# Thread: Missing Letter - Q??? 25 vs 26 in the 5x5

1. Needs to say Hello!
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## Missing Letter - Q??? 25 vs 26 in the 5x5

My first post.

I wanted to question the "Q" theory. We are dealing with a very scientific mind, one based in rules, pattern and riddle. Michael is a computer guy after all. Pattern is essential here; clear concise easily noticed pattern. To jump at the "Q" as being the letter missing from the 5x5 concept is silly. There is no evidence that this is true. (If there is I would like to hear it.)

In traditional matrix encryption the "I"+"J" always occupy the same cell in the 5x5 grid. This is for obvious reasons. One is a vowel and one is not. It is easy to choose which one to use upon decyphering. Truely a "Q" could pose the same ease as it is typically ALWAYS followed by a "U". None the less, I firmly believe the "I"+"J" ALWAYS occupy the same square if all 26 letters are to be used in a traditional Victorian 5x5 matrix.

HOWEVER, that would be too easy; too traditional.

My personal take is that the information for the missing letter is available at the same place the information indicating a missing component is delivered....connecting the two. My opinion is that the letter "E" has not been used when one uses the 5x5 grid. "E" is the most common vowel sound in the English language and makes for a very difficult writing if you try to not use it. I imagine that not including it would pose serious decyphering challanges, making this all the more complex and exciting.

My PROOF is that the line of the hidden poem that reads "AN EVEN CODE WITH ON(E?<a "1") PIECE NARY" <pg41> is the page that has THE ONLY significant discrepancy in the hidden poem - A MISSING "E".

One would easily assume that the NARY component is the letter "E".... it is all right there. What is nary about this line of verse? ... a missing "E" ...

Does this make sense to anyone else?

It is a complete and simple deduction all on one page, in one plate. Making this assumption did not require hours of reading, staring or thinking. It is simple, clear and very concise. Even too easy for a lot of people to notice.

Einstein said it best, "When the solution is simple, God is answering."

2. Picard: Confound it, Q! You've had your fun, now get off my ship!

Q: Very well, Mon Capitaine, ta-ta....But I'll be back when you least expect it...

I agree with you, Faculae--for several reasons. However, there's a full letter substitution going on here. E may be the missing letter, but also other letters are defaulting to produce E's where they're not needed (tweleve). I think that letter is Q. The objection that Q's don't pop up enough to substitute for E's is answered by (my opinion) a 2-2-3, or 2-3 (for example) 'bump' or Caesar shift in the letters comprising the cipher key, which (in my opinion) are mostly comprised of letters in close proximity to Q in the alphabet.

I might be Q-less, but I expect we'll all have occasion to miss Q in the coming weeks and months.

3. Also, Faculae, read my two posts on Q & E in New Ideas, General Meanderings, 10th page.

4. One of the best ways to be a good puzzle solver is to question the things that others are assuming to be true. In that sense, kudos to you for questioning the "no-Q theory". That being said, I believe that the "no-Q theory" is correct and has solid supporting evidence:

1. The letter Q does not appear anywhere within the text of the story. While q is an uncommon letter, the chances of this happening over a 100 page text is exceptionally small. For comparison, check our the appraiser's notes in the back, where "q" returns at it's normal frequency.

2. In the toy-block puzzle on page 63, every letter is represented except for Q. The chances of this letter being uniquely excluded by accident are infinitessimally small.

If only one of us could use this info to make some progress!

calvin

5. Here's something you can try, Calvin:

Draw up a Vigenere chart beginning with B and ending in Z (no A, but with a Q and an E).

Then all in a column write the 36 letters in the 'Dreamer one on ending...' sentence.

To the left of this column, in another column write mirror/rorrim/mirror/rorrim, etc.

No imagine the letters in 'mirrorrorrim' are Caesar-shifted in a certain sequence, such as 1-1-2-2, or something like that. Every letter that gets promoted (or demoted) into a Q spits out an E. In fact, your Vigenere chart can show that. Then you get lots of E's, (Z=A).

You mentioned the toy-block puzzle. I'm sure you know that the unused letters, when Caesar-shifted -1, read 'We Fit J(ewelry) Box'.

But you see, it was only those letters that were -1 shifted that made that claim. Shift ALL letters -1, and it's good-bye 'A' and hello 'Q'.

Now, I know that folks can be clingy when it comes to pet theories, and see all sorts of confirmation where none exists. I'm going to pound this one 'til it's dead dead dead.

6. You are welcome to disregard the "no-Q theory", but it remains the cornerstone for my attempts to solve these puzzles. I am surprised that you would feel that the (arguably) stilted phrase "we fit j-box" has a greater confirmatory value than the absence of all Q's from the text and illustrations. I suppose it depends on which of these two you feel is more likely to occur by random chance.

