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Please reopen my puzzle. The goal of the puzzle is clearly defined in the title.

I spent an hour designing this puzzle. I know it's an odd looking puzzle but I assure you that the puzzle is solvable in a way that would make sense when explained.

Providing any more explanation would spoil the puzzle.

If I am required to ruin the puzzle to get it reopened then I will... but I would rather not spoil the puzzle unless I absolutely have to. I want to put a 200 bounty on it if it gets old enough.

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  • $\begingroup$ The title barely gives help at all and it does not give clarity to th puzzle at all. $\endgroup$ Dec 16 '19 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Rewan Can you prove your point? Do you know the answer? $\endgroup$ Dec 16 '19 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @George Menoutis I believe that the downvotes and closesure of your puzzle is proof enough. I do not know the answer to your puz $\endgroup$ Dec 16 '19 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @RewanDemontay George is not the author of the puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Dec 16 '19 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ Oof. Sorry about that. Other then that my point still stands. $\endgroup$ Dec 16 '19 at 14:03
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I was posting this response as a comment originally, but it soon became far too long! So here is my personal feedback on this puzzle (meant well!) as somebody who was actively trying to solve it...

Personally, I don't think there was any rush to reveal the solution to your puzzle in your answer to this question. Some alternative actions could have been taken to get your puzzle re-opened; then you would have enjoyed being able to watch people try to solve your question that you'd worked hard on designing (after all, that's really why we spend time creating puzzles - for others to enjoy and solve!).

I, for one, had managed to get as far as ROT UP (you haven't mentioned here that 'unlucky' was intended as a clue for '13', I note) - there were sufficient clues in the text to notice that Morse code was intended to be used, so that was good. However, since 'UP' was only two letters long I had not yet spotted in what way it was actually significant (obviously, applying the Caesar shift to a two-letter sequence is unlikely to be informative...). A little more time and I might have got it, by applying the shift speculatively to everything on the page; however, it is unlikely that I would have connected the tiny word 'UP' to the upper case letters of the title, as was your intention. Perhaps it would have been a bigger/clearer hint for the solver if you had clued the method with a different word to 'UP', like 'TITLECAPS' as a trivial example.

Following that, in all honesty I may not have realised that I was supposed to stop at 'TAGS' and would have probably been continuing to look for ways to infer the password from the names of the tags themselves (like looking at specific letters within them).

So I would make three suggestions for this specific puzzle:

  1. Use a more obvious clue than 'UP' for where to turn your attention. It's too short and common a word to lead anybody anywhere meaningfully.

  2. Include a clear way to know or verify that 'TAGS' was the final password (it would have been purely speculative on the solver's part to stop there).

  3. Don't feel compelled to publish the solution so soon - sometimes puzzles take DAYS to solve, and not because of any negative reasons; it's just sometimes you need the right person with the right insight to come along :)

I would suggest in future that if nobody is solving one of your puzzles and it ends up being closed as under-specified, that should be a sign to ask yourself "Why are people not managing to answer this question?" As the puzzle setter, it's very easy to believe that because you know how the puzzle works, it should be immediately obvious to everybody else, and that everybody else thinks in exactly the same way as you. We don't! :) We all have our own thought processes and ways/methods of solving puzzles, and sometimes we just need a little more time. My tips for avoiding this situation in general would be:

  1. Before publishing your puzzle, ask yourself whether somebody else who isn't you can follow your intended steps to reach the solution you planned. Test it on a friend - see what they think. If they come up with alternative solutions, adjust your puzzle to shut down those avenues of reasoning. Even if at first it seems hard to know where to start, in retrospect a solver should be able to follow a clear path to the intended solution without being sidetracked by unintended wrong answers.

  2. If the puzzle is closed, reflect on why. If nobody has explained further, ask for feedback in the comments - we are always happy to advise, and anybody who has closed the puzzle should be ready and willing to explain their reasons...

