too complicated when you realise what it’s saying. Sorry it’s let you down a bit :) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 19 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil The hint helped me to be sure of what to do with that image. It was one of the options I'd thought of, but there are so many different possible things that could mean (and I was sort of hoping it wouldn't involve going to even more Imgur things :-P ) Anyway, solved, I think? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Apr 19 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ Yep you got it all now! The idea was I wanted the question itself to give the answers, and the only real way I could think of doing that was, sadly, imgur. The idea was to combine the 'on top' and 'under' to get this (mind if I edit this into your answer?) which gives all the required parts. Probably rushed this, my puzzles haven't done great recently (and even though I know some of thats down to the HNQ formula, still not done well), but you've given me an idea for another puzzle which I'm gonna spend some time to make sure it's as clever as possible :) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 19 at 16:39

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