I ran across a cipher of the form NNN/N NNN/N NNN/N etc., where N represents integers. I feel like I've seen a puzzle like that before, probably here, but trying to search for this kind of pattern isn't obvious to me. Can some one give me some search tips or point me to somewhere that has tips?

As a side question, does anyone know a puzzle on here like that or recognize the pattern?


1 Answer 1


I don't think you can.

The search facility isn't perfect. I've written a pretty thorough tutorial for it on another site's meta, but I don't think it extends as far as discovering a character inside a "word". It can find punctuation inside a word, if you know the whole word, but not just that symbol. So basically, you can't search just for / to find something containing NNN/N, but if you know what those N's are then you might be able to search for the whole NNN/N.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks! Your tutorial is very helpful. But it doesn't appear to like searching for a / at all. For instance, i can find this post by searching for NNN, but if i search for N/N or "N/N" it doesn't. If I try to escape it with // or \/, then it picks up everything with an N in it... even worse. If i could figure out a way to escape it, i could at least do ~100 searches with 1/1, 1/2,...., 2/1, 2/2, etc $\endgroup$
    – SteveV
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ @SteveV You can't find N/N because that's a pattern within a word. As Rand al'Thor says above, the search function can't find partial strings within a word. Searching for NNN works, because the search considers punctuation to be a separator between words, so it considers the NNN before the slash as a whole word. Searching for N/N doesn't work because it's only looking for part of the first word. A search for NNN/N brings up this post, because it is a phrase consisting of whole words, not partial words. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 15:21

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