  3. When a puzzle is quite abstract and the entire body of the puzzle is the puzzle itself, ask yourself if there is any kind of useful 'flavour text' introduction you can add, to make things clearer. Even if it's just to say "This puzzle has a solution - the answer is one word." That's a sign to others that the outcome is achievable.

  4. Above all, be patient! Some of the best puzzles take days, weeks or even months before somebody has that brainwave 'aha!' moment and everything suddenly clicks into place. If people leave comments that they are struggling with the puzzle, consider adding a hint. If nobody appears to have noticed your puzzle, consider offering a bounty to draw attention to it.

I hope this experience doesn't put you off setting future puzzles and that you take my comments here in the spirit of helpfulness in which they were meant. Don't give up! That moment when somebody manages to solve your puzzle is worth it in the end...

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    $\begingroup$ This is a great answer! I would especially like to point to (3) -- I think people are much more receptive to abstract puzzles if you at least give some idea of what is being looked for. "Breaking character", giving a message 'outside' of the puzzle so there's a clear goal (even if it's still not clear at all how to achieve it), helps a lot. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Dec 17 '19 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate the suggestions. I only created this meta because it's upsetting when 3-4 people look at the puzzle without spending any time on it and then they close the puzzle (locking out any answers and discouraging people from attempting to solve it). I have no issue with waiting a long time for people to figure the puzzle out as long as it isn't locked. $\endgroup$ Dec 17 '19 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ You also make a really good point about TAGS. I definitely should have made the solution a more obvious ending point. Thanks for the advice. $\endgroup$ Dec 17 '19 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ @DivideByZero I know what you mean - it's not a nice feeling (it's like when somebody downvotes what you thought was a really well-made and unique puzzle, almost like a "Why don't they like it?!" feeling). But closing a puzzle doesn't have to be forever - and sometimes a puzzle gets closed prematurely and a response from the OP (like you did in meta) can lead to people going 'oh, okay, I see now' and a fairly swift series of reopen votes. The key is not to panic and rush into anything - take time to reflect on any potential issues, engage with the voters to learn their reasons, and keep going! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 17 '19 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ @DivideByZero You're welcome :) We're all here to learn and improve - thanks for being so open to discuss the ins and outs of your puzzle. I'll see if I can crack your next one! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 17 '19 at 22:29
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Nobody believes that my puzzle is solvable so I will provide a solution below. Obviously this means that I will not be putting a bounty on it because the puzzle's solution is now available on the internet.

The goal was to create a scavenger-hunt style puzzle that has lots of hints that look like typos and grammatical mistakes (every typo and grammatical error is intentional). All of these hints are designed to eventually lead to an answer that is hidden in plain sight.

As usual we begin by reading the body of the puzzle:

dash the odds

cause evens are

unlucky

/

dash them all

to uncover the Vail

We notice mention of dashes and 'Vail' (one of the inventors who created Morse code) in addition to the cipher tag so we are led to believe that there is a hidden message in Morse code. We also notice the '/', which is typically used to indicate the separation of words in Morse code.

After replacing every odd-length word with '-' (and therefore every even length word with '.') the following message is produced:

.-. --- -/..- .--.

When translated 'the Vail is lifted' and this message is revealed:

ROT UP

At this point we know we either need to look vertically or for uppercase letters to apply ROT to. Both assumptions lead to the same result - the inconsistencies in the capitalization of the strangely-titled puzzle.

When we take all of the uppercase letters from the title of the inconsistently-uppercase puzzle we get:

GNTF

Applying ROT13 reveals the message:

TAGS

At this point we notice two important tags:

password
lateral-thinking

The title only states that we need to 'find' the password. This conclusion is confirmed by the lateral-thinking tag (which indicates that a creative solution is necessary) and the cipher's reference to TAGS.

In the end the answer to the puzzle is the same as the solution to the cipher:

TAGS

This answer to the puzzle makes sense because the password is located in the tags of the question.

I hope that now that I have shown that the puzzle is coherent and solvable you can re-open it. Even though the puzzle is already solved, maybe somebody will have fun trying to solve the puzzle on their own.

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