(Forgive me if this is not the point of view you were expressing. I think I got confused by much of what you were saying in your post, including your discussions about the Vigenere ciphers).

calvin

7. OK, let's stick with it a minute or two. There are E's in odd places in the poem, and apparently missing E's as well. E is the most common letter in the alphabet, so dispensing with the E in the matrix would have to be overcome by substitution of a combination of other rare letters, which, in toto, would compensate.

I think everyone should read (or re-read) 'The Gold Bug' by Poe. OK, it's easy to keep the matrix Q-less, and use the handy Vigenere cipher in the Companion book. However, I chose a different route, and I believe I stumbled on a few things by Caeasar shifting all letters -1 to start with. I believe I'll be using a standard Vigenere chart and I'll be leaving Q off the 5x5, but I'll be promoting or demoting letters to Q as necessary by the following:

Look at page 16 and notice where the FF is pointing. I believe she is pointing to grid position 2,3. On page 17, Pook takes a 'hard two or three bounce'. OK, that's where Z is located. But you need another letter to figure out perfectly how the alphabet must be arranged in the grid (all left-to-right descending, serpentine, etc.). For page 16 I believe it's the 'O' in grid position 3,5 (the knothole in the tree). But she might be pointing to the center square (for Z), and you'd have to leave out Q. Let's assume that's the case. The cipher key word is 'GROUP' for the lady bug. If you use the handy Vigenere cipher in the Companion Book, which includes Q, you're going to have trouble dealing with puzzles that output a Q on a Vigenere. What to do? My answer is, the cipher key word, which seems to contain several letters close to Q in every case, gets shifted letter-by-letter according to the 'bounce' or shift clue in the text or elsewhere, and when that happens, the output is always an E.

My guess is that the first chapter tells the story. The first letter (Z) at 2,3 and the 'O' at 3,5 establish the sequence of letters in the matrix. You figure out from clues in the text and images how to turn the grille on page 86 to reveal letters. These letters are placed in a column with the cipher key word repeated over and over in a colum next to it. However, the cipher key word letters are shifted according to a certain scheme, and I think the scheme may be established by either letters in the key word and their corresponding matrix positions (in this case, 2,3,3,5) in a repeating cycle, or some variation of that. Eventually, the 'O' in 'GROUP' gets changed to a 'Q', and the output is automatically an E. I think that's how we're going to solve these puzzles. Go ahead and leave Q out of your matrices, but allow for Q to exist when you're doing a Vigenere-type cipher, with a varying Caesar shift of the letters, then act accordingly.

Ana has her arms extended in the Snail puzzle thru two O's, just as the Darklings in the text forced her arms to be as they carried her off. The cipher key word for the Snail Puzzle is GROTTO. Her body forms a T. Notice the number of letters in close proximity to Q. The lady bug is GROUP, she's the Group Leader, stated in quotation marks at least twice. The Dream mantra is predicated on 'Moon like, Moon like" which anagrams to "look in me, look in me" and is obviously 'MIRROR'. All contain letters just above and below Q, and believe me, while Q may not be in the matrix, Q must be dealt with in ciphering. The cipher key word letters are what get manipulated by the number code. I might be wrong about the 2/3 bounce belonging to the Lady Bug (it might be Pook, who is puzzle-page-less), but this is the significance of the numbers in the matrix. In the last chapter, Pook takes a 'hard 3-bounce landing' on the bed in his resurrection from crystal-dom. So those might be the Pook clues. In any case, letters on the matrix won't match the Vigenere cipher. Personally, I'm beginning to think that 'TH' or 'THE' may be a single letter, in which case your page 100 signature might have to be adjusted (check out 'Nomenclature of Faeries" --Flower Faeries). Read the description and count all of the 'TH' combinations.

Finally, I want to say that I read all of your posts with great interest. I nominated your page 100 MS signature post in the HOF, but have since, upon digging deeper, found out that others actually posited the same thing weeks ago (sorry). But I sense you're becoming frustrated with this, and like me, have worked countless hours on 100's of possible solutions. I think, like the Borg, we're going to overcome all obstacles, and puzzle resistance to solution will prove futile.

8. Needs to say Hello!
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Thanks for the intelligent replies. I am also very surprised at how suportive you all are, even when you disagree - THANKS.

For those of you who have been at this longer than I have, who proposed the "Q" concept? When and why?

9. Junior Twelever +1 Bronze
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I agree with calvin on this one. The lack of Q in the text is more than hinted at by the poem as an indicator that it does not go in the grid. I'm sure the 'grid' is a square, too. MS just can't say 'square' because he can't use a q.

If 'we fit j box' is a clue that was put there on purpose, I'll eat my hat. While the recent clue was indeed an anagram, I don't think that anagrams will play a part in the solution as they are not definite enough.

10. Needs to say Hello!
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I think I was the first one to point out the absence of Qs in the story text, over in the Quest4Treasure board. I believe that Doc and others then took the observation and suggested that Q could be the 'one piece nary.' By the time Tweleve.org was set up, the missing Q had become accepted fact, its significance still a